Julie Holden

Photo of Andrea King as Julie Holden in "The Beast With Five Fingers." Warner Bros., 1946.

Andrea’s role as the sympathetic nurse Julie Holden in 1946’s “The Beast With Five Fingers” is perhaps her best known. Through the years this horror cult-classic has been praised, criticized, imitated, spoofed, and even remade, adding to its unusual staying power. Many people remember Andrea vividly and fondly as the glamorous and devoted heroine of the haunting tale.

“Warner Bros. wasn’t known for making horror movies, so I think it stood out,” Andrea remembers. “Julie was really the only sane character in the bunch. The audience could identify with her. Everyone else was either a tad eccentric or raving mad. Julie loved and cared for the old man [Victor Francen], but all she wanted to do was get out of that place. I think audiences understood her dilemma.”

When the old concert pianist mysteriously dies late one evening after announcing to his table full of dinner guests that he has rewritten his will, the real mystery begins. And Julie soon emerges as the benefactor of his entire estate. It’s part Who-Done-It and part ghost story, and at times it’s difficult to tell reality from illusion.

“I thought all I did was scream through the whole thing,” Andrea chuckles, “but seeing it again recently, I realize I was wrong. There’s a lot going on with Julie. My scenes with Peter Lorre are definitely my favorite. He was such a giving actor — a real unique talent. He made my job so much easier, and he gave a brilliant performance in the film.”