Fingers is a short crime drama, set in London's East End in the 1950s, inspired by "film noir" and the idea of Salome as an early "femme fatale". The action takes place in Fingers, a piano bar cum strip club, and the unofficial headquarters of an East End crime gang, headed up by Harry. The film opens on his birthday party in full swing. In the early hours, after the guests have departed, two of Harry’s henchmen arrive with a late birthday present, in the form of John, a journalist who has written a series of articles condemning the gang’s activities, and painting Fingers as a Biblical den of sin, much to the annoyance of Harry’s moll Hen, who runs the place. Sally, a young girl that works at the club, has been woken by the disturbance and has been watching events through a spyhole. When Hen discovers her, she suggests that they blackmail John, by photographing him in a morally compromising position… Harry, drunk on the plan’s success, promises to reward Sally with whatever she wants and Hen, still angered by John’s articles, suggests that she ask for one of his fingers to be given her as a gift.
Fingers is inspired by the New Testament story of Salome’s famous dance, which led directly to the beheading of John the Baptist, as described in Matthew 14:3-11 and Mark 6:17-29. It is said that John was had been arrested and imprisoned by King Herod for denouncing his marriage to Herodias as “not lawful”, since previously she had been married to his brother. Subsequently, on Herod’s birthday, Herodias asked her daughter, Salome, to dance for Herod and his closest associates. Herod was so pleased with Salome’s performance that he told her, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you”. Salome sought the advice of her mother as to what she should request, and Herodias, still angered by John’s accusations, told her to demand John’s head on a platter. Salome obeyed her mother, and Herod, eager not to renege on his promise commanded for the request to be carried out.