In their Hollywood in the Forties book, writers Charles Higham and Joel Greenberg attest that director Robert Florey disowned the studio cut of his film. Florey shot the story as seen through the eyes of Peter Lorre as an assistant to a disabled pianist whose hand it is believed is responsible for murder. Florey was confident the audience would be smart enough to realise that what we were seeing is not objective reality but rather Lorre's tormented vision. What survives is only redeemed by Lorre's hallucinations with the disembodied hand, his own manic intensity, handprints in the dirt, and the professional mourners hired to chant for the dead pianist. Otherwise we get stuck with a sappy romance between Robert Alda as a local fake antique sealer and big-haired Andrea King as the pianist's nurse, and static scenes of talk. The screenplay by Curt Siodmak gives Lorre an interest in "the secrets of the ancient astrologists, lost since the burning of the Alexandrian library", and the logic that someone could have been playing the piano other than the hand in "because nobody's ever heard you play, that doesn't mean you can't". The special effects of the hand require some getting used to since one naturally expects it to be a fake and therefore is looking at the mechanics, as in darkened sleave or blocking that can cheat the shot as when the hand is supposed to grab someone's throat behind a door or we get a hand POV shot. However there are moments where disbelief is suspended. The film's most bizarre... image is the disembodied hand, extending it's ring finger for Peter Lorre to replace the ring the pianist used to wear.