Classic Austrian film mistakenly billed as horror and even SF in some circles. It’s a melodrama with Conrad Veidt giving a great performance as the doomed pianist Paul Orlac.
Paul Orlac is giving his final concert before taking a break to go home. His train is involved in a wreck. There’s a real good sequence involving the aftermath of the accident. Orlac is taken to a clinic. Also being taken there is the body of Vasseur, a murderer who has been executed.
Paul wife Yvonne has been pining away for him to come home and visits him in the hospital where he’s all bandaged up. In his room he sees a man looking through the door window and imagines he’s laughing at his hands. Yvonne leaves and he has a nightmare. In the morning he finds a note saying he now has the hands of Vasseur.
In a zombie like state Paul confronts the doctor and learns it’s true. He vows that they’ll never touch another person. Back home he tries to play the piano. He can’t. He gets a back issue of the paper describing the murder trial. An old moneylender was stabbed to death with a knife marked with an X. Vasseur said he was innocent but his fingerprints did him in.
Paul finds a dagger in the door to the piano room. It’s the murder weapon. He grabs it and hides it in the piano. One day Yvonne walks in as he’s stabbing the air with it. He tells her not to come near him. Things continue to go downhill as they’re running out of money because he can’t play.
Yvonne decides to go to Paul’s father who hates him. The maid warns her that he’s an evil man. She goes anyway. She should have listened to the maid. Now a murder makes things even worse.
Even if you’re hesitant to watch silent movies, give this one a view. Veidt is definitely worth watching.