The Man with Nine Lives (1940) Poster

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Obscure Science Fiction
dzondzon29 July 1999
A doctor researching "frozen therapy" seeks out Boris Karloff, the therapy's originator. Boris has been missing from his island laboratory for ten years. After ignoring requests to stay off the island by locals, the doctor and his beautiful nurse discover Boris frozen in secret caves beneath the lab. Boris has been frozen along with a host of villagers. Through flashback it is learned these others came to arrest Boris for murder ten years earlier and they all wound up being gassed and frozen. This is the proof Karloff needs to vindicate his research. He sets out to duplicate his accidental results, his methods become increasingly Machiavellian. Ultimately he is his own undoing. This movie is hard to catagorize. The film makers tried to add shock to an interesting scifi story. The film succeeds in spite of the efforts to punch it up. The acting is uneven but overall this is a top notch "B" effort. The science is very plausible, a rarity in old laboratory films. See it and be pleasantly surprised
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A welcome new twist on the whole mad scientist genre
MartinHafer29 November 2006
It's not exactly a major shock that Boris Karloff plays a mad scientist in this film, though it is very unusual the way he plays this role. Instead of the evil twisted genius set on making monsters or ruling the world, Karloff's goals are incredibly noble. And, when he later kills, you really understand with and could possibly condone why he did this. The moral implications of the film are astounding! As for the rest of the film, the writing for this sort of B-movie is very good, the acting fine and production values work out well (proving you don't need a huge budget to make a good film). About the only negatives at all are the ending (I would have just ended the film a minute or two earlier without the unnecessary final scene) and a mistake in the film about how deep the lab was under the earth. In the beginning, they count 191 steps to the bottom of the shaft to the lab, but later, it's just a homemade ladder about 12 feet long. Regardless, it didn't harm the film in any serious way and the film is a very good 'mad scientist' flick that actually is good entertainment and well thought-out.
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My Favorite of the Columbia Mad Doctor Series
wdbasinger4 October 2004
As a science fiction and shudder story buff, I thought this was the best of Karloff's Columbia "B" pictures. The "Black Room" (1935), "Behind the Mask" (1932), "The Devil Commands" (1941) (Probably my second favorite), "The Man They Could Not Hang" (1939) (Probably a close third favorite), and "Before I Hang" (1940). In terms of special effects and plot outline, this one keeps you on the edge of your seat to the very end.

The laboratory scenes in the proximity of a large underground glacier are unique. The chemistry lab including the "heavily concentrated poisons" is hair-raising indeed. With the right combination of lighting and shadow, as Karloff prepares the chemical experiments, the scenes within the underground laboratory are extremely eerie.

The maddest doctor of them all was clearly Boris Karloff.

Worth watching many times.
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A Hard-to-Find Gem That's Worth Seeking Out
CarPort128 March 2005
This little known gem from 1940 is impressive for a few reasons: first, it stands head and shoulders above most of the B movies of the era, largely due to a good script and a great performance from Boris Karloff. Also, while made in the midst of the Universal horror period, it demonstrates some of the best elements of that genre, however it also pre-figures the oncoming decade of sci-fi flicks of the 50s, but with a more intelligent, and mysterious, plot than most of the B sci-fi films that followed. It also incorporates some noir elements such as shadowy images, gun play, etc. The Man with Nine Lives is also known under the alternative title Behind the Door (which is actually more accurate).
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THE MAN WITH NINE LIVES (Nick Grinde', 1940) **1/2
MARIO GAUCI9 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Perhaps the most notable of Karloff's 'mad doctor' films made at Columbia: it's enjoyable along the way, with some good dialogue, but the low-budget hurts the overall effort (though the ice-chamber set is impressive and suitably atmospheric) – and, in the end, it can't hold a candle to his Universal films!

The plot is intriguing (though it necessitates that Karloff make a rather belated entrance) and the star is in top form in a role which, while confining him to one set, basically allows him to run the whole gamut of emotions (except maybe love, since he's made-up to look as an elderly man) – from commitment to his cause to disappointment at other people's intolerance (especially a fellow doctor, who should know better!), from bitterness at being held from completing his experiments (first, by having his laboratory 'invaded' by authority figures out to arrest him and, then, by having his secret formula – a cure for cancer! – destroyed by a young man for purely selfish reasons: the boy's inheritance having slipped through his fingers because he has unaccountably gone 'missing' for 10 years, he's determined that Karloff won't have his day of glory either!!).

