IMDb > Donovan's Brain (1953)
Donovan's Brain
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Donovan's Brain (1953) More at IMDbPro »

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Donovan's Brain -- Former First Lady Nancy (Davis) Reagan stars with Lew Ayres in this shocking science-fiction tale about a laboratory experiment that unleashes a powerful and out-of-control brain.


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6.0/10   1,013 votes »
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Down 25% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Curt Siodmak (novel)
Hugh Brooke (adaptation)
View company contact information for Donovan's Brain on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
30 September 1953 (USA) See more »
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... See more » | Full synopsis »
User Reviews:
The Evil Brain See more (34 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Lew Ayres ... Dr. Patrick J. Cory
Gene Evans ... Dr. Frank Schratt

Nancy Reagan ... 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
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Don Brodie ... Detective Who Follows Dr. Cory from Hotel (uncredited)
William Cottrell ... Dr. Crane (uncredited)

John Hamilton ... Mr. MacNish, Bank Manager (uncredited)
Sam Harris ... Man leaving Fuller's Office (uncredited)
Paul Hoffman ... Mr. Smith, Treasury Dept. (uncredited)
Stapleton Kent ... W. J. Higgins (uncredited)
Faith Langley ... Fuller's Receptionist (uncredited)
Robert Lowell ... Allied Supply Clerk (uncredited)

Frank McClure ... Man leaving Fuller's Office (uncredited)
Walter Merrill ... Town House Desk Clerk (uncredited)
Charles Sullivan ... Auto Passenger at Accident Scene (uncredited)
Max Wagner ... Station Agent (uncredited)

Directed by
Felix E. Feist  (as Felix Feist)
Writing credits
Curt Siodmak (novel "Donovan's Brain")

Hugh Brooke (adaptation)

Felix E. Feist (screenplay) (as Felix Feist)

Produced by
Allan Dowling .... executive producer
Tom Gries .... producer
Herbert L. Strock .... associate producer
Original Music by
Eddie Dunstedter 
Cinematography by
Joseph F. Biroc  (as Joseph Biroc)
Film Editing by
Herbert L. Strock 
Production Design by
Boris Leven 
Set Decoration by
Edward G. Boyle 
Makeup Department
Ruby Felker .... hair stylist
Terry Miles .... makeup artist
Production Management
Ben Chapman .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jack R. Berne .... assistant director
Sound Department
Bill Naylor .... sound effects editor
Earl Snyder .... sound mixer
Special Effects by
Harry Redmond Jr. .... special effects
Franz Dallons .... props (uncredited)
Oscar Dallons .... props (uncredited)
Paul Dallons .... props (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Chuck Keehne .... wardrobe: men
Music Department
Eddie Dunstedter .... conductor
Other crew
Mary Chaffee .... script supervisor
Allan Dowling .... presenter
Herbert L. Strock .... assistant to producer
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
83 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Did You Know?

The sign on the door of the attorney's office includes a "B. Chapman, CPA." Ben Chapman was the film's production supervisor.See more »
Continuity: 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 »
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 »
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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
The Evil Brain, 6 October 2015
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Dr. Patrick "Pat" J. Cory (Lew Ayres) is researching brains with his assistant and friend Dr. Frank Schratt (Gene Evans) and his wife Janice Cory (Nancy Davis, a.k.a. Nancy Reagan) through experiments with monkeys in a laboratory in his house. When an airplane crashes nearby his house, there is only one near-death survivor, the millionaire Warren H. Donovan that is brought still alive to his care. However Donovan dies and Dr. Cory decides to use his brain in his experiment keeping it alive in a tank. Pat, Schratt and Janice research about the life of Donovan and they discover that he was a ruthless and evil man. Soon Donovan's brain imposes his personality to Dr. Cory and possesses him to get rid of his enemies and to live again in his body. Schratt and Janice sees the transformation of Dr. Cory and plan to destroy the brain. Will they succeed in their intent?

"Donovan's Brain" is an entertaining B-movie with a combination of sci-fi and horror and a story in the style of Frankenstein, with a mad doctor and the result of his experiment. The conclusion is corny and commercial and would be better and better if the brain survives in the end. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "O Cérebro Maligno" ("The Evil Brain")

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