||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 International Museum of Photography and Film at George Eastman House 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.