Obsession fuels a lot of the macabre goings-on in “Mad Love,” a 1935 mental mystery with Gothic trappings and buckets of perverse psychology. Karl Freund, who served as cinematographer on many early German horror and science fiction classics like “The Golem” and “City,” made his ultimate flip as director (after helming “The Mummy” for Common) in this MGM chiller, which marked the American movie debut of his countryman, actor Peter Lorre.
Lorre, who had risen to repute in Germany with a worrying portrayal of a kid assassin in Fritz Lang’s “M,” was once the easiest selection to play the movie’s antagonist, Dr. Gogol. An excellent surgeon, Gogol could also be a raving maniac with an unholy fixation on Frances Drake and particularly her torture sufferer position in a Grand Guignol-style degree manufacturing. When her pianist husband (Colin Clive of “Frankenstein”) loses his palms in a educate coincidence, Gogol seizes upon a deranged means to win her love: he transplants the palms of a assassin onto Clive, who in an instant choices up the previous proprietor’s penchant for knives.
Lorre, who spends a lot of the movie guffawing madly or fondling a wax statue of Drake, pushes “Mad Love” into nightmare territory in a scene the place he makes an attempt to persuade Clive that he’s the assassin from whom he got the killer palms: sheathed in a steel bodysuit and neck brace, Lorre’s Gogol seems like a steampunk prototype for the frame horror that David Cronenberg introduced to lifestyles a number of a long time later.