Mad Love (1935 film)

Mad Love (1935 film)

Infobox Film | name =Mad Love

caption =1935 Film Poster
director = Karl Freund
producer = John W. Considine Jr.
writer = Screenwriters: John L. Balderston Guy Endore Book Author: Maurice Renard
starring =Peter Lorre
Frances Drake
Colin Clive Ted Healy Sara Haden
music = Dimitri Z. Tiomkin
cinematography = Chester A. Lyons
Gregg Toland
editing = Hugh Wynn
distributor = Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
released = United States: July 12, 1935
runtime = 68 min
language = English
budget = $403,000
amg_id = 1:30655
imdb_id = 0026663

"Mad Love" is a 1935 American horror film adaptation of Maurice Renard's story "The Hands of Orlac". Directed by German filmmaker Karl Freund, the film stars Peter Lorre as Dr. Gogol, Frances Drake as Yvonne Orlac and Colin Clive as Stephen Orlac. The plot revolves around Doctor Golgol's obsession over actress Yvonne Orlac. When Stephen Orlac's hands are destroyed in a train accident, Yvonne brings him to Gogol who is able repair them. As Golgol's obsession over Yvonne leads him into doing anything to have her, Stephen Orlac finds that his new hands have made him in to an expert knife thrower.

"Mad Love" was the final directorial effort from Karl Freund, and the American film debut of actor Peter Lorre. Critics on its release praised Lorre for acting ability in the film, but the film was an unsuccessful in the box office. Critic Pauline Kael later made comparisons with "Mad Love" and the film "Citizen Kane", claiming much of the latter film's visual style was borrowed from "Mad Love". Despite Lorre's performance, the film was not a critical success on its release, "Mad Love" reputation has grown in year and now viewed in more positive light from modern film critics.


In Paris, France at the "Theatre des Horreurs", after listening to her husband Stephen Orlac (Colin Clive) preform piano through a radio performance, actress Yvonne Orlac (Frances Drake) rests after her final performance at the theater and is greeted by Dr. Gogol (Peter Lorre). Dr. Gogol is upset as he has seen every show of Yvonne's and has fallen in love with her reveals his love for her. Yvonne kindly turns down his offer, as she is moving to England with her husband. Leaving the theater heartbroken, Gogol buys the wax figure of Yvonne's character to take home with him. At a stop of a train ride from Fontainebleau to Paris, Stephen Orlac sees the murderer Rollo the Knife thrower (Edward Brophy) being taken on to the train in custody. Rollo is later then executed by guillotine witnessed by Golgol who never misses these events and the American reporter Reagan (Ted Healy). Orlac's train continues later into the night crashes where Yvonne finds her husband Stephen whose hands have been mutilated in the crash. Yvonne takes Stephen to Gogol in an attempt to reconstruct his hands as new, which Gogol eventually agrees to do. The operation is a success, with Gogol then using the hands of Rollo as a transplant, after the surgery Gogol goes to his bedroom and serenades his wax mannequin.

The financial cost of the surgery takes its toll on the Orlac couple and are forced to sell many of their possessions to afford it, while Stephen finds he can't play piano with his new hands. When a repo-man comes in to claim the Orlac's piano Stephen get angry and throws a fountain pen at him that just barely misses his head. Seeking financial aid, Stephen goes to his stepfather Henry Orlac (Ian Wolfe) who doesn't give him any money as he is upset that he didn't follow his line of business as jeweler. In anger, Stephen grabs a knife and throws at Henry missing him but breaking the store front's window. Meanwhile at Stephen's home, Yvonne is visited by Gogol who asks again for her love which she again says she can't return. Gogol returns home to find Reagan looking at Gogol's at his statue, has him leave his home. Stephen then arrives at Gogol's home and demands to know about his hands and how they thrive to throw knives. Gogol calms him down suggesting his problem comes from childhood trauma. As Stephen leaves, Gogol speaks to his assistant Dr. Wong (Keye Luke) revealing his hands are indeed the hands of Rollo.

