Dr. Patrick "Pat" J. Cory is researching brains with his assistant and friend Dr. Frank Schratt and his wife Janice Cory through experiments with monkeys in a laboratory in his house. When an airplane crashes nearby his house, there is only one near-death survivor, the millionaire Warren H. Donovan that is brought still alive to his care. However Donovan dies and Dr. Cory decides to use his brain in his experiment keeping it alive in a tank. Pat, Schratt and Janice research about the life of Donovan and they discover that he was a ruthless and evil man. Soon Donovan's brain imposes his personality to Dr. Cory and possesses him to get rid of his enemies and to live again in his body. Schratt and Janice sees the transformation of Dr. Cory and plan to destroy the brain. Will they succeed in their intent?Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Dr. Cory, under the control of the brain, makes out a list showing several false identities under which Donovan has hidden money around the country. The first four names on the list are actual names of crew members: production supervisor H.B. Chapman, production designer Boris Leven, assistant director Jack R. Berne (on list as "Jack Byrne") and set decorator Edward Boyle. The fifth name, Fred Russell, is that of a popular sports writer of the early 1950s. See more »
The size of the brain in the tank keeps abruptly changing size, within the same scene. See more »
The best version of Curt Siodmak's often filmed novel.
This film is one of my favorite 1950's horror/science fiction movies. I first saw this film on T.V. when I was about four and five years old, and it thrilled me then and I still enjoy it today. The story based on Curt Siodmak's novel was previously filmed in 1942 as LADY AND THE MONSTER. While that version has some virtues, the overall result was mediocre. It was filmed again 1962 as THE BRAIN with several character name changes and different plot elements. I last saw that version in 1970's. While I recall it being not bad, I don't remember it being as good as this version.
DONOVAN'S BRAIN is the best version primarily due the good performance of Lew Ayers as the possessed Dr. Cory with good support from Gene Evans. When I first saw this film again after many years I was impressed by Lew Ayers. When the evil brain of Donovan possesses Dr. Cory and he becomes Donovan, I had to remind myself that it was Ayers playing both "minds". This was done entirely by Ayers; the film employs no make-up or lighting tricks (as the 1942 version does) to create the different minds in the same body. Gene Evans lends good support as Cory's alcoholic but sympathetic doctor assistant. Steve Brodie is also good as the blackmailing reporter, but his role is somewhat shoehorned into the plot. He appears merely as someone for Cory as Donovan to knock off, and once he is gone, his blackmail threats are forgotten. However the scene's with Brodie are good. Note that when he confronts Cory/Donovan for a blackmail payment, he is wearing a worn out suit. When he returns for another payment, he shows up in a very expensive looking suit! The film is loaded with subtle touches like that.
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