The Man They Could Not Hang (1939)

Unrated  |   |  Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi  |  17 August 1939 (USA)
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Reviews: 28 user | 16 critic

When Dr. Savaard's experiment in cryonics is interrupted by the short-sighted authorities, his volunteer dies, and he is condemned to death. He vows vengeance if he can survive his own hanging.


(as Nick Grindé)


(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Roger Pryor ...
Joe De Stefani ...
Charles Trowbridge ...
Byron Foulger ...
Dick Curtis ...
John Tyrrell ...
Juror Sutton


Mad Scientist, Dr. Henryk Savaard, is obsessed with bringing the dead back to life. The police are alerted of Savaard's activities by his assistant's girlfriend. Savaard is arrested, convicted and sentenced to hang. He vows revenge on the judge, jury and district attorney. After the hanging, his assistant claims Savaard's body and uses Savaard's technique on it. Savaard is brought back to life. Now he can seek sweet revenge on his prosecutors. Written by Kelly

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


To the law...he was a murderer! society, a samaritan! See more »


Crime | Horror | Sci-Fi


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

17 August 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Celui qui a tuĂ© la mort  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Shooting lasted from June 27-July 12, 1939, released Aug. 17. See more »


Priest: It seems strange to see you in such good spirits, Doctor.
Dr. Henryk Savaard: Strange that I should have no fear of dying? Well, I have lived so long questioning the unknown that this plunge into its depths is only the last and perhaps the greatest of my experiments.
Priest: Have you no faith?
Dr. Henryk Savaard: As a scientist, I'm afraid I'm a professional skeptic who doubts everything - even the certainties.
Priest: But do you not recognize the great truths?
Dr. Henryk Savaard: I never found one that would bear analysis.
Priest: Can't you conceive of a truth too great for ...
See more »


Referenced in Cinemassacre's Monster Madness: Saw (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

You Have Fifteen Minutes Left To Live...
11 February 2000 | by (NC) – See all my reviews

Karloff plays Dr. Saavard, a scientist involved in creating an artificial heart and hopefully the means to extend life and perhaps realize immortality. A young man offers his services to him, and accidentally dies. Karloff is brought to trial, convicted and hung. He comes back(as we new he would from the name of the title) and seeks revenge on all those responsible for his "death." The story is fairly conventional and routine, but there are some splendid moments in the house of Karloff menacing his "guests" and letting each one know how long he or she has to live. The only real complaint I have deals with the ending which just cuts the tension that had been built up. The ending is rather make-shift and really spoiled the mood earlier created.

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