This thought strikes a new idea of possibility with Golgol, who sits with Yvonne suggesting for her to get away from Stephen as the shock has effected his mind and that she may be in danger. Yvonne angrily rejects Gogol this time. Gogol leavs to another room, where reflections in a mirror of himself drive him into further more crazed obsession of pursuing Yvonne. That night, Henry Orlac is murdered. The day after Stephen receives a note saying that if he comes to a specific address tonight he will learn the truth about his hands. Stephen goes to the address and finds a man with metallic hands and dark glasses claiming to be Rollo brought back to life by Gogol. Rollo explains that Stephen's hands are his and he used them to murder Henry last night in madness. Disgusted, Stephen leaves quickly to Yvonne explaining his hands, are of the Rollo's and that he must turn himself into the police. Panic-stricken, Yvonne goes to Gogol's home and accidentally breaks the wax statue of herself. She stands in the statues place as Rollo enters, taking off his clothing to reveal himself as Olgol in disguise who has gone completely mad. Finding Yvonne there, he assumes his statue has come to life and first embraces her, then in madness starts strangling her. Suddenly Reagan, Stephen and the police come in. Stephen pulls out a knife and throws it stabbing Gogol in the back. As Stephen enters to embrace Yvonne, Gogol sees this and quietly dies on the floor.


Florence Crewe-Jones provided MGM with an original translation/adaptation of "Les Mains D'Orlac".Mank, 2001. p.125] The original writer for "Mad Love" was Guy Endore, who worked with director Karl Freund on early drafts. After receiving producer John W. Considine Jr received this draft, Considine assigned the continuity and dialogue to P.J. Wolfson. On April 24, 1935, John L. Balderston began writing a "polish-up" of the previous draft. Balderstone went over the dialogue with star Peter Lorre in mind, at points in the scripting calling the actor to deploy his "M" look". Balderston continued re-write continued for even after filming had started and was still being re-written three weeks into filming.Mank, 2001. p.130]

Filming started on "Mad Love" on May 6, 1935. Chester Lyons was assigned as the cinematographer for the film. Freund insisted to have Gregg Toland, who he did get for a reported "8 days of additional photography". Actress Frances Drake recalled difficulty between the Freund and his cinematographer Toland and producer John W. Considine. Drake spoke of them saying "Freund wanted to be the cinematographer at the same time" and that "You never knew who was directing. The producer was dying to, to tell you the truth, and of course he had no idea of directing."Mank, 2001. p.140] Several titles for the film were announced, including an announcement from MGM on May 22, 1935 that the title was going to be "The Hands of Orlac".Mank, 2001. p.147] Another suggested title was "The Mad Doctor of Paris", but the studio eventually settled with the original title of "Mad Love". "Mad Love" finished shooting on June 8, 1935, one week over schedule. After its initial release MGM decided to cut about fifteen minutes of scenes from the film. Cut scenes included the surgery scene on Rollo to get his hands, a pre-credit warning scene similar to the one in "Frankenstein", and Isabel Jewell's entire portrayal of the character Marianne.


*Peter Lorre as Dr. Gogol: a surgeon who is deeply in love with Yvonne Orlac. Dr. Gogol later performs a hand transplant on Stephen Orlac after his train accident. Lorre originally came to Hollywood to star in "Crime and Punishment".Mank, 2001. p.126] "Crime and Punishment" was delayed, and on April 23, 1935, MGM announced that the lead role would be for Lorre in "Mad Love", which became his American film debut.Mank, 2001. p.122] Mank, 2001. p.129]
*Frances Drake as Yvonne Orlac: An actress married to Stephen Orlac. The role of Yvonne was originally a role intended for Virginia Bruce.Mank, 2001. p.126] Drake also played Yvonne's wax figure on close-up shots of it.Mank, 2001. p.132]
*Colin Clive as Stephen Orlac: a concert pianist who's hands are damaged in a train accident. Clive was on loan from Warner Bros. at the time for this role.
*Ted Healy as Reagan an American reporter.
*Sara Haden as Marie Yvonne's maid.
*Edward Brophy as Rollo the Knife Thrower
*May Beatty as Françoise: Golgol's drunken housekeep.

