Yet another version of Curt Siodmak's novel about an honest scientist who keeps the brain of a ruthless dead millionaire (Donovan) alive in a tank. Donovan manages to impose his powerful ... See full summary »
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Erich von Stroheim
In an interview, longtime Republic Pictures director Joseph Kane said that director George Sherman found working with star Vera Ralston so taxing that after this film was completed he quit Republic--where he had spent many years--because he thought he was going to be asked to direct another one of her pictures. See more »
Prof. Franz Mueller:
What do I know about the brain itself? Nothing. Can it think? Remember after its body is dead? Could it be made to feel, to hear perhaps, or to express itself in some way? To contact the living?
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Not as good as the 1953 version, but still an entertaining forties thriller.
THE LADY AND THE MONSTER is the first version of Curt Siodmak's often filmed novel "Donovan's Brain". This first version is largely forgotten, and those that recall it usually dis-miss it as inferior to the 1953 version DONOVAN'S BRAIN with Lew Ayres. While the 1953 version is superior in almost every way, THE LADY AND THE MONSTER is still an entertaining, atmospheric 1940's thriller.
The plot is basically the same, but in this version the living brain of Donovan possesses the mind of scientist Richard Arlen to clear his illegitimate son who has been wrongly convicted of murder. The brain also wants to get revenge on his daughter, whom is just as money hungry and ruthless as Donovan was in "life." Even though Donovan's goals are good, his disembodied brain is still ruthless; he orders the possessed Arlen to kill a girl who gave false testimony at his son's trial.
We can always tell when Donovan is about to possess Arlen, the lighting and Arlen's make-up changes. The 1953 version employed no such tricks, and relied entirely on the acting skills of Lew Ayers. (See my entry on that version). Erich Von Stroheim plays the elder scientist, and as with any film he was in, he was always a commanding presence. There are hints of him having an unhealthy infatuation with Vera Ralston, but this doesn't lead anywhere.
Overall, LADY AND THE MONSTER isn't as good as the later 1953 version, but it is still a decent 1940's horror thriller.
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