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Donovan's Brain (1953)

Approved | | Sci-Fi, Horror | 30 September 1953 (USA)
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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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Janice Cory (as Nancy Davis)
...
Herbie Yocum
...
Donovan's Washington Advisor
Lisa Howard ...
Chloe Donovan (as Lisa K. Howard)
...
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
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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 »
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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

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 »

Goofs

The size of the brain in the tank keeps abruptly changing size, within the same scene. 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

Featured in The Man with Two Brains (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The best version of Curt Siodmak's often filmed novel.

This film is one of my favorite 1950's horror/science fiction movies. I first saw this film on T.V. when I was about four and five years old, and it thrilled me then and I still enjoy it today. The story based on Curt Siodmak's novel was previously filmed in 1942 as LADY AND THE MONSTER. While that version has some virtues, the overall result was mediocre. It was filmed again 1962 as THE BRAIN with several character name changes and different plot elements. I last saw that version in 1970's. While I recall it being not bad, I don't remember it being as good as this version.

DONOVAN'S BRAIN is the best version primarily due the good performance of Lew Ayers as the possessed Dr. Cory with good support from Gene Evans. When I first saw this film again after many years I was impressed by Lew Ayers. When the evil brain of Donovan possesses Dr. Cory and he becomes Donovan, I had to remind myself that it was Ayers playing both "minds". This was done entirely by Ayers; the film employs no make-up or lighting tricks (as the 1942 version does) to create the different minds in the same body. Gene Evans lends good support as Cory's alcoholic but sympathetic doctor assistant. Steve Brodie is also good as the blackmailing reporter, but his role is somewhat shoehorned into the plot. He appears merely as someone for Cory as Donovan to knock off, and once he is gone, his blackmail threats are forgotten. However the scene's with Brodie are good. Note that when he confronts Cory/Donovan for a blackmail payment, he is wearing a worn out suit. When he returns for another payment, he shows up in a very expensive looking suit! The film is loaded with subtle touches like that.


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