The Hand (1981)

The Hand poster

Warner Bros.
Starring:
 Michael Caine, Mara Hobel
Directed by: Oliver Stone

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains some spoilers for this film!

Synopsis: Jonathan Lansdale (Michael Caine) is a cartoonist who loses his hand in a freak accident and then thinks he’s losing his mind when his disembodied hand haunts his life.

Kitty Cameo: At the beginning of the film Jonathan is at his country home with his wife Anne (Andrea Marcovicci) and daughter Lizzie (Mara Hobel). He notices Lizzie poking at something with a stick. A black cat is in the background.

The Hand - black cat Amanda in background behind Lizzie Mara Hobel

Lizzie is poking at a lizard’s tail which is moving each time she pushes the stick closer. The black cat is eating the rest of the lizard by a tree.

The Hand - black cat Amanda eating lizard by tree

As they contemplate the wriggling appendage, the black cat suddenly pounces on the tail and devours it, then runs away. Lizzie calls after the cat, “Amanda!”

The Hand - black cat Amanda eating lizard's tail

The Hand - black cat Amanda running away

The Hand - black cat Amanda jumping on lizard's tail and eating it then running away Lizzie Mara Hobel Jonathan Michael Caine animated gif

After the accident, Jonathan is in his studio attempting to draw with his left hand. He hears a noise behind him and looks but nothing is there. Suddenly Amanda leaps out of nowhere onto the drawing board and hisses violently.

The Hand - black cat Amanda hissing

Kitty Carnage Warning!  Amanda then inexplicably turns and dashes through the glass window with a crash.

The Hand - black cat Amanda going through window with Jonathan Michael Caine

The Hand - black cat Amanda going through window with Jonathan Michael Caine animated gif

This scene is repeated later in the film as a memory in black and white. It is never explains exactly what happened to Amanda or if she survived the crash through the window, although in the context of the film her fate could be deduced. But we won’t give spoilers here.

The Hand - black cat Amanda hissing in black and white

In the DVD commentary track, director Oliver Stone explained that the shot of the cat leaping through the window was difficult to achieve using a mechanical spring cat matched to the real cat actor who had to jump on the table and then turn and run in the right direction. “Working with animals and getting the stunt right is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do in the films. So to get a cat to jump in the correct manner and scare somebody is not easy.”

Final Mewsings: Oliver Stone wasn’t content with just one spring-loaded cat!


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