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The Soul of a Monster (1944)

Approved | | Horror | 17 August 1944 (USA)
As famous surgeon, George Winson, lies on his deathbed, his wife Ann calls on unknown powers to save him. A strange woman (Lilyan) appears from nowhere and takes control. George recovers, ... See full summary »

Director:

Will Jason

Writer:

Edward Dein (original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Rose Hobart ... Lilyan Gregg
George Macready ... Dr. George Winson
Jim Bannon ... Dr. Roger Vance
Jeanne Bates ... Ann Winson
Erik Rolf Erik Rolf ... Fred Stevens
Ernest Hilliard Ernest Hilliard ... Wayne
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Storyline

As famous surgeon, George Winson, lies on his deathbed, his wife Ann calls on unknown powers to save him. A strange woman (Lilyan) appears from nowhere and takes control. George recovers, but he's mysteriously dominated by Lilyan, and leaves his wife. When the evil woman tempts him into letting his best friend (Roger) die Wilson realizes that Lilyan wants his soul in exchange for the chance to continue living. Written by Mike Rogers <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A BLOOD-CHILLING HORROR DRAMA! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 August 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Morte Caminha Só See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film debut of actor Jim Bannon. See more »

Goofs

Several minutes into the film, after the main character has had a miraculous recovery, he has an encounter with a German shepherd that has a mostly black muzzle. The dog growls at him, so he throws a pair of hedge clippers at the dog and chases it away. In the next shot, the dog runs to a woman in his yard and the dog has a much lighter colored muzzle with very little black on it. See more »


Soundtracks

Ain't That Just Like a Man?
by Don Raye and Gene de Paul
Performed by Clarence Muse
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User Reviews

 
THE SOUL OF A MONSTER (Will Jason, 1944) **
23 January 2010 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

What little reputation this film has is very mixed, so it is no surprise my own reaction proved likewise. Revolving around an intriguing concept, yet the script (by genre regular Edward Dein) is seemingly at a loss about what to do with it: an eminent and much beloved physician (George Macready) lies dying and, in desperation at the unfairness of it all, his wife (lovely Jeanne Bates – who, late in life, somehow got to appear in two David Lynch movies!) renounces God and asks the Devil for help; immediately afterwards, a mysterious woman (Rose Hobart – from the 1931 DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE) turns up, restores Macready to health and basically starts running his life. While happy to see her husband get better, Bates soon notices that his personality has changed – becoming distant, aggressive and even loses interest in his work: in short, alienating everyone around him – so that she actually wishes he had died back then! All of this sends her running into the arms of Macready's best friend, Erik Rolf (looking like a cross between Glenn Ford and the young Orson Welles...or, for that matter a local film-buff friend of mine, Robert!!): his character and relationship to the couple is pretty ambiguous – he acts almost as their spiritual adviser (thus being instantly and openly averse to Hobart's machinations), yet is a constant presence even at social engagements, hardly deigning to keep the 'love triangle' situation in check! Anyway, Macready's negligence costs a colleague's life and the once-respected doctor is put on trial…only this takes us back to the very beginning, so that all that went on in the interim turns out to have been nothing more than a death-bed hallucination – the moral being that one must face up to death with dignity and resignation, apparently after having done one's bit for the good of mankind (which should have especially resonated with wartime audiences)! The film offers more than adequate atmosphere (courtesy of future double Oscar-winning cinematographer Burnett Guffey) and Hobart (with an icy demeanor and a devilish coiffure to boot) is quite good – the combination of which leads to its eeriest moment, the very first appearance of the Devil's envoy in which she is unperturbed by a car running her over and then, after following her in a tilted camera angle shot, no less, she is seen literally electrifying her surroundings! However, as I said at the start, the plot is insufficient as Macready is not seen doing much of anything after he is revived (what was the point, then?) and Hobart actually has to prod him towards committing murder (naturally because it constitutes the extremity of an evil deed)! That said, the choice of target (the 'pastor'/rival) would benefit each of them – only he flubs it and, so does the film, since this clearly Lewtonesque sequence is kept on going much longer than necessary!; consequently, the inherent suspense in having the 'sleepwalking' Macready (armed with an ice pick long before BASIC INSTINCT [1992]!!) stalk Rolf by night out on the streets is gradually diffused…particularly with the unintentionally comic off-screen effect of the sudden opening of a rising street elevator's hatch sounding like Macready had bumped into some dustbin or a mailbox around the corner! Mind you, I am glad I acquired the film also because, as it happens, this viewing actually urged me to get back to work on my unfinished review of the slightly similar but far superior ALIAS NICK BEAL (1949; which I had originally watched on my birthday back in August) – in which Macready now actually (and atypically) takes on the role of the Minister Of God who strikes fear into (and eventually brings down) the Agent Of Hell.


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