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Donovan's Brain (1953)

6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 885 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 15 critic

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 »

Director:

(as Felix Feist)

Writers:

(novel), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Directors: Curt Siodmak, Herbert L. Strock
Stars: Richard Carlson, King Donovan, Jean Byron
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Gene Evans ...
...
Janice Cory (as Nancy Davis)
Steve Brodie ...
Herbie Yocum
Tom Powers ...
Donovan's Washington Advisor
Lisa Howard ...
Chloe Donovan (as Lisa K. Howard)
James Anderson ...
Chief Tuttle (as Kyle James)
Victor Sutherland ...
Nathaniel Fuller
Michael Colgan ...
Tom Donovan
Peter Adams ...
Mr. Webster
Harlan Warde ...
Treasury Agent Brooke
Shimen Ruskin ...
Tailor
Edit

Storyline

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 <mmckee@wkio.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 September 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Donovans Hirn  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Orson Welles played the part of Dr. Corey in "Donovan's Brain" on the only two-part broadcast ever produced on radio's "Suspense", 18 May and 25 May 1944. See more »

Goofs

At one point, Frank (Gene Evans) states "Pat made that recording while the brain was destroying Yocum." However, in the final edited version of the movie, Pat (Dr. Cory, played by Lew Ayres) makes his recording several days before Yocum is killed. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Patrick J. Cory: [after Cory wakes Scratt up from a drunken stupor] My dear Dr. Schratt, you sober up with more
[pauses and shrugs]
Dr. Patrick J. Cory: grace than anyone I ever saw. You're terrific. C'mon, let's go.
Dr. Frank Schratt: Are you kidding?
[He hold out his shaking hand]
Dr. Frank Schratt: . Look! Nope.
Dr. Patrick J. Cory: Frank, don't let me down.
Dr. Frank Schratt: What's more useless than a surgeon with a hangover? I'm a drunken zero.! I pass!
Dr. Patrick J. Cory: No, you don't. I'd rather have you do a corneal transplant for me drunk than anyone else sober.
[Pulls him by the arm]
[...]
See more »

Connections

Remake of The Lady and the Monster (1944) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Out of the ashes of noir rises the sci-fi cycle
25 February 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

When the noir cycle was running down (and out) in the early 1950s, the new spate of "sci-fi" movies could lay claim to being among its bastard offspring. These programmers about atomic mutants, mad scientists and monsters from the night sky took over the quick-and-dirty, bottom-of-the-bill status the noirs once occupied. Rarely, however, did they boast their known and seasoned casts or their distinctive visual style (how could they? They were all set out in the damn desert).

But they also inherited some noir veterans. Donovan's Brain was directed by Felix Feist (The Devil Thumbs A Ride, Tomorrow Is Another Day) and originally written by Curt Siodmak (Berlin Express).

Scientist Lew Ayres works on keeping monkey brains alive outside their bodies. When a powerful millionaire dies in a car crash conveniently nearby, Ayres volunteers to resuscitate the brain and succeeds beyond his hopes. In its electromagnetic bath, the organ pulsates and glows, developing telepathic powers. Soon it's taking over Ayres' personality; he starts living Donovan's life and continuing his dirty work, all the way to Washington.

Ayres' wife (Nancy Davis at her most charmless and plain-jane) grows alarmed, and plans to unplug the brain. Trouble is, it can sense hostility and defend itself....

Feist applies some practised suspense techniques to the story, and with Joseph Biroc's photography the movie doesn't look bad, either. But it's high point is Ayres as he shifts from mild researcher to the insolent, despotic Donovan. He makes the hour and a half something more than just passable.


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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