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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 will on the scientist, and uses him to murder his enemies. Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
Dr. Cory, under the control of the brain, makes out a list showing several false identities under which Donovan has hidden money around the country. The first four names on the list are actual names of crew members: production supervisor H.B. Chapman, production designer Boris Leven, assistant director Jack R. Berne (on list as "Jack Byrne") and set decorator Edward Boyle. The fifth name, Fred Russell, is that of a popular sports writer of the early 1950s. See more »
The size of the brain in the tank keeps abruptly changing size, within the same scene. See more »
Well-crafted sci-fi with minimal special effects. Of course, the premise of a disembodied brain taking thought control of its master has kicked around more than a few times. However, this is arguably the best version, thanks to a tight screenplay and a fine central performance. Ayers must go from nice guy doctor to tyrannical business tycoon whenever the evil brain takes control. And he does both in highly convincing fashionsure a long way from young Dr. Kildare. Nancy Davis (Reagan) also delivers as the loyal wife. Her films may never have been very distinguished, but she was always a credible low-key performer. Note also that usual tough guy Gene Evans gets the thankless "Igor" role as the lab assistant.
I guess I could have done with fewer close-ups of the pulsating brain. Unfortunately, the effect comes across in fairly hokey 50's fashion. Then too, that all-out thunder and lightning sequence amounts to more than just a storm. Instead , it looks more like a rage in heaven, like someone above is really angry at what's going on below. The heavy-handed theatrics is really out of sync with what's gone before. Despite the two drawbacks, the overall result is better than expected, thanks to the A-grade performances in a B-grade movie.
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