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Life Returns (1935)

 -  Crime | Drama | Sci-Fi  -  2 January 1935 (USA)
4.7
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Ratings: 4.7/10 from 76 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 3 critic

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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Title: Life Returns (1935)

Life Returns (1935) on IMDb 4.7/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Onslow Stevens ...
George P. Breakston ...
Danny Kendrick (as George Breakston)
Lois Wilson ...
...
Stanley Fields ...
Dog Catcher
...
Dr. James
Richard Carle ...
A.K. Arnold
Dean Benton ...
Intern
Lois January ...
Nurse
Richard Quine ...
Mickey
Maidel Turner ...
Mrs. Vandergriff
George MacQuarrie ...
Judge
Otis Harlan ...
Dr. Henderson
Robert E. Cornish ...
Himself
Mario Margutti ...
Cornish's Assistant
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Storyline

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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Taglines:

The mystery of the man who conquered death!

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Sci-Fi

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 January 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Life Returns  »

Company Credits

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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

Uses footage from actual University of Southern California experiment in which scientists claimed they brought a dead dog back to life. Robert E. Cornish, playing himself in the film, was one of the scientists involved. See more »

Quotes

Danny Kendrick: I ran away from the cops. They were gonna put me in the hole!
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User Reviews

 
LIFE RETURNS (Eugene Frenke and, uncredited, James P. Hogan, 1935) **
9 October 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

The presence in the cast of Onslow Stevens (later the nominal lead in 1945's HOUSE OF Dracula) and Valerie Hobson (who starred in both BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and WEREWOLF OF London that same year) is the only indication that this obscure curio was a product of Universal Studios during their golden age as Hollywood's top purveyors of chills and thrills. However, despite this being (relatively speaking) a "mad doctor with a back-from-the-dead scheme" scenario, the end result is far removed from the entertainment value and artistic quality one usually associates with that celebrated horror cycle. Indeed, the film ends up being closer in feel to a Warner Bros-type of social document crossed with a Hal Roach "Our Gang" flick and directed by exploitationer Dwain Esper! Unfortunately, it plays far less amusingly than that bizarre concoction sounds!

Stevens falls out with his two fellow students (including real-life scientist Dr. Robert E. Cornish, who the previous year had actually accomplished the life-giving experiment that inspired the movie in the first place!) over financing their project and goes to work for a commercial firm which, however, soon drops him when his continuous attempts grow costlier and more fruitless by the day. This rejection makes him give up his well-paying daytime practice of treating elderly socialites of non-existent ailments and his consequent impoverishment drives wife Hobson to an early grave and son George Breakston to a juvenile court! The latter eventually takes to the road with his pet dog and joins a gang of streetwise kids who live on their wiles in procuring whatever food they can from 'providential' neighbors! Needless to say, this situation ends badly with the dog being caught by the authorities and subsequently gassed and one of the kids getting hurt in the attempt to free the mutt.

Distressed by failing his son yet again in curing his wounded friend (claiming to be 'washed-up'), Stevens contrives to set up an operation in which Breakston's dead dog is revived, thus proving his initial theory after all! As silly as it sounds, the footage depicting this is actually authentic and integrated into the storyline by having Stevens narrate the ongoing procedure carried out by Cornish and his colleagues (similarly portraying themselves) to a group of gathered medicos – something which he himself could not accomplish because his ostensible patrons did not want to fork out any more dough on some all-important apparatus! Being a lifelong animal lover, this sequence (showing Cornish giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the dog!) could not fail to stir me and easily emerges as the film's highlight…even if LIFE RETURNS itself as a whole proved too amateurish and bland for a Universal horror product! For the record, uncredited co-director James Hogan would later make yet another lesser (but more typical) example along similar 'revivification' lines i.e. THE MAD GHOUL (1943).


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