That said, the film's major fault – apart from a lackluster supporting cast – still lies within the plot itself, which I find to be chronically silly: when the hero and heroine want to go to Karloff's old place across the water, they're told off by a frightened boatman from the mainland (this ominous device works well in a Gothic setting but it's just stupid in a modern one – though, to be fair to this film, it's also utilized in THE MAN WHO CHANGED HIS MIND [1936]); the figures of authority are so one-dimensional (they're not prepared to listen to Karloff even after having themselves being miraculously revived – talk of gratitude!) as to be really grating and I can't tell you how amused I was when, having it dawned on Karloff that none of them will be missed after all this time, he was free to use them as guinea pigs in his attempt to discover again, through trial and error(!), just what the ingredients of his formula were!! This latter element, however, is perhaps the film's most blatant 'boo-boo': when Karloff is revived, he tells our heroes what happened 10 years earlier and says that he remembered it all like it was yesterday – in fact, in a flashback, we see him take note of the very ingredients which comprise the secret formula, down to the exact dose he needs from each of them for it to work – but then, conveniently for plot purposes, he forgets when the others are revived as well and the paper ends up being thrown into the fire…so, he has to start all over again!! Likewise, during the finale, after having seen a number of times already that it takes several hours for someone to be revived from freezing, the heroine regains consciousness in a matter of seconds – just enough to allow the dying Karloff (having been shot by a brand new 'posse' arriving on the scene) to taste the success of his lifelong labor!!

With respect to the DVD transfer, since this was my first viewing of the film, I couldn't compare it to previous editions but, for the most part, I was pleased with the work Columbia has done on this low-budget item (except for the brief drop in quality during the final reel that was mentioned in reviews when the disc first came out). However, I have to report a glitch: at around the 8:15 mark (when the head doctor sends off Dr. Mason on forced vacation leave), the picture froze for an instant and then continued; after I finished watching the film, I took out the disc and noticed a tiny speck of dust on its reading surface – which I'm sure wasn't there when I inserted it! Anyway, after I wiped it off, I tried it out again and this time the disc not only froze permanently at the same point but a hideous noise emanated from the DVD player – my heart almost stopped!! Still, I persisted and made yet another attempt and, now, the picture froze momentarily but resumed soon it had done the first time around! That ghastly sound-thing only happened to me once before with Image's double-feature disc of Mario Bava's LISA AND THE DEVIL (1972)/THE HOUSE OF EXORCISM (1975)...albeit only upon my second viewing of that DVD! (This never used to happen with VHS, that's for sure! God, I hate technology…)
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Well, Two Anyway!
AaronCapenBanner30 October 2013
Nick Grinde once again directs Boris Karloff, this time as Dr. Kravaal, a pioneer in cryogenic research who was interrupted in his cancer research when a relative of the wealthy man he was operating on brings in the authorities, who force Kravaal to take them to his island home to prove his work viable. Unfortunately, their interference leads to the patient's death, and all five men end up frozen for 10 years, until Dr. Mason(played by Roger Pryor) and Nurse Blair(played by Joanne Sayers) visit his home and revive him, but Kravaal picks up right where he left off, endangering all their lives... Good thriller with another fine performance from Karloff; good sets and atmosphere aid imaginative plot.
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A Vastly Underrated Karloff Gem!
zardoz-139 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"Scandal Sheet" director Nick Grinde's "The Man with Nine Lives" qualifies as a good Boris Karloff mad scientist movie about the application of cryogenics as a cure for cancer. No, this is neither a scary movie nor is Boris buried beneath layers of make-up, though he does affect spectacles and a beard. Grinde and scenarists Karl Brown—who wrote "The Man They Could Not Hang" and "Counterfeit Lady" Harold Shumate explore the thin line between scientific genius and criminal insanity in this provocative thriller. The depth of sophistication in the writing and Karloff's extraordinary performance—he waxes from a kind gentle soul to a demented madman—sets "The Man with Nine Lives" apart from most horror movies. Later, in 1940, Karloff played a similar role as a scientist with greater sympathy in director William Nigh's "The Ape" where he resorts to horrible means to perfect a serum so that a wheel-chair bound beauty can stand up and walk again. Moreover, "The Man with Nine Lives" deals with something much more believable, the use of cryogenics to eliminate human ailments. Indeed, this low-budget opus considers the difference between scientific success and its real-life application. Just because an individual is right doesn't mean that they are morally justified to perform their deeds. For example, the protagonist, Dr. Tim Mason (Roger Pryor of "Belle of the Nineties"), impresses to the press how the use of cryogenics can help mankind before his procedure has been checked by others and the head of the hospital reprimands him for behaving in a presumptuous manner and advises him to take a sabbatical until his experiments can be checked.

