A doctor who has spent his career working on ways to revive the dead sees his chance to prove his theory by performing his procedures on a recently deceased dog.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
George P. Breakston ...
Danny Kendrick (as George Breakston)
...
...
...
Dog Catcher
...
Dr. James
...
A.K. Arnold
Dean Benton ...
Intern
...
Nurse
...
Mickey
...
Mrs. Vandergriff
...
Judge
...
Dr. Henderson
Robert E. Cornish ...
Himself
Mario Margutti ...
Cornish's Assistant
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Storyline

Idealistic doctoral graduates Bob (Dr. Robert E. Cornish), Louise and John plan their futures in pursuit of a formula to restore life to the dead. Bob and Louise wish to remain independent and pursue medical research free of corporate ties. John tries in vain to convince them that by joining him to work at Arnold Research Laboratories they could achieve more research in a year than they could in five as an independent research team. John leaves his friends for corporate pharmacology only to find the pace of his research is not progressing fast enough nor seems practical enough to suit Mr. Arnold. The final blow comes when he is told to turn his attention to creating a treated pig bristle brush to restore hair and prop up his bosses investments in pig processing. Disillusioned Dr. John Kendrick faces public ridicule as he promotes his theory to his peers and falls into a deep depression that costs him his private medical practice. Five years later the sudden passing of his wife, drives... Written by G. E. Sutton

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The mystery of the man who conquered death!

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 January 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'incredibile realtà  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

| (RCA Victor High Fidelity Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The story opens with a signed affidavit as follows:

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The actual experiment of bringing the dead back to life, which is part of the motion picture "Life Returns" was performed by myself and staff on May 22, 1934 at 11:45 P.M. in Berkeley, California. This part of the picture was originally taken to retain a permanent scientific record of our experiment. Everything shown is absolutely real. The animal was unquestionably and actually dead, and was brought back to life. May I offer my thanks to my assistants, Mario Margutti, William Black, Ralph Celmer and Roderic Kneder, who are shown carrying out their respective parts. Respectfully submitted, Dr. Robert E. Cornish. See more »

Quotes

A.K. Arnold: Bristles come from pigs and bristles make brushes.
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User Reviews

Weird Melodrama to Say the Least
10 October 2016 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Life Returns (1935)

** (out of 4)

Dr. John Kendrick (Onslow Stevens) is obsessed with bringing the dead back to life but everyone laughs at him. This pretty much forces him out of the profession and before long his wife dies and his young son ends up in a gang where his life goes all wrong. Pretty soon a chance comes along and the doctor can prove his scientific theories.

LIFE RETURNS is often confused as to being a Universal horror movie but that's not the case. Thsi was just distributed by Universal for some reason but it wasn't actually produced by them. Another bit of confusion is that Valerie Hobson has a brief role here and we know she appeared in Universal's BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and WEREWOLF IN London the same year. If you're expecting a flat out horror film then you'll certainly be disappointed as this is more family drama mixed with science fiction.

The weirdest thing about this ultra weird movie is the fact that it tries to do so many things yet it isn't successful at any of them. For starters, this is a personal drama dealing with the doctor losing everything while he battles to try and prove himself. The film also rips off the Our Gang shorts with the story of the son who falls in with a group of misfits. I'm really not sure why Universal would want to distribute this film because even for a "C" studio this thing would be pretty embarrassing.

Onslow, who would eventually appear in HOUSE OF DRAULA, at least manages a decent performance and I'd also argue that Hobson is better here than in the two Universal horror movies she appeared in. The problem is that there's just nothing overly interesting here. This was based on the life of Robert E. Cornish but I'll let you look up what he did and how. As far as the film goes, LIFE RETURNS briefly hits the "horror" genre with the doctor trying to bring life back to a dog but the weirdness level of the picture keeps it somewhat entertaining.


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