|Index||10 reviews in total|
While 'Donovan's Brain' wasn't the first movie version of Curt Siodmak's sci fi shocker, it is by far the best known and best remembered of the three adaptations (so far). As a corny but entertaining b-grade movie it is hard to beat, and wonderful fun. 'The Brain', an overlooked German/English remake, doesn't try to outdo it, it instead approaches the source material in a very different way. The sensationalistic thrills and mind control horror of the 1953 movie are replaced by a calmer, more atmospheric style which adds a mystery element not seen in the earlier version. The basic premise is the same (though the names have been changed). This time around the scientist experimenting with keeping monkey's brains alive outside the body is played by Peter van Eyck ('Wages Of Fear'). He is assisted by his beautiful wife (well, I think it's his wife) Ella (Ellen Schwiers, who is positively stunning, and a lot easier on the eye than Nancy Davis!), and his trustworthy alcoholic sidekick (Bernard Lee, 'M' of James Bond fame). Once again a plane crashes nearby and the sole survivor is taken back to their lab. Once again the man cannot be saved but the scientist decides to keep his brain. As in 'Donovan's Brain' the brain survives and begins to exert control over the scientist. But it isn't in the same way, it is much subtler, and instead of domination, the brain wants something else - justice. For in 'The Brain' the millionaire has been murdered, and most of his family and associates are suspects. This interesting twist, plus the superior cast, makes this movie a rarity - a worthwhile remake. However, I wouldn't go so far as to say it surpasses the earlier movie. It is less silly and more intelligent, but not necessarily more entertaining. I enjoy both movies in different ways, and recommend them both.
If the science fiction elements were absent from this film, it would have
been a good film noir movie. A remake of "Donovan's Brain", "Ein Toter
sucht seinen Morder" (American title: The Brain), falls between two stools.
In it, a scientist keeps alive the brain of a dead colleague while keeping
the fact a secret from dead man's relatives who he suspects of murdering
him; he turns detective and investigates.
The brain is kept alive in what looks a formalin-filled tank with wires sticking out of it - amateurish, but in keeping with the low budget science fiction films of that era. The film noir camera work is excellent as are the other film noir elements in this flick. The movie has a fast pace most of the time. Peter van Eych's acting is wooden at best and he looks too old for the part.
Worth watching if you are into old science fiction films of that era.
(Reviewed by Sundar Narayan)
Freddy Francis directs another retelling of Donovan's Brain.
This is the story of a rich SOB industrialist who is killed, however his brain is saved. As scientists try to study the still living organ the personality of the "dead" man begins to exert itself on those around the brain tank.
Good, with expressive black and white photography, this too is a bit unremarkable and slightly dull, which is odd considering Francis' films tend to have a bit more life in them, even when they are poor.Interesting to see Bernard Lee (M from the early Bonds) in a different sort of role. Not bad but not really the gripping drama I wanted at 2am to keep me awake...it put me out.
"The Brain" (1962) is a Britnoir, listed as such by Spencer Selby. It's
the third version of "Donovan's Brain", the other two being "The Lady
and the Monster" (1944) and "Donovan's Brain" (1953). This is a very
good version, with its own special features and merits. I like it and
The basic story in this version is a murder mystery, whose solution is pursued by the man keeping alive the brain of an industrialist who supposedly died in a plane crash but was actually murdered. The scientist is Peter van Eyck. He does excellent work generally and his performance here certainly is first-rate; it's the heart and central attraction of the movie. I would love to see a good many of his German films with subtitles that are now unavailable. A package featuring his rare German work would be terrific. As an actor, van Eyck commands the screen, and he does this by a very natural-looking continual mobility of expression, posture, and body movement, especially eye movement. His voice and enunciation are equally impressive in conveying his changes of thought and emotion.
Supporting van Eyck are some fine British actors. His alcoholic assistant is Bernard Lee, of James Bond and "M" fame. The daughter of the industrialist is Anne Heywood. The company lawyer is Cecil Parker. Miles Malleson is around to lighten the mood and provide a bit of suspense.
The photography is genuinely noir, including the titles. Direction is by the skilled Freddie Francis, who went on to do a number of other such films that involve nightmarish qualities. In this one, van Eyck is at times being taken over and controlled telepathically by the brain that he and Lee are keeping alive. Several effective devices are used throughout to show the brain's power, including writing with the left hand, a rapping of the thumb and a light bulb.
Toward the end of the movie, the script deepens into an interesting moral conflict that involves means and ends. This is handled skillfully.