Mason and his fiancée Nurse Judith Blair (Jo Anne Sayers of "Young Dr. Kildare") use the leave of absence to track down the scientist, Dr. Leon Kravaal (Boris Karloff) whose research inspired Mason. Kravaal has been missing since 1930 and Mason resolves to find him. Kravaal lived on an island and a man who rents out boats warns them that several gentlemen visited Kravaal, but they never returned. Mason and Judith land on the island and find a destitute, empty house. The house, however, conceals many hiding places and they discover a dilapidated laboratory and Judith shrieks when they stumble upon a skeleton. Later, our heroes uncover a locked down and open it to find it filled with ice and the body of Dr. Kravaal. They revive him and Mason explains his interest in cryogenics.

Dr. Kravaal explains how he came to be frozen. The circumstances involved a dying wealthy man who sought treatment for his ailment, but the man's hysterical son believes that Kravaal is taking advantage of a terminal case to make money and the authorities force Kravaal to take him to his island so that they can see what he has done. A medical authority who accompanies them has nothing but contempt for Kravaal's treatment of freezing a man to cure him. Kravaal gets the drop on them and smashes a chemical potion that knocks them out. Their interference brings about the death of the dying rich man and Kravaal stashes them in one of his frozen chambers. Unfortunately, the same chemicals that he resorted to so that he could take them hostage works on him and he collapses and is frozen until Mason and Judith thaw him out. They thaw out the incredulous authorities and the adventure really begins! This is a really thoughtful science fiction movie.
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Just Ask Ted Williams!
ferbs5424 October 2007
I have a feeling that many of us have entertained the whimsical notion, as we dragged ourselves to work in the morning, that it might be nice to have hot coffee fed intravenously into our systems. Well, in the misleadingly titled Boris Karloff vehicle "The Man With Nine Lives" (1940), we get to see that such a procedure might be as pleasant as imagined. In this picture, experimental patients of one Dr. Mason, who's looking to cure cancer victims via cryogenics, are brought out of deep freeze in just that manner! Dr. Mason and his nurse fiancée soon discover the body of cryogenics pioneer Dr. Leon Kravaal, 100 feet underground in a Canadian ice cave, where he'd been laying frozen--a corpsicle--for a full decade. Dr. Kravaal (played by Karloff, of course, in still another of his overly ardent scientist roles) is remarkably brought back to life, and begins his scientific pursuits anew. Anyway, this film is a fairly restrained affair, impeccably acted by its small cast, economically written, nicely photographed, and captured here on a pristine-looking DVD. The goateed Kravaal, likable at first, grows increasingly deranged as the film progresses, but still manages to hold the audience's sympathies; a brilliant scientist using unethical methods to achieve great ends. Despite the far-fetched central conceit of the possibility of freezing a man indefinitely and bringing him back to life, the movie is fairly believable; a testament to its intelligent script and fine players. But wait...did I say "far-fetched"? I have a feeling that Walt Disney, Ted Williams and thousands of frozen sperm cells the world over might disagree with that sentiment!
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"You've seen a modern miracle!"
classicsoncall21 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
From the vantage point of today (6/21/2014) as I write this, it seems incredible that a film made in 1940 treated the subject of cryogenics as if it were as common as, well, the common cold. The opening scroll mentioned that medical science agreed that disease can be arrested and life can be prolonged by freezing human beings. I'm aware that the concept is still being researched with significant results, as in lowering body temperature to treat victims of drowning, but you'd think a whole lot more progress might have been made by now.

