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The Walking Dead
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The Walking Dead (1936) More at IMDbPro »

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Up 144% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Ewart Adamson (screen play) &
Peter Milne (screen play) ...
View company contact information for The Walking Dead on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
14 March 1936 (USA) See more »
After hapless pianist and ex-con John Elman is framed for murder, he is resurrected by a scientist after his execution. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
(144 articles)
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User Reviews:
Now Fear This: DEAD MAN WALKING See more (44 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Boris Karloff ... John Ellman

Ricardo Cortez ... Nolan

Edmund Gwenn ... Dr. Beaumont

Marguerite Churchill ... Nancy

Warren Hull ... Jimmy

Barton MacLane ... Loder
Henry O'Neill ... Werner
Joe King ... Judge Shaw (as Joseph King)
Addison Richards ... Prison Warden
Paul Harvey ... Blackstone
Robert Strange ... Merritt
Joe Sawyer ... Trigger (as Joseph Sawyer)
Eddie Acuff ... Betcha
Kenneth Harlan ... Stephen Martin
Miki Morita ... Sako
Ruth Robinson ... Mrs. Shaw
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Brandon Beach ... Second Guest (uncredited)
George Beranger ... Nolan's Butler (uncredited)
Wade Boteler ... Cellist's Guard (uncredited)
Tom Brower ... Bailiff (uncredited)
James P. Burtis ... Guard Who Answers Phone Too Late (uncredited)
Edwin J. Carlie ... Prisoner (uncredited)
Glen Cavender ... Man in Courtroom (uncredited)
Lucille Collins ... Courtroom Woman Dodging 'Betcha' (uncredited)
Frank Darien ... Cemetery Caretaker (uncredited)
Sarah Edwards ... Female Doctor - Guest at Party (uncredited)

Bill Elliott ... First American Radio Announcer (uncredited)
Carl Faulkner ... Warden at Execution (uncredited)
Edward Gargan ... Guard Sitting Outside Warden's Office (uncredited)
Malcolm Graham ... Third Guest (uncredited)
Earle Hodgins ... Trial Reporter (uncredited)
Harry Hollingsworth ... Bailiff (uncredited)
Fred Hueston ... Fourth Guest (uncredited)
Paul Irving ... First Guest (uncredited)
Boyd Irwin ... British Doctor (uncredited)
John Kelly ... Joe - Merritt's Bodyguard (uncredited)
Crauford Kent ... British Radio Announcer (uncredited)
Larry Kent ... Reporter (uncredited)
Milton Kibbee ... Reporter (uncredited)
Richard Kipling ... Court Clerk (uncredited)
Isabel La Mal ... Sob Sister (uncredited)
Charles Marsh ... Reporter (uncredited)
Alphonse Martell ... Florist (uncredited)
Nick Moro ... Convict (uncredited)
William H. O'Brien ... Juror (uncredited)
Spec O'Donnell ... Copy Boy (uncredited)
Paul Panzer ... Man in Courtroom (uncredited)
Jean Perry ... French Radio Announcer (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Bailiff (uncredited)
James Pierce ... Prisoner (uncredited)
Lee Prather ... Bailiff (uncredited)
Harrington Reynolds ... English Doctor (uncredited)
Sam Rice ... Counterman (uncredited)
John J. Richardson ... Man Leaving First Trial (uncredited)
Syd Saylor ... Courtroom Reporter (uncredited)
Tom Schamp ... Prisoner (uncredited)
Charles Sherlock ... Courtroom Man Dodging 'Betcha' (uncredited)
Edgar Sherrod ... Prison Chaplain (uncredited)
Eddie Shubert ... Reporter (uncredited)
Billy Wayne ... Trusty (uncredited)
Leo White ... Man in Courtroom (uncredited)

Directed by
Michael Curtiz 
Writing credits
Ewart Adamson (screen play) &
Peter Milne (screen play) and
Robert Hardy Andrews (screen play) (as Robert Andrews) and
Lillie Hayward (screen play)

Ewart Adamson (story) and
Joseph Fields (story)

Produced by
Louis F. Edelman .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Bernhard Kaun (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Hal Mohr (photography)
Film Editing by
Thomas Pratt (film editor)
Art Direction by
Hugh Reticker 
Costume Design by
Orry-Kelly (gowns)
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Russell Saunders .... assistant director (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... musical director (uncredited)
Bernhard Kaun .... musical adaptation (uncredited)
Bernhard Kaun .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Irving Rapper .... dialogue director
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies
  • Warner Bros. (presents) (as Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.) (A Warner Bros. Picture)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
66 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The music being played while Karloff is walking to his execution is Kamennoi-Ostrow by Anton Rubinstein.See more »
Continuity: Boris Karloff's character is named John Ellman in closeups of teletype and newspaper material, but misspelled John Elman in the credits.See more »
[looking up to Heaven, while being led to the electric chair]
John Ellman:*He'll* believe me.
See more »
Movie Connections:


