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

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Overview

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Director:
Writers:
Curt Siodmak (novel)
Hugh Brooke (adaptation)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Donovan's Brain on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
30 September 1953 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
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:
Not as corny as it sounds See more (33 total) »

Cast

  (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


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Additional Details

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

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:
Continuity: 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 »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Child's Play (1988)See more »

FAQ

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Not as corny as it sounds, 30 April 2010
Author: NavyOrion from United States

Made in an age when the science fiction film genre was dominated by giant insects and monsters from beneath the sea (not that there's anything wrong with those) "Donovan's Brain" stands out as a more understated (and under-appreciated) gem.

A movie about a dead financier's brain being kept alive in a fish tank as it takes over the minds of people around it could easily become silly; in fact it would be hard for such a premise NOT to be silly (which is why Steve Martin loosely adapted the premise for his comedy "The Man with Two Brains.")

But thanks to deliberate pacing and fine performances from its cast, what could have been an exercise in the ridiculous becomes instead a surprisingly effective film. The very reserved script keeps "techno-babble" to a minimum as the story unfolds, and a low budget limits most of the visual and special effects to the very basic, but rather than feeling "cheap," the film's spare quality instead tends to limit distractions from the story.

In 1944's "The Lady and the Monster" (a lesser and earlier adaptation of Curt Siodmak's novel) the brain's takeovers were signaling obviously, using lighting and musical cues. But in "Donovan's Brain" you know the brain has taken control solely due to the controlled and subtle performance of Lew Ayres, who indicates a transformation in Dr. Cory by as little as a change in posture and a hardening of his expression (no such kudos for Steve Brodie as Herbie Yocum, whose inane "zombie walk" stands out in its cheesiness.) Gene Evans also did well in the movie playing Cory's assistant Dr. Frank Schratt, and future first lady Nancy Davis turns in a serviceable, if somewhat wooden, performance as Cory's steadfast wife.

"Donovan's Brain" will not be anyone's favorite movie; coming out in a year which also saw the release of classics like "The War of the Worlds," "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms," "It Came From Outer Space" and "Invasion from Mars," it's not even anyone's favorite sci-fi movie of 1953. But although it's not considered a classic, this small film far overcomes its B-movie title. It's better than it sounds, and well worth a look.

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