Well I'm surprised it took me so long to run across this little Karloff gem. It turned up this morning of all places on Antenna TV, generally better known for it's airing of old TV programs from the Sixties. Actually it was in the Sixties when my dad gave me the run down on actors like Karloff, Chaney and Lugosi and I've been a fan ever since. The film includes elements of horror and sci-fi with a little bit of murder mystery to boot, featuring Karloff once again as a mad, but seemingly normal scientist working for the betterment of humanity. It's only when his work is threatened that he resorts to killing an antagonist. Actually, the scene where he shoots Bob Adams (Stanley Brown), in the back no less for destroying his formula, seemed to me to be a bit over the top. Granted, I'd be PO'd too, but gee, I don't think I'd kill anybody over it.

Probably the best part of this flick was the set design of Dr. Leon Kravaal's (Karloff) impressive lab, one of the better ones this side of Frankenstein. And not just one, he had multiple labs in different parts of his house. Which made me wonder, how long would it have taken the good doctor to set up his working lab through a secret tunnel and another hundred feet under ground? That's some kind of dedication.

There were other things I had to think about as well as the story got under way. Why would Dr. Mason (Roger Pryor) and his nurse/fiancée Judy Blair (Jo Ann Sayers) embark on their mission to find Dr. Kravaal's missing research wearing business suits. That seemed just a little too formal for me, particularly when they started crawling around through Kravaal's tunnels and labs. Not that this was unusual for films of the era, but I don't understand what would motivate anyone to be attired that way.

But you know what really blew me away? When the doc and his assistant rented the boat from old Pete Daggett (Ernie Adams), do you know what the fee was - twenty five cents per hour plus a dollar deposit!!! Holy smokes, and I thought the whole concept of freezing human bodies was scary!
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You call everything murder, don't you?
utgard1419 January 2014
A doctor (Roger Pryor) studying cryogenics visits the deserted home of Dr. Leon Kravaal (Boris Karloff), a pioneer in the field who went missing ten years before. Uncovering a secret passage in the basement, he and his nurse girlfriend (Jo Ann Sayers) find Kravaal and four other men frozen in ice. They successfully revive Kravaal, who then revives the others. It turns out Kravaal had frozen himself and the others years before when they tried to arrest him. So now the somewhat mad doctor holds them all hostage while he tries to recover his original formula.

Very interesting and entertaining Karloff mad scientist movie. The subject of cryogenics (never called that here, just frozen therapy) is ahead of its time. The rest of the cast is fine but obviously it's Karloff's show the whole way. Intriguing premise with fun execution. A solid "B" movie that's highly enjoyable.
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The Man with Nine Lives (1940) **1/2
JoeKarlosi1 June 2010
Boris Karloff plays Dr. Kravaal, a pioneer in human cryogenics who, at one time past, was conducting unethical experiments before he mysteriously vanished along with a small group of law officials who were apprehending him for his crimes at that time. We then fast forward ahead ten years to the 'present' day of 1940 where young Dr. Mason (Roger Pryor) and his fiancée/assistant, Judy (Jo Ann Sayers) are making great strides in the treatment of cancer patients through means of 'Frozen Therapy,' a process originally spearheaded by the missing Kravaal himself. Curious to know exactly what happened to the old doctor, Mason and Judy embark on a search to Kravaal's long abandoned residence. Descending many steps downward below the surface of his home, they discover the scientist mysteriously preserved alive inside his own ice chamber, along with the men who tried to arrest him. Once all the main players are revived, Kravaal remains as wrapped up in his experiments as ever, and is now determined to continue them at any price -- even if it means using the people around him as unwilling human guinea pigs. This was another in a series of similar mad doctor movies which Karloff made for Columbia Pictures in the 1940s. As far as this series go, this one is an interesting offering. **1/2 out of ****
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When set design is the best part of the movie, you know you're in trouble
bensonmum29 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Dr. Leon Kraval (Boris Karloff) has developed a radical means of treating cancer using a freezing therapy. But before he can prove the success of his procedure he is accused of murder. An accident in his lab locks him, his accuser, the judge, the coroner, and the sheriff in his hidden freezing chamber. All are declared missing and presumed dead. Ten years later another doctor is onto the same research and decides to visit the now derelict home of Dr. Kraval in search of his secrets. What he doesn't expect to find is Dr. Kraval, frozen but alive, and ready to continue his experiments on his human guinea pigs.

