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Tricia's retro film review: Donovan's Brain

Donovan's Brain


Donovan’s Brian is the 1953 sci-fi film based on the book of the same name. Dr. Patrick Cory and Dr. Frank Schratt are performing experiments when a plane crashes nearby. They decide to use the dead man, W.H. Donovan, as a test subject to see if they can keep a brain alive. It works all too well and Donovan uses Patrick in order to carry out his nefarious schemes. When Patrick is able to control his body, he tells his wife Janice and Frank to kill Donovan. Can Patrick break free from Donovan?

This isn’t a bad film, although the viewer may wonder how Dr. Schratt is able to perform surgery while drunk, since his coordination would suffer. It’s somewhat low-key sci-fi, as besides the disembodied brain, it’s played out like a crime drama. Viewers who are against animal testing will be pissed off that a monkey is sacrificed for the experiment. The story is good until the climax, where the writers pull a deus ex machina in order to save the good guys. It would have been better if Patrick used his own willpower to defeat Donovan. Despite its flaws, Honolulu sci-fi fans should at least rent it.

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