Tonight on MeTV- we bring you an iconic horror star in what was the Warner Bros. Studios only dip into the horror genre in the 1940s- and was the final film for the studio of the star himself- as Peter Lorre faces mystery, murder, and- the “Beast with Five Fingers”!
This 1946 chiller introduces us to brilliant pianist Francis Ingram who lives in near isolation in his Italian manor. Though he has suffered a stroke that has paralyzed half his body, he can still play the piano masterfully, with special arrangements playable with only one hand. Young Bruce Conrad, who also makes money by selling phony antiques to tourists, arranges these pieces.
Ingram, confined to a wheelchair, is cared for by his lovely nurse Julie, whom he is obsessed with- though, unbeknownst to him, Julie is in love with Conrad. Also in the manor is Ingram’s personal secretary Hilary, whose own obsession is astrology- which he feeds by using Ingram’s vast personal library to research what he feels will reveal lost secrets of incredible power. Finding out that Ingram has changed his will, leaving everything to Julie, makes Hilary think that will take him away from the library and his research- but, when he attempts to reveal to his boss the truth about who Julie actually cares for, Ingram grabs him by the throat- only to be stopped when Julie enters the room!
Then- on a dark and stormy night- strange circumstances bring about Ingram’s demise. The local police commissario pronounces it an accident. His passing also brings a relative and his son, who question the legality of the new will that cuts them out of any inheritance- but Ingram’s sneaky attorney feels he can overturn the new will- in exchange for part of the inheritance!
He ends up getting something quite different and far more unpleasant than an inheritance- and the race is on to find Ingram’s original will, which must be somewhere in the house. Things get more unnerving that night, when the household hears Ingram’s piano playing! We soon see a disembodied hand – and learn where it seems to have come from- while the search goes on for the original will, and Hilary tries to convince everyone that he has encountered this five-fingered horror! Will the deadly digits be discovered-or will they go on a strangling spree?
Please note that we have avoided some spoilers here- and ask that comment posters do the same, James Arness not withstanding ( yes, I’ll get in trouble for mentioning that), or your posts may be deleted. This movie certainly benefits from Peter Lorre’s creepy performance as Hilary- with supporting cast members like Robert Alda ( yes, Alan’s dad) and J. Carrol Naish. We’ll talk about them and other actors appearing in the film, have the finger put on the hand’s supposed other work, and bring you a new song. Due to the length of the movie, we will again minimize the Sven content in order to bring you more of the film.
“Beast with Five Fingers” inches onto your screen tonight at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central. Not sure where to find it in your area? Just check your local listings or at www.metv.com . Live-tweeting during the show on Twitter has had our program trending among the most posted about topics, and MeTV invites you to join in, using the hashtag #svengoolie. Saturday morning means an encore of “Leech Woman” on our main local station, CW26, at 11- leaving you the chance to watch the Saturday Morning Cartoons earlier on MeTV. We’re happy to see that so many of you have tuned in “Toon In With Me” weekday mornings- if you haven’t joined Bill, Toony the Tuna, and some of the most fun cartoons ever- catch up with them Monday through Friday at 7 eastern, 6 central time.
Let your fingers do the walking on your TV remote tonight to bring you to MeTV for what is, hands down, one of the eeriest movies in Peter Lorre’s resume!