Anytime a new Boris Karloff movie that I haven't seen is set to release on DVD, there's reason for me to rejoice. It's rare that the man and his work have ever let me down. To say that I was under whelmed by The Man with Nine Lives would be an understatement. There's just not much here to get excited about. I wasn't expecting the second coming of Karloff's Frankenstein monster, but I had hoped for a lively, engrossing story. To put it kindly, much of the the movie is dull. A portion of the enjoyment I was able to derive from the movie came from my almost fanboy like appreciation of Karloff and his work. The man simply amazes me every time I see him on screen. Which makes it amazing to me that my favorite part of the movie was the exploration of the Kraval's house that actually takes place before Karloff makes his appearance.

It wouldn't be fair to discuss The Man with Nine Lives without mentioning the set design. It's the real highlight of the movie. I've already mentioned the house. In old, dark house fashion, it's riddled with secret passages and mysterious locked doors. But the best part of the set design had to be the freezing rooms that were supposedly carved out of a glacier. To my untrained eye, I found them very believable and authentic looking. Very nice.
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whpratt118 March 2003
Boris Karloff's makeup isn't frightening, but his eyes and facial expressions keep you on edge. Boris Karloff is working on a cure for cancer by FREEZING, Dr Kravaal (Boris Karloff) places his dying patient in an underground ice chamber carved out from a surrounding glacier. One of his patients die and Boris is in fear of being arrested. Karloff uses a powerful drug which puts Boris and his captors in an unconscious rest. Ten years after the disappearance of Dr. Kravaal, they discover the ice chamber containing the frozen bodies. The story progreses with Karloff going out of control experimenting with his prisoners, using them as his guinea pigs until he obtains the complete formula. All you can say about this picture is that Boris was trying to cure cancer the best way that he could in 1940.
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Michael_Elliott12 March 2008
Man With Nine Lives, The (1940)

*** (out of 4)

Boris Karloff plays a scientist trying to cure cancer by using frozen animation. Here's a somewhat forgotten gem that works well due in large part to an interesting story, good supporting performances and Karloff at the top of his game. While this is more science fiction than anything else the actual medical work going on remains interesting in the film, which certainly isn't true for other films like this. Karloff is very strong in his role turning in perhaps his strongest performance from any of his Columbia films. A real gem that doesn't run to long and keeps you entertained the whole way.
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The Man With Nine Lives
Scarecrow-8830 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The Columbia Karloff Pictures would recycle generally the same idea, incorporating touches here or there to remove identical ties to each other. Thematically, Karloff portrays a dedicated scientist whose goal is to benefit mankind through some type of medical experiment to prolong life. His work is treated with skepticism, unbelief, and scorn by local authorities and medical doctors who would find his experiments too fantastic to accept despite all his efforts to persuade him otherwise. The use of human guinea pigs(..voluntary, as often was the case)would not be received well by those who were critical of his work, or found his experiments too far-fetched or, as often was the case, morally objectionable. But, as in many of these film's story arcs, Karloff's scientists would proclaim that in order to achieve breakthroughs in science, sacrifice had to be made, most of the time those volunteers perhaps would've survived while under his care if those who oppose this new, "dangerous" science hadn't of interfered. The opposition would balk that the threat of human life was too great and so this dilemma always seems to disrupt Karloff, plague his desires to bring good to the world, not evil.

