Condemned to Live (1935)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Horror, Mystery  |  15 September 1935 (USA)
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Ratings: 4.9/10 from 272 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 7 critic

After a series of unsolved murders, a man finds out that his mother was bitten by a vampire bat during her pregnancy, and he believes that he may be the vampire committing the murders.



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Cast overview:
Prof. Paul Kristan
Pedro de Cordoba ...
Dr. Anders Bizet
Maxine Doyle ...
Marguerite Mane
Zan, the Hunchback
Lucy Beaumont ...
Mother Molly
Carl Stockdale ...
John Mane
Martha Kristan
Robert Frazer ...
Dr. Duprez (as Robert Frazier)
Ferdinand Schumann-Heink ...
Franz Kristan (as Ferdinand Schuman-Heink)
Heidi Shope ...
Anna, the Maid (as Hedi Shope)
Maria, the Young Girl


After a series of murders, a man finds out that his mother was bitten by a vampire bat during her pregnancy, and he believes that he may be the vampire committing the murders. Written by

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


SAINT OR SATAN! MAN OR MONSTER! (original poster - all caps) See more »


Drama | Horror | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 September 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Demon of Doom  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor High Fidelity Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Shot in ten days. See more »


Prof. Paul Kristan: We can never be afraid of what we love.
Prof. Paul Kristan: If we love our brother, how can we fear him?
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User Reviews

CONDEMNED TO LIVE (Frank R. Strayer, 1935) **
14 October 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

To begin with, I acquired this only a couple of hours before I watched it; I was in no particular hurry to check it out but, knowing I had the somewhat similar DEVIL BAT'S DAUGHTER (1946) on the schedule anyway, I opted to go with this one beforehand since, of course, it came first. Not having been exactly impressed by the director's other, more popular genre work (namely THE MONSTER WALKS {1932} and THE VAMPIRE BAT {1933} which, again, this resembles quite a bit), I hardly expected the film under review to change matters; while presenting a novel (if silly) spin on the vampire theme, the approach is so stodgy as to defeat its purpose!

Here, in fact, we have a man (Ralph Morgan, who would return to the genre with a couple of somewhat better efforts i.e. NIGHT MONSTER {1942} and the recently-viewed THE MONSTER MAKER {1944}) who transforms – a' la Jekyll & Hyde and complete with inhuman slurping sounds – into a bloodsucker (actually preceding in this regard the 1957 THE VAMPIRE by more than two decades!) because his mother was bitten by a vampire bat during pregnancy. The irony is that, being an eminent doctor, the community looks up to him after every new attack (he is himself unaware of his nightly depredations which occur during periodic blackout spells – hilariously and repeatedly described as "swooning" to the point that the film has been disparagingly described by some as CONDEMNED TO LIVE aka I SWOONED!) As usual, he is about to marry a much-younger girl that is loved by another man, who is most vociferous about the fact that the fiend is human as opposed to supernatural.

Incidentally, what triggers Morgan off is complete darkness(!?), so that he has the townsfolk keep a candle burning at all times of the night…but, when he begins to feel the blackout coming during a visit to his girl, she unwisely turns out the lights one by one (which sends him off in a fury every time!). Eventually, a family friend of Morgan's comes along and he realizes that the doc is unsettled by his condition and, suspecting the truth, asks him to release the girl until he is cured. In the meantime, the attacks continue – with Morgan's devoted hunchback (future comic Mischa Auer who was also in THE MONSTER WALKS) always lurking behind to save his master from being apprehended as well as finding out about his true nature, even if this means that Auer is himself fingered as the vampire on more than one occasion!

Just as THE VAMPIRE BAT was filmed on standing sets from James Whale's much-superior THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932; with which it had even shared leading man Melvyn Douglas), this one uses leftover scenery from that same genre master's BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) and, it seems to me, even some from his FRANKENSTEIN (1931), not that these are adopted in any imaginative way given CONDEMNED TO LIVE's relentlessly talky approach! In the end, Morgan bows out not by the traditional stake through the heart but by simply leaping, of his own free will, from a cliff…followed in quick succession by Auer himself (apparently, the latter saw no point in living if he cannot be with his beloved master – make of that what you will!). The film, then, is at least watchable for trying to be different but, ultimately, it emerges as nothing more than a curious footnote in the history of the (sub)genre.

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