Release and reception

Initial critical reception was focused on praising Peter Lorre's character. Much of the praise of the film went to the star Peter Lorre with The "Hollywood Reporter" saying that "Lorre triumphs in a characterization that is sheer horror" and "Time" magazine calling him "perfectly cast". Charlie Chaplin also praised Lorre after seeing the film, claiming him to be "the greatest living actor". Reviews for the rest of the cast weren't as possitive with "The New York Times" noting that "Ted Healy, a highly amusing comedian, has gotten into the wrong picture".Mank, 2001. p.135] and "The Hollywood Reporter" noting that Colin Clive "jitters his way through".Mank, 2001. p.148] As a whole, "The Hollywood Reporter" referred to the film itself as "neither important or particularly compelling...falls right in the middle between Art and Box Office". "Time" magazine referred to it as "completely horrible". "The New York Times" wrote "Mad Love" is not much more than a super-Karloff melodrama, an interesting but pretty trivial adventure in Grand Guignol horror."cite web |url=
title=THE SCREEN; Peter Lorre in His First American Photoplay, "Mad Love," on View at the Roxy Theatre. |author=Sennwald, Andre|date=08-05-1935|author=|accessdate=2008-08-04 |publisher=The New York Times
] "Mad Love" was not a hit at the box office, with a small domestic gross of $170,000.Mank, 2001. p.149] "Mad Love"'s foreign gross was larger, taking in $194,000.

In the late 1960s, critic Pauline Kael released her book "Raising Kane" which accused director Orson Welles of copying the visual style of "Mad Love" for his film "Citizen Kane".Mank, 2001. p.154] Mank, 2001. p.155] Kael's charges included that both Gogol and Kane are bald, Gogol's house and Kane's "Xanadu" are similar, and that both Gogol and Kane have a pet cockatoo. Kael also noted that cinematographer Gregg Toland had "passed Freund's technique onto Welles". Peter Bogdanovich wrote a rebuttal for Kael's statements in "Esquire" in 1972. Both writers had negative views on "Mad Love" with Kale referring to as a "dismal static horror movie" and Bogdanovich claiming that it was "one of the worst movies I've ever seen."

More recent reviews of "Mad Love" have been much more positive. At the online film review database, Rotten Tomatoes the film has 100% approval rating with a 7.5 critical average.cite web |url=
title=Mad Love |accessdate=2008-08-04 |publisher=Rotten Tomatoes

Home video

In North America "Mad Love" was released by MGM/UA in late 1992 on VHS. On October 10, 2006 "Mad Love" was released on DVD by Warner Home Video on a three-disc compilation titled "Hollywood Legends of Horror Collection" that included "Doctor X", "The Devil-Doll", "Mark of the Vampire", "The Mask of Fu Manchu" and "The Return of Doctor X".cite web |url= |title=Hollywood Legends of Horror Collection |accessdate=2008-08-04 |publisher=Allmovie] Bonus material for "Mad Love" included film commentary by Steve Haberman and the film's theatrical trailer.


"Mad Love" has been remade once and the film itself is a remake of a silent 1924 Austrian film "The Hands of Orlac" directed by Robert Wiene and starring Conrad Veidt. cite web |url= |title=THE HANDS OF ORLAC - The Original 1924 German Expressionist Thriller on DVD |accessdate=2008-08-04 |publisher=Turner Classic Movies] "Mad Love" was remade in 1960 as a French-British co-production directed by Edmond T. Gréville and starring Mel Ferrer as Stephen Orlac and a new magician character named Nero played by Christopher Lee. cite web |url= |title=Les Mains D'Orlac |accessdate=2008-08-04 |publisher=Allmovie]



*cite book
last= Mank
first= Gregory William
title= Hollywood Cauldron: Thirteen Horror Films from the Genre's Golden Age
publisher= McFarland
year= 2001
isbn= 0786411120

External links


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