The Man With Nine Lives establishes the experiment as "frozen therapy", cryogenic science as a method for benefiting mankind, with Karloff's Dr. Leon Kravaal, found in a chamber frozen in ice in his abandoned secret laboratory by Dr. Tim Mason(Roger Pryor) and his nurse/fiancé Judith(Jo Ann Sayers)as they were hoping to uncover notes of his research since he's known as the father of this type of growing medical practice many consider the future for helping the sick and dying. When it's discovered that there are four others in another room of the chamber where he was found, their lives are thrown into a crisis..those who threatened to imprison Kravaal for his frozen therapy, endangering a patient he had under cryogenic sleep, are awakened and despite the obvious success before them threaten to ruin all the potential benefits which could reach the world. See, when threatening to arrest him, Kravaal concocted a solution which could poison them if the liquid were to erupt into gaseous form, when breathed could cause harm. Instead, this solution, as written down while preparing it, stabilized those who ingested it, and so, for ten years, those in the ice chamber rooms remained in a cryogenic state, but kept alive. Unfortunately, Kravaal's nemesis is a greedy nephew who wants the inheritance of his patient in cryogenic sleep, and this maggot rips up and burns the exact written details of the solution which would in fact help prolong human life. This causes Kravaal to shoot him in the back, with others a witness to the murder..seeing as they pose a threat to his developing another solution, in the name of science, he will do whatever it takes to achieve again what has been lost thanks to the vile stupidity of another.

In these kinds of movies, it never ends well for Karloff's scientists. He often achieves extraordinary results, paying the ultimate price, a sacrifice is often made so that others may benefit. In most of these films, Karloff would succumb to his human frailties such as revenge against those who opposed him or caused damage to the potentiality of success in his work. Unlike the mad science of Frankenstein, these Karloff Columbia Pictures grounded their stories in a modern setting, despite how outrageous the experiments might seem, often they still offer a realism, debating how far one should go to increase life expectancy. Those that find his work crazy, most of these films show that Karloff, at first anyway, was completely sane and determined to help his fellow man if allowed to continue his work unabated, and this was so often not the case.

In most of these movies( Before I Hang or The Man They Could Not Hang)Karloff is provided a loving daughter who can reason with him in his moments of emotional blackness and despair, even as he threatens the lives of others who have railroaded his mission to bring medical breakthroughs to humankind. The Man With Nine Lives almost entirely takes place within the cramped confines of Kravaal's laboratory, holding prisoner those who were to arrest him, using them as guinea pigs for his experiments concerning the development of a new solution, needing to test his theories, raising the ire of his contemporaries, Tim and Judith, who can see the lengths he's willing to go to achieve success. Again, the story will seem familiar if you have watched other movies Karloff made for Columbia Pictures..if you like them, I think you might like this one as well.
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The Cold Hard Truth
sol121818 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
**SPOILERS** Boris Karloff playing a somewhat sympathetic mad doctor, Dr. Leon Kravaal, in this movie still has to pay the ultimate price for his transgressions. Even though in the end his experiments will save the lives of countless terminally ill patients from such horrible and incurable diseases like cancer and muscular scoliosis just to name a few.

Having discovered a cure for almost, if not all, every terminal diseases by freezing the person afflicted and then having the cold destroy the infected cells was something that medical science, as well as his colleagues, refused to recognize. They all made Dr. Karvaal into nothing but a fool and charlatan who was just out for the money and publicity. Having disappeared from sight some ten years ago with only his writings, in a little black book, being found at his home on a place called Crater Island. This has Dr. Tim Mason, Roger Pryor, so impressed by what he sees in Dr. Kravaal's book that he continues his experiments with astounding success. But still Dr. Mason needs to have the missing doctor to help him in getting his frozen patients to be successfully defrosted. That in order to make his, and Dr. Kravaal's experiments, a complete success that would be recognized and accepted by the entire medical community.

Traveling out to Crater Island with his nurse and fiancée Judy Blair, Jo Ann Sayers, Dr. Mason finds inside the old Kravaal home in a freezer Dr. Kravaal himself frozen stiff after being locked in the freezer for some ten years. Amazingly as Dr. Kravell defrosts he comes back to life! After getting his bearing to being dead, or frozen, for ten years Dr. Kravaal recounts what exactly happened to him. Even more fantastic what happened to the four persons Dr. Bassett, Byron Fougler, Bob Adams, Stanly Brown, D.A John Hawthorne, John Dilson, & Sheriff Stanton, Wally Wales, who were frozen stiff along with him! The four are in the next room, an adjacent, freezer, still alive like himself and waiting to be thawed out.

