The actress Carmen Cartellieri, was born as Franziska Ottilia Cartellieri in Prossnitz. At the age of 16 she married painter and director Emanuel Ziffer Edler von Teschenbruck.
After she met with director Cornelius Hintner, he put her in her first movie role, "Das Zigeunermächen", under the pseudonym Carmen Teschen. She also performed in the Hungarian movies: "A sors okle", "Kettös alarc alat", "A bosszu", "Marion Delorme" and "Theeran Gyongye".
She traveled to Austria in 1920 and began the Cartellierifilm Gmbh company, where she produced her first feature move, "Die Würgehand". She became one of the most popular actresses in Austria.
She later performed in many other interesting roles: "Was ist Liebe", "Orlacs Hände".
The story is about: A concert pianist, Paul Orlac, who loses his hands in a railway accident. His hands are transplanted in a experimental surgery, but.. his new hands are those of a recently-executed murderer.
Soon after his surgery the pianist, is tortured by panic attacks and irrational fears. He believes that with the hands of the murderer he will also become a murderer. Strange signs and threatening letters reinforce his fears.
When his father is killed, with who he did not get along, the pianist is suspected of the murder. He only finds peace by clearing up his name.
It was one of the first films to have hands with a will of their own, whether or not attached to a body, as well as popular fears, based on ignorance, around the subject of surgical transplants, in the days before such procedures were possible.
It was shot at the studios of Listo-Film in Vienna by the Pan-Film production company. The Austrian premiere took place on 6 May 1924. Distribution was carried out by the German Berolina-Film company.
The German premiere followed on 24 September 1924 in the Haydn-Kino in Berlin. The French version had the title Les Mains d'Orlac, the English version The Hands of Orlac. The film was first shown in the United States in 1928, where its promotion and distribution were undertaken by the Aywon Film Corporation. The sets were constructed by the film architects and set builders Hans Rouc, Karl Exner and Stefan Wessely.
Because this film is shot in the shadows, Paul Orlac hands, keep getting creepier and creepier, as the movie moves along.
Video: The Hands of Orlac(1924) in full.