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The Man Without a Body (1957)

 -  Horror | Sci-Fi  -  1958 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.1/10 from 156 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 7 critic

A wealthy business man discovers he has a brain tumor and seeks medical help. The business man finds a scientist experimenting with transplanting monkey heads on different monkey bodies. ... See full summary »


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Title: The Man Without a Body (1957)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Hutton ...
Dr. Phil R. Merritt
George Coulouris ...
Karl Brussard
Julia Arnall ...
Jean Cramer
Nadja Regin ...
Odette Vernet
Sheldon Lawrence ...
Dr. Lew Waldenhouse
Michael Golden ...
Norman Shelley ...
Dr. Alexander
Stanley Van Beers ...
Madame Tussaud's Guide (as Stanley van Beers)
Tony Quinn ...
Dr. Brandon
Maurice Kaufmann ...
Chauffer (as Maurice Kaufman)
William Sherwood ...
Dr. Charot
Edwin Ellis ...
Donald Marley ...
Stock Broker (as Donald Morley)
Frank Forsyth ...


A wealthy business man discovers he has a brain tumor and seeks medical help. The business man finds a scientist experimenting with transplanting monkey heads on different monkey bodies. The business man decides to steal the head of Nostradamus from the prophet's crypt. Written by Scott Blacksher

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


a diabolical dream come true! Who is his Next Victim?


Horror | Sci-Fi


Unrated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Man Without a Body  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)
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Did You Know?


In an interview, Robert Hutton said that credited co-director Charles Saunders was hired to meet a British government requirement that a certain percentage of British citizens had to be hired on non-British productions filmed in England. Hutton said that although Saunders was always on the set, he had nothing to do with actually directing the picture. See more »

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User Reviews

An Absolute Cult Classic!!!
24 May 2012 | by (Illinoize) – See all my reviews

I defy anyone to find a 1950's film more off the wall and unpredictable than this. Even Nostradamus himself wouldn't be able to do it! Calling this campy trash is taking the easy way out. The film has more original ideas than a dozen big budget Hollywood films from the same period that cost a hundred times as much. If you have never seen "Man Without A Body" before, find it on Youtube, where it is presented in complete and pristine form. Then sit back and get ready to be amazed by the entertaining absurdity of it all.

To cover the basics of the plot, an egomaniacal millionaire in the vein of Charles Foster Kane and Howard Hughes is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor after he has head pains and starts answering phantom phone calls. Veteran actor George Coulouris plays Karl Brussard with lots of vigor. Of course Brussard cannot contemplate his own end, so he hooks up with renegade scientist Dr. Merritt, who has found a method of keeping long dead monkey heads alive and in perfect condition.The crazed Brussard has the idea to imprint his mind and personality upon the head of the greatest man who ever lived...the French prophet Nostradamus! After a grave-robbing expedition, the dessicated head of Nostradamus is brought back to life and asks Dr. Merritt and company: "Have they burned all my books?" Despite the cheesy effects, there is something quite eerie about the ease with which Nostradamus adapts to his new situation, saying "I have always lived in the future". Soon Brussard tries to brainwash Nostradamus into thinking he's Brussard, leading to one of the craziest scenes ever filmed.

Meanwhile, there's a lot more going on. Brussard's sexy nymphomaniac mistress Odette, whom he treats like an annoying pet, has hatched a plot to murder the old man with the help of Merritt's assistant Lou. At the same time, Merritt's female assistant Jean tries to get this frosty egghead to thaw out and return her advances. Finally, in an amazing scene, Nostradamus is transformed into a Frankenstein-like monster with a giant paper mache blob encasing his head. This crazy creature goes on the rampage in search of the now-fugitive Brussard, whose company has been ruined due to false stock market advice given by the prophet.

The ending is very abrupt, yet quite appropriate. It seems Nostradamus had foreseen everything all along, resulting in a satisfactory resolution where everybody gets their due.

Despite the cheapness of the production, "The Man Without A Body" holds you in a spell from the get go, with better direction than you would think. This film is begging to be discovered! I wonder if the real Nostradamus could have ever foreseen his participation in a movie like this?

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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