As usual geniuses like Dr. Kravaal are always misunderstood and treated like insane madmen in movies like this. That causes the good doctor to go wacko and end up killing those, Dr. Bassett Roger Adams D.A Hawthorne & Sheriff Stanton, whom his experiments actually not only saved but proved his point. In freezing the death out of people who are on the brink of death which they all were some ten years ago. Young Roger Adams was the most greedy and ridicules of all those whom Dr. Kravaal offed or did in. Roger grabs his formula, that he wrote on a piece of paper, that would keep people alive while frozen and threw it into the fireplace! It then where an enraged Dr. Kravall shot and killed him. Why did Roger do such an insane thing? Because he was now officially dead after being missing for over seven years and not entitle to his uncle Joseph, who's corpse in in the film was played by Lee Willard, millions that he left for him. The ironic part about all this is that Joseph was a patient of Dr. Kravaal who died because of people like Roger who wouldn't let him treat Joseph because they said that he, Dr. Kravall was nuts.

It's sad to see that Dr. Kravaal getting shot to death by either the state troopers or Canadian Mounties, it's hard to tell which, at the end of the movie. But he never the less did save Judy, whom Dr. Kravall put into suspended animation, from certain death by freezing her and then bringing her back to life just before him himself expired by having re-discovered the secret formula just before the movie ended when he was killed. In the end Dr. Kravaal in discovering a cure for tens of thousands of person who without it would face certain and agonizing death had been more vindicate for whatever bad that he did in the movie.
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The Man With Nine Stars
Rainey Dawn12 October 2015
"Just because a man has an M.D. after his name... can he do as he pleases with human lives?" That quote from the film is exactly what you will ponder while viewing it.

Boris plays Dr. Leon Kravaal a doctor who has created "frozen therapy"... basically a slightly primitive version of what we call cryogenics today. Dr. Kravaal is awakened after being frozen for 10 years to find that he is accused of murder while conducting his experiment for a cancer cure. Did he murder someone? Did he find a cure for cancer? Is Dr. Kravall mad? You will simply have to watch the film to find out... I will not give it away.

This is a wonderful sci-fi film that I am calling "The Man With Nine Stars"... really the film is that good!! 9/10
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The second best Karloff film from "Columbia."
"The Man with Nine Lives" is my second favourite Boris Karloff movie from "Columbia" after "The Devil Commands."

The man himself doesn't make his first appearance until about 25 minutes into the film but it hardly matters as he makes up for it.

The film strives for a more claustrophobic look and succeeds brilliantly.

The number of characters aren't many but that's the idea of it.

Karloff always had the knack of emoting both sympathy as well as menace.

The rather modest budget is obvious in places but this film is still worth the viewing.
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The wonders of the deep deep freeze
bkoganbing30 April 2017
Before cryogenics was a term that lay people even used Boris Karloff was using it to kill and cure cancer. In fact another medical researcher Roger Pryor is using a technique which Karloff published before he mysteriously disappeared up in the northern woods.

After having the scientific community rap him on the knuckles Pryor and nurse Jo Ann Sayers are up to the place where Karloff was last heard from. It seems as though Karloff had a place on and island in the middle of a lake where he did his experiments. He and a few others including the sheriff, the coroner, and a young heir went on a boat out to said island and were never heard from again ten years earlier.

What was interesting about The Man With Nine Lives is that Karloff's experiment did have some validity which Pryor's work kind of bears his theory out. That's movie science not necessarily the real thing. Still when Pryor and Sayers go out and find Karloff and the others Karloff has really gone haywire on the subject. As for the others their actions really cause what happens in the climax.

This one will satisfy Boris Karloff fans and others as well.
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opieandy-17 February 2017
I like Karloff, so I'm predisposed to like his flicks. This was fun, suspenseful, engaging. Liked the story and characters. At just 74 minutes, well worth the time.

About my reviews: I do not offer a synopsis of the film -- you can get that anywhere and that does not constitute a meaningful review -- but rather my thoughts and feelings on the film that hopefully will be informative to you in deciding whether to invest 90-180 minutes of your life on it.

