Curt Siodmak was notable for many screenplays and novels. His break came with The Wolfman in 1941 and laid forever our ideas about what a werewolf should be. His novel Donova’s Brain was a bestseller that was made into three films, THE LADY AND THE MONSTER(1944), DONOVAN’S BRAIN(1953), and THE BRAIN(1962), as well as a radio broadcast starring Orson Welles in 1944.
The same titled film version is the only one I’ve seen, or heard, and rewatching it recently on Turner Classic Films brought back memories of that first time I saw this on one of those shows that ran cheesy horror films with the made-up host(in my case, Dr. Paul Bearer).
Doctors Cory(Lew Ayres) and Scratt(Gene Evans), aided by Cory’s wife, Janice(Nancy Davis, later First Lady Nancy Reagan), save a dying millionaire’s brain after the body succumbs from a plane crash. That same day they’d had their first success, on the fifth try, keeping a monkey’s brain alive in a solution of saline and electrical impulses. The success is all to apparent as the ruthless millionaire, as the brain grows and thrives, takes over Cory’s body and continues his illicit activities. His family hated him and, controlling Cory, he wirites checks to the Docotr from accounts all over the country under various names where he’d squirreled away large sums of money.
We’ve got a nosy reporter blackmailing him, which considering the ruthless nature of W. H. Donovan, is not a smart idea. He’s blackmailing government officials and has the Treasury Department checking the Doctor out for the l;arge sums of money he’s drawing out of banks all over the country on checks written by men the banks have never seen. All transactions were done by mail and phone, though the signatures of all the account holders match the samples provided.
For more overlooked films, check out Todd Mason over at SWEET FREEDOM.