How many people does Ellman kill?
What is the music that plays at various times during the movie?
Is 'The Walking Dead' based on a book?
See more »
14 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
Now Fear This: DEAD MAN WALKING, 17 October 2003
Author: lugonian from Kissimmee, Florida

THE WALKING DEAD (Warner Brothers, 1936), directed by Michael Curtiz, is an interesting little item from the "horror" genre of the 1930s. Naturally starring Boris Karloff, but surprisingly produced and released by Warner Brothers instead of by Universal, where films of this sort were filmed and Karloff under studio contract. Being a Warners film, this also has the trademarks of its very own popular genre, the "gangster" story, yet, in this case, the use of modern-day setting with the blend gangsters with tales of the supernatural and science fiction.

The story opens with Judge Roger Shaw (Joseph King), in spite of threats from the mob, convicting a racketeer named Steven Martin (Kenneth Harlan) to a ten year prison sentence. Nolan (Ricardo Cortez), Martin's lawyer, sets out to do away with the judge by arranging one of his fellow racketeers, "Trigger" Smith (Joseph Sawyer), to employ John Ellman (Boris Karloff), an out-of-work musician out on parole for two weeks following his ten year prison sentence, to "spy" on Shaw, the judge who also had sent him up, on the grounds that Shaw's wife suspects her husband of being unfaithful, and all Ellman has to do is watch his house and take notes. One night while spying on Shaw by his property, the judge is murdered elsewhere by the gangsters who take the body and leave it in the back seat of Ellman's car. At the same time, this is witnessed by a young couple, Jimmy and Nancy (Warren Hull and Marguerite Churchill), who remain silent after they are personally threatened. After Ellman notices the couple driving away, he discovers the body in his car. The next scene shifts to the courtroom where Ellman pleads his innocence and that there are witnesses who can verify his story, but with the "help" of his attorney Nolan, he gets him convicted of first degree murder and to face execution. On the night he is to go to the electric chair, Jimmy and Nancy come forth to Doctor Beaumont (Edmund Gwenn), their employer and scientist, who immediately telephones Nolan to contact the governor to stop the execution. Nolan purposely awaits until it is too late, and by then, the death sentence is carried out. Beaumont orders the autopsy to be stopped so that he may revive the body. After Ellman is brought back from the dead, he appears in a "zombie" state of mind, remembering nothing, but knowing precisely whom his enemies are, and through a supernatural force, goes after each one of those gangsters to learn why they had him framed, only to witness their destinies through accidental occurrences.

Featured in the supporting cast are Warner Brothers stock company of Barton MacLane as Loder; Henry O'Neill as District Attorney Werner; Addison Richards as the Prison Warden; Eddie Acuff as Mitchell; with Paul Harvey as Blackstone and Robert Strange as Merritt.

Boris Karloff is no stranger in playing a corpse resurrected from the dead. His role as The Monster in FRANKENSTEIN (Universal, 1931) or THE MUMMY (Universal, 1932), immediately come to mind, yet, in this production, he somehow resembles the monster, but in this case, doesn't go out on a murderous rampage in spite that he actually does have just cause to avenge his evil doers. Karloff's John Ellman is actually a gentle soul who, after being executed for a crime for which he is innocent, retains his gentleness even through his second life, yet, succeeds in bringing fright through his eyes to those who had done him wrong. He even finds peace and tranquility while roaming about the cemetery. Being a musician and pianist himself, he has a favorite musical piece, a somewhat quiet but moody composition he asks to be played as he walks his last mile to the execution chamber. As for the music, Ellman adds, "I like to think Heaven like that." After his "resurrection" by Doctor Beaumont, the story occasionally shifts to mystic overtones as Beaumont tries to learn from Ellman his experience in death. At one point, Ellman responds, "Leave the dead to their Maker. The Lord our God is a jealous God."

In many ways, THE WALKING DEAD is highly original in its premise and during its short 66 minutes, starts off a bit slowly with some intrusive "comedy relief" provided by Eddie Acuff, whose sure thing in making wagers which turns out to be a bad gamble, but soon builds itself to a fast and memorable conclusion. During its second half, the movie plays like a "film noir" mystery with its dark atmospheric background along with some very creepy stalking from the titled character. THE WALKING DEAD may not be Academy Award winning material, but will guarantee to win a new and appreciative audience whenever shown on Turner Classic Movies. (**)

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