The titular hands belong to Lionel Barrymore, who plays a prominent defense attorney. To save his daughter (Madge Evans) from a cad (Alan Mobray), Barrymore murders the man and arranges to make the deed look like suicide. The victim's mistress (Kay Francis) suspects foul play, but the lawyer has done his cover-up job too well. Barrymore very nearly pulls off his ruse--until the corpse itself has the "last word." The central gimmick of Guilty Hands, in which Barrymore establishes an alibi by positioning a revolving cardboard silhouette to create a continually moving shadow, was later appropriated for comic purposes in the Astaire-Rogers musical Gay Divorcee (34).
by Hal Erickson synopsis