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Donovan's Brain (1953)

6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 880 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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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 »
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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

Writer Curt Siodmak was also set to direct, but at the last minute he was replaced by Felix E. Feist. 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

Referenced in Car 54, Where Are You?: Change Your Partner (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

May I Borrow Your Brain, Please
1 August 2011 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

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 fashion—sure 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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