THE DEVIL'S HAND (1961)

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The Devil's Hand Cover Come, my child. Come closer. For I have something I've been dying to show you for quite some time now. It's a movie. Or to be more precise, a 71 minute movie! And even though it looks bloody sh*t upon the screen, in its defense it was made in 1961, and was Directed by: William Hole Junior; and Starred: Linda Christian, Robert Alda, with Ariadne Welter.


The Devil's Hand


THE STORY:
I've been expecting you to pay me a visit for quite some time now, Mister Rick Turner (Robert Alda). But then again, over the last couple of weeks you have been seeing an awful lot of me, haven't you?

No. Not physically, of course. Yet every night, whilst you were asleep, you've seen my apparition taunting you, caressing you, and plaguing your subconscious to such an extent, that you even thought you saw a doll of me in a shop window.

And it was a doll of me, wasn't it Rick? There was one of me and one of you girlfriend, Donna (Ariadne Welter). Poor-poor, Donna. Who mysteriously collapsed on the floor just a few moments after you asked the shopkeeper about these dolls!

And what did Frank (Neil Hamilton) say to you in turn, my friend? Can you remember? He said that you came in previously and asked to have them custom made, despite you yourself never having any prior knowledge of this transaction! A transaction, I might add, that eventually pointed you in my direction.  

So finally, here we are. Me and you. Me... a witch named Bianca Milan (Linda Christian). And you... a fairly nice man named Mister Rick Turner. Still. That's most probably why what next transpires all goes 'Booga-Booga' when you willingly join my voodoo cult. As good fortune favors the brave - a hapless sap pines for a shallow grave - a strange mystery turns into no joke - and at the end of the day, look out Frank, our cult is going up in smoke.




THE REVIEW:
To be completely honest with you, folks, I'm not entirely sure if I liked watching 'The Devil's Hand' or not. On the one hand I didn't mind listening to the jingly guitar music it had on offer. On the other hand I wasn't completely won over by its obvious made-for-television production values. And on yet another hand, even though I was fairly fine with overall style of the acting, in the same breath, I wasn't that keen on the actual tale from a narrative point of view.

The Devil's Hand Starring Linda Christian
You see, in essence, this film is about a man who gets targeted to join a voodoo cult, and in so doing, he eventually comes to the realization that the girl he left behind is well worth saving. Of course, this isn't a very associative pretext on any level. Plus to make matters even more strained, I personally couldn't seem to connect with any of the characters involved.

I mean, let's face it. If you found yourself in a situation where you had to save your girlfriend from some mysterious organisation, would you shag the tasty bird who introduced you into it in the first place? What's more, why play along when them for the sake of face? Why not call the police for some help? Or even some other paranormal agency, like 'The Ghostbusters' for instance?

Well, you know what I mean, folk. Although I suppose what I'm trying to say -- in a rather long-winded and mumbled fashion -- is that I couldn't really understand why the main lead did what he did, when he never even tried to explore other avenues as well.

Still. You can't win them all, can you? At least this tale managed to tell a tale that had a fairly suspenseful angle to it. Plus I have to say that Neil did a great job at playing the token villain, whilst Linda is defiantly one hell of a hot and seductive witch. Ogga-Ogga! As for Ariadne and Rick's characters, well, yeah, they weren't that bad within the scheme of things. Despite their peachy keen acting style's not really feeling in sink with this type of genre bent adventure.


The Devil's Hand 1961 movie poster


The Devil's Hand Starring Robert Alda
Anyway. By now I'm sure you know my feelings towards this fairly so-so film. However, what about the following filmic facts, eh? (1) 'Crown International Pictures' first released this production in America on the exact same day the unmanned space-shuttle -- 'Mercury-Atlas 4' -- was launched into Earth's orbit. It was on the 13th of September, 1961. (2) Since it was initially devised this movie has been bestowed with such names as 'Devil's Doll', 'Live to Love', 'The Naked Goddess', and 'Witchcraft'. (3) That nice lady who came up with the screenplay for this flick, Jo Heims, is best known for writing the Clint Eastwood 1971 thriller, 'Play Misty for Me'. (4) One of the taglines used to promote this picture, was, 'Still alive...the ancient cult of voodoo as it is practiced today!'. (5) William J. Hole Junior, who was that fine chap that directed this film, has also directed such popular television shows as 'The Bionic Woman', 'Peyton Place', '77 Sunset Strip', and 'Boots and Saddles'. (6) Excerpts from this adventure can be seen in the 1996 documentary, '100 Years of Horror: Witches', as well as a 2002 installment of the 'Shiver & Shudder Show'. (7) For you Bat-fans out there, yes, I can confirm that the actor who played Frank in this flick was none other than Commissioner Gordon himself, Neil Hamilton, as seen in the 1966 version of the Batman television series. Plus for all you M*A*S*H fans out there, yes again, I can also confirm that the actor who played Rick in this flick, Robert Alda, is the father of Alan 'Hawkeye' Alda. (8) After this thriller lit a candle, Linda Christian starred in the thriller, 'Passport for a Corpse'; Robert Alda starred in the drama, 'Force of Impulse'; and Ariadne Welter starred in the adventure, 'The Happy Musketeers'.


The Devil's Hand Starring Neil Hamilton


Overall I'd say 'The Devil's Hand' was a pretty middle-of-the-road voodoo movie to watch. The story was a mixed bag to say the least. The style of acting was very much of its time. And as push comes to shove, all in all this was a pretty so-so film.

Nuff said.

THE RATING: B-