A brilliant but impoverished writer, who is a pacifist, goes to work for a publisher and writes anti-war editorials. When he discovers that the publisher has betrayed him and is in league ...
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Jonathan Drake, while attending his brother's funeral, is shocked to find the head of the deceased is missing. When his brother's skull shows up later in a locked cabinet, Drake realizes an... See full summary »
Edward L. Cahn
A brilliant but impoverished writer, who is a pacifist, goes to work for a publisher and writes anti-war editorials. When he discovers that the publisher has betrayed him and is in league with munitions manufacturers to make money off of war, he goes insane.Written by
1934's "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head" marked Claude Rains' return to Universal after the huge success of "The Invisible Man," only here he's cast as Paul Verin, meek, mild mannered writer, an impassioned pacifist who accepts a generous offer from his unscrupulous former employer, Henri Dumont (Lionel Atwill), who seeks to gain fame and fortune by putting his own name on Verin's articles (a flashback set just prior to the outbreak of WW1). An unsuccessful 1932 stage play that had also starred Rains (closing after 28 performances), this adaptation shows its talky origins only too well, frequently dragging in spots, while its 1945 remake, "Strange Confession," with Lon Chaney in the lead and J. Carrol Naish in the Atwill role, was effectively streamlined and updated into a far more compact 62 minutes, eliminating the entire anti-war backstory. The fetching Joan Bennett, still a blonde, plays Verin's wife Adele, whose ambitious prodding nearly gets her husband killed, while both Atwill and Wallace Ford fail to conceal their lust for her (we must regard her unfavorably after she fails to chastise Atwill for kissing her). Cast as daughter Linette is the atrocious train wreck called 'Baby Jane,' who must have greatly improved if she continued to work under the name Juanita Quigley (that's what happened to Baby Jane!). Several Universal veterans in smaller roles include Lawrence Grant ("Son of Frankenstein"), Doris Lloyd, Henry Armetta ("The Black Cat"), even Edward Van Sloan. Look fast for breathtaking newcomer Valerie Hobson, unbilled 17 minutes in, standing next to the partying Wallace Ford, who'd rather play with Joan Bennett. Unlike "The Invisible Man" and "Mystery of Edwin Drood," "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head" was never part of Universal's popular SHOCK! television package of the late 50s; yet because of its false marketing as a shocker, it did make a whopping four appearances on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater- Mar 16 1974 (following 1967's "The Bamboo Saucer"), Sept 18 1976 (following 1937's "Night Key"), Aug 13 1977 (following 1943's "The Mummy's Ghost"), and Mar 26 1983 (solo).
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