This noir-tinged horror flick is a whole lot of creepy fun. The best part is watching Peter Lorre go mad.
The setting is Italy at the turn of the last century. Francis Ingram (Victor Francen) is a half-mad pianist who continues to play despite the loss of one hand. His favorite piece was composed especially for him by con-man Conrad (Robert Alda). Ingram has become obsessed with his nurse, Julie, and retains a resident astrologer, Hilary Cummins (Lorre). One night, he gathers these people and his lawyer to attest that he is of sound mind and changes his will to leave everything to Julie.
Soon after, Ingram takes a terrible fall down the stairs and dies. His greedy relatives come to the reading of the will and vow to contest it. But all who oppose the will start dropping like flies. Could the deceased’s severed hand be responsible? All the fingerprints and the evidence of the music issuing forth from the piano suggest that it could be. With J. Carroll Naish as the local comisario.
This movie takes some time to get going, but once it does it is filled with groovy special effects, flamboyant camera work, and a bravura performance by Peter Lorre. If you like this kind of thing, go for it.