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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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1 nomination. See more awards »
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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 more 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: I think someday you'll be as famous as Madame Eve Curie.
Janice Cory: We'll if I'm as useful to you as she was to her husband, I'll settle for that.
Dr. Patrick J. Cory: You're just as useful and lots prettier.
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
Out of the ashes of noir rises the sci-fi cycle
25 February 2002 | by 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.


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