My scale: 1-5 decreasing degrees of "terrible", with 5 being "mediocre" 6- OK. Generally held my interest OR had reasonable cast and/or cinematography, might watch it again 7 - Good. My default rating for a movie I liked enough to watch again, but didn't rise to the upper echelons 8- Very Good. Would watch again and recommend to others 9- Outstanding. Would watch over and over; top 10% of my ratings 10 - A Classic. (Less than 2% receive this rating)
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Boris at his best: chilling...
poe-4883322 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
THE MAN WITH NINE LIVES offers more food for thought than most "Budget pictures," the filmmakers giving their audience(s) more Bang for their Buck. Karloff is at his best, here, convincingly DRIVEN. His argument(s) may or may not hold water, depending on how averse you are to using living Human beings as guinea pigs (better Human Beings than guinea pigs, I'D argue). Just as impressive as the writing and Karloff himself is the Cinematography: the darkened dungeon in which most of the movie takes place is so beautifully shot that I'd suggest that anyone interested in cinematography get their hands on this one and study it.
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Welcome to the Old Ice House!
mark.waltz16 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the silliest of Karloff's mad doctor programmers, and one that is loaded with a ton of opportunity for ridicule. How about the Ice Mad Man Cometh, or For Your Ice Only, and if you're in the mood for the obscure, I Only Have an Ice Room for You. This is an insipid unintentional comedy where after being thawed out of his own ice castle, Karloff takes desperate measures to assure that his next experiment will succeed.

It begins when scientist Roger Pryor and nurse Jo Ann Sayers decide to visit ice recovery expert to get Hus help on their own experimentation and find him locked in his own chamber. Telling them of how he was accused of killing a patient during an experiment, he later froze the men who interfered. Defrosting them like chicken, he finds that they are still not ready to allow his experiment to go forward. This leads to more mayhem as Karloff remains calm but gets loonier and loonier.

While this ain't quite Arsenic and Old Ice, it's actually quite funny in the way it takes itself way too seriously. A lame script and cheesy sets puts this on par with the schlock horror films that PRC and Monogram were putting out. At least with those, you knew what you were getting into. Watching this makes me wonder if the alleged freezing of Walt Disney was influenced by this.
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Interesting (and prescient) science doesn't necessarily translate into an exciting film
moonspinner556 October 2015
A doctor spearheading the development of killing cancerous cells in the human body by freezing them without damaging tissue and vital organs seeks out the radical, hermit-like scientist he originally took his cue from. They eventually find each other...but first the scientist must be thawed out and revitalized after unintentionally locking himself and a group of medical and legal naysayers in his ice chamber for ten years! Rather stiff co-feature from Columbia does pass muster visually despite a low-budget--and it certainly benefits from Boris Karloff's impassioned portrayal of a determined man willing to kill to prove his scientific theories correct. There's a female nurse (and fiancée to the doctor!) on hand to make coffee and soup and scream on cue. Other ideas are bogged down by talk of formulas and equations, though the central concept is a good one. While it fails to translate into the tense thriller it was obviously supposed to be, Karloff's performance rises above the handling and makes the picture worth seeing. ** from ****
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Great chiller from the old days of B horror films
drgibson14 June 2004
It's been 30 years since I saw this film, and most of what I recall about it is that I loved it, as a 10-year-old watching at 4 a.m.

I distantly recall a tale of bringing life back with a dark, brooding sinister Karloff obsessed with a purpose. There was of course, a young couple in danger. I recall dark sets, with much of the action in a dark room, or maybe it was even a cave. As I mentioned, it's been a long time. I wish I could recall more, and find this film gem. Does anyone know if a DVD or video company sells this classic of the genre?
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It left Me Cold!
Hitchcoc3 November 2009
Other than watching Mr. Karloff and his wonderful courtroom rant, the rest of this movie just didn't do much for me. Once again the great one is executed and brought back to life. He is able to continue his research and ends up in the basement of a house in a laboratory where a man whose work he envied worked. He decides that instead of continuing to do good, he will get back at those who interrupted his work, mocked him, and sentenced him. After they get to the house, however, everything gets patently silly. He discovers the truth only to have some lunkhead throw his formula into the fire. Instead of flashing the piece of paper around to show the other, he could have kept it in his pocket. Anyway, it rambles on and on and gets nowhere. My favorite thing is this frozen cave where people can be kept. It reminds me of a small refrigerator that I have to defrost about three times a year. I just hate that.
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