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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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>
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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