||Paul Panzer (right).
Frame enlargement: Silent Era image collection.
The Thieving Hand
B&W : 525 feet
Directed by (unknown)
Cast: Paul Panzer [the man buying an artificial limb]
The Vitagraph Company of America production; distributed by The Vitagraph Company of America. / © 17 January 1908 by The Vitagraph Company of America. Released 1 February 1908. / Standard 35mm spherical 1.37:1 format. / The production was shot at Vitagraph’s studio in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York, and on location.
Synopsis: A philanthropic man returns a favor to a street peddler by buying him a clockwork prosthesis to replace a missing arm. At once, the artificial arm seems to have a kleptomanical will of its own, persistently pickpocketing passers-by. The peddler then pawns the troublesome limb, only to have it return to him of its own volition — carrying stolen goods with it. He is caught by the police and taken to jail, where the arm attaches itself to another prisoner.
Survival status: Prints exist in the George Eastman Museum film archive; and in the film holdings of Film Preservation Associates [35mm positive].
Current rights holder: Public domain.
Keywords: Artificial limbs - Crime: Theft - Furs: Stoles (Fox) - Jails: Prisoners - Pawnshops - Police: Policemen, Police stations - Safes - Street scenes
Listing updated: 24 June 2009.
References: Film credits, film viewing : Leyda-Before pp. 82, 131; Slide-BigV p. 178.
Home video: DVD.