Hands of a Stranger

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Hands of a Stranger
Hands of a Stranger (1962) sm.jpg
theatrical release poster
Directed by Newt Arnold (as Newton Arnold)
Produced by Newt Arnold
Michael Du Pont
Written by Newt Arnold (writer)
Maurice Renard (novel "Les Mains d'Orlac," uncredited)
Starring Paul Lukather
Joan Harvey
James Stapleton
Music by Richard LaSalle
Cinematography Henry Cronjager Jr.
Edited by Bert Honey
Distributed by Allied Artists Pictures
Release date
  • April 22, 1962 (1962-04-22) (United States)
Running time
85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $168,000[1]

Hands of a Stranger is a 1962 American horror film directed by Newt Arnold and is unofficially the fourth film adaptation of The Hands of Orlac.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

When the hands of pianist Vernon Paris are destroyed in a taxicab accident, he receives a double hand transplant from a recent murder victim. Although lead surgeon Dr. Harding declares the operation a success, Vernon is visibly distressed and seems unable to accept his new hands. Meanwhile, the doctor is questioned by Lieutenant Syms of the police department about the recent murder victim and the apparent secrecy surrounding his operating room.

Feeling sullen and still unable to deal with having someone else's hands, Vernon seeks comfort from his girlfriend, Eileen, but she is unsympathetic. As he reaches out to her, she becomes repelled by his scarred hands, knocking over a candle and setting her dress on fire. As she burns to death, Vernon becomes frozen and does nothing to save her life.

Afterwards, Vernon starts to become even more unstable and goes on a violent rampage. He visits the home of the taxi driver who caused the accident, and after being unable to play the piano for the driver's son, he knocks over and kills the young boy. Next, while at a local fair, Vernon is tortured by images of player pianos and bumper cars, and nearly strangles to death a carnival barker. He then becomes more focused on vengeance, and murders one of the doctors who assisted in the surgery, along with his fiancée.

Finally, after killing another doctor, Vernon retreats to an empty concert hall where his sister and Dr. Harding arrive shortly thereafter. He reveals his latest victim, then begins to manically pound on the piano keys, proving that he will never be able to play the instrument again. He then grabs Dr. Harding and tries to strangle him to death, but is shot and killed by Lt. Syms who arrives at the last minute.[1][3][4]



  1. ^ a b Warren, Bill (1997). Keep watching the skies! : American science fiction movies of the fifties ; in two volumes bound together ; vol. 1: 1950 - 1957 ; vol. 2: 1958 - 1962 (Reprint under one cover. ed.). Jefferson, NC [u.a.]: McFarland. pp. 358–359. ISBN 0786404795. Retrieved 27 January 2017. 
  2. ^ Maltin, Leonard (2008). Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide (2009 ed.). New York: New American Library. p. 573. ISBN 045122468X. Retrieved 27 January 2017. 
  3. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056056/
  4. ^ "Hands of a Stranger (1962) - Full Synopsis - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 27 January 2017. 

External links[edit]