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Erich von Stroheim
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W. Lee Wilder
Star Vera Ralston was an ice-skating champion from Czechoslovakie who had made a few skating pictures for Republic. Studio chief Herbert J. Yates--who was also her boyfriend--decided she could be a star and put her into the lead in this film. Unfortunately, she spoke very little English and--according to longtime Republic director Joseph Kane--spoke all of her lines phonetically, without having any idea of what she was actually saying. See more »
Prof. Franz Mueller:
Would it not be the achievement of all time to keep the brains of great thinkers, scientists, authors, statesmen, alive? To derive benefit from their wisdom and thinking power, even after their death - to make them literally immortal?
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Let's start with the great things. Direction and cinematography are top notch. Pacing is great, exciting. Fantastic Gothic atmosphere at the Castle. Set design and construction were superb; not just the stupendous Gothic castle and mad scientist laboratory, but the creamy art-deco nightclub straight out of a Fred Astaire/Busby Berkeley musical, and the fancy lawyer's office that oozed money. Gorgeous matte paintings and model work. Specialized lighting effects were used liberally and effectively. Good job to all those technicians on all their hard work.
Now to the bad things. Putting aside the way-out concept, I can accept that. After all, this is a science fiction story. But some of the writing is just atrocious. Badly phrased dialog abounds. And why a Gothic castle in the Arizona desert? What was that all about? And ye Gods, Vera Hruba Ralston is just a TERRIBLE actress. I don't see the appeal at all. She's not even really THAT pretty. Richard Arlen is a little stiff. Erich Von Stroheim is awesome at what he does, but certainly no one will ever praise him for his versatile range as an actor.
Yes, much less effective and respectable than the 1953 version, "Donovan's Brain." Check that one out first if you haven't seen it. This movie is a fun little low budget genre flick that does have some advantages to it, but it's certainly not hall of fame material.
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