An adaptation of film noir legend Curt Siodmak's novel, Donovan's Brain, The Brain offers up a murder mystery narrative to go with the mad science angle. It's not particularly thrilling but it does tick along nicely and director Freddie Francis has a keen eye for scene staging. Cast features Peter Van Eyck, Anne Heywood, Cecil Parker and Bernard Lee, and they all do what is required to make the material work. Stand out moments involve some delightfully monstrous paintings, a lie detector scene and all the sequences where Van Eyck is possessed by the brain of the powerful industrialist who was murdered by person or persons unknown. Good and safe "B" schlocky fare for the so inclined. 6/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILERS**** It took a lot of brain power for billionaire
industrialist Max Holt to survive after in air explosion of his private
plane that only it-his brain-survived. With Dr. Peter Corrie, Peter Von
Eyck, assigned to do an autopsy on the what looked like dead Max Holt
he noticed that his brain was still active and against regulations, as
a man of medicine, keeps it alive on ice for farther study or until he
can find a body to attach it to.
This leads Dr. Corrie to notice that the brain-Max Holt's-is starting to somehow communicate to him the reason he was murdered not died in a plane accident as well as the motives of those who murdered him. It turned out that Max Holt who was a low life scum*g all his life was about to turn over a new leaf in death by informing the world of a new drug that that he had the right to and kept under wraps, while he was alive, that can cure cancer and the man who invented it. It seems that in death Holt saw the evil in his ways and now wants to rectify it by saving millions of people to make up for it. Max or Mr. Holt is also using Dr. Corrie to identify and bring to justice the person who planted a bomb on his plane that killed him and the entire crew as well!
***SPOILERS***The third version of this brain of a movie after "The Lady and the Monster" in 1944 and the far more popular "Donovan's Brain" in 1953 the "Brain" has a lot of gray matter to it in that its made to be far more likable then the previous two. Here it tries to save humanity instead of destroying it that in the end keeps it from being dislike by those watching and turning it's enemies, who tried to both kill and exploit it into the villains of the movie who in the end get everything that's coming to them.
A stodgy retelling of the classic sci-fi novel, DONOVAN'S BRAIN.
Disembodied brains were all the rage when this film was made, with the
likes of THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE and various Hammer Frankenstein
movies playing with the possibility of life after death. However, this
being a UK/West Germany co-production, the narrative actually has far
more in common with the German krimi genre than a typical sci-fi movie.
The narrative sees a millionaire being blown up in a plane crash, and it soon transpires that there was a bomb on board. Novelty value comes from the millionaire's brain being used to hunt down the culprits responsible, and he does so by possessing the body of the man (Peter van Eyck) keeping him alive.
The sci-fi elements are kept to a minimum here, with the emphasis instead on the murder mystery genre. As with many krimi films, stark black and white photography is the order of the day, with the cast populated by criminals, detectives and femme fatales. Director Freddie Francis contributes atmosphere to the narrative but this is one of his lesser pieces.
The story just doesn't have much in the way of oomph or excitement to it, even though there are a handful of decent moments. There are a couple of familiar faces in the cast, including Miles Malleson and Bernard Lee, but no performances here to get excited about. Definitely a potboiler, this one, and not a decent one either.
With a stellar cast of British character actors I was looking forward to seeing this film.Alas I was very disappointed.There are certain similarities to The Scorcerers but they are all invidious.The problem with this film was that it didn't seem to know what it really wanted to be.A thriller or sci fi or mad doctor,and as a result it fell between all of them and quite frankly was both boring and silly.In any event the idea of being able to reclaim the living brain of someone who has died in an aircraft explosion is a bit fantastic.Good to see the likes of Cecil Parker,Miles Malleson and Bernard Lee but otherwise not much else to keep your attention.
When I saw this movie it was, as you can assume from the language I'm
this in, in English. Specifically, it was titled "The Brain." I
thought that it was a good movie. However, I'm a fan of old science
movies in general. Many viewers who can't live without stunning visual
effects and 3D surround-sound are doomed to disappointment with this one,
and the fact that it was dubbed from German obviously detracts from the
value of the movie somewhat, but in all it was a decent movie. The plot
somewhat more difficult to follow than that of other movies, but if you can
follow (for instance) Buckaroo Bonzai, then it shouldn't be a
Still, I don't think I would mind seeing this movie turned into an episode of MST3K. It's just the type of thing that they would do.
Not having seen any of the previous versions of this story, the film this one reminded me more of is Lucio Fulci's (!!) 1990 shocker "Voices from Beyond". The plotlines are different but still share some similarities, as they both involve revenge from beyond the grave, rich families with hidden secrets, a murder investigation carried out on behalf of the murdered man himself, etc. Unfortunately, "The Brain" takes an interesting sci-fi concept and turns it into a forgettable murder mystery; you won't exactly be on the edge of your seat trying to figure out "who-did-it". What's more, the chintzy production makes the movie look as if it were made in the 40s. (**)
|Plot summary||Ratings||External reviews|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|