The Man Who Lived Again
Dr. Laurience, a brilliant but unstable scientist experimenting with transferring minds, becomes vengeful when his magnate patron withdraws his support.Dr. Laurience, a brilliant but unstable scientist experimenting with transferring minds, becomes vengeful when his magnate patron withdraws his support.Dr. Laurience, a brilliant but unstable scientist experimenting with transferring minds, becomes vengeful when his magnate patron withdraws his support.
Production-wise, it's a modest effort mostly confined to studio interiors but one which, in its brief running-time, exhibits both style and substance in a gripping (if familiar) plot line that manages to encompass drama, comedy, romance, chills and suspense! Incidentally, the transference of souls from one body to another was also the theme of THE BROTHERHOOD OF Satan (1971) which I just happened to watch the previous day where it's given an occult slant, as opposed to the sci-fi approach of the Karloff film!!
In fact, the star's 'mad scientist' character here (named Laurience but pronounced Lorenz!) was the second in a string of similar roles he played from 1936-1942; I've only watched the first two and the last one but I have two more coming up tomorrow and the day after, while the rest will be released as part of Columbia's Karloff set next month! Anyway, he's excellent as always driven, menacing or poignant as the situation demands but he's ably supported by a wonderful British cast: Anna Lee (the director's own wife and with whom Karloff would reteam, memorably, in Hollywood in the Val Lewton-produced BEDLAM ), John Loder, Frank Cellier, Cecil Parker and especially Donald Calthrop; the latter almost manages to steal the show with his crippled and cynical doctor's assistant, whose brain is then put into Cellier's body: the scenes where he tries to act up his new persona provide some delightful and unexpected moments of black comedy!
As usual, Karloff's love for the leading lady is unrequited (though she sure admires his genius!) and he concocts an elaborate plan to win her affections which, needless to say, is thwarted in the final reel. In fact, the film's climax (in which Karloff and Loder, having switched brains, attempt an impersonation of one another and then the process has to be reversed in order to save the hero's life, Karloff having thrown himself in Loder's body from a window to escape police capture!) is somewhat far-fetched but nonetheless exciting. The DVD transfer is acceptable for such a rare item, with the only negative note being some persistent hiss on the soundtrack.
- Sep 9, 2006