The Man They Could Not Hang (1939)

Unrated  |   |  Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi  |  17 August 1939 (USA)
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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


Weird! Horrifying! Fascinating! See more »


Crime | Horror | Sci-Fi


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Release Date:

17 August 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Celui qui a tué la mort  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


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


Dr. Henryk Savaard: Think of it! The Edison or Pasteur of tomorrow need not die merely because his heart is worn out. We'll give him a new heart taken perhaps from the body of a young man who's been killed in a automobile accident. And our great genius is awakened to another sixty years of useful life! You ask me if that's a benefit to mankind? I answer it's the gift of eternal life! But whether man's wise enough or old enouh to receive such a gift, I don't know. I don't know!
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References The Ninth Guest (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

"hang" it high
3 July 2005 | by (Portland, Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

Boris Karloff plays a scientist who discovers a way to prolong people's lives. To try it out, he has to kill someone. When his plan is discovered, they arrest him, convict him and execute him. But, as the title identifies, it doesn't end there. To be certain, he invites the jurors to his house and explains how one person will perish every fifteen minutes. Then, it starts happening.

"The Man They Could Not Hang" is outlandish, definitely, but it's kind of a neat movie. The ending was sort of a cop-out, but most of the movie was pretty fun. Karloff's eerie stare is enough to carry a movie all by itself.

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