The Brain
Movie poster
Directed byFreddie Francis
Written byRobert Banks Stewart
Philip Mackie
Based onDonovan's Brain
by Curt Siodmak
Produced byArtur Brauner
Raymond Stross
StarringAnne Heywood
Peter van Eyck
Cecil Parker
Bernard Lee
CinematographyRobert Huke
Edited byOswald Hafenrichter
Music byKenneth V. Jones
Central Cinema Company/ Raymond Stross Productions
Distributed byBritish Lion/Columbia (UK)
Europa-Filmverleih AG (West Germany)
Governor Films (US, 1964)
Release dates
  • 1962 (1962) (United Kingdom, Germany)
  • 1964 (1964) (U.S.)
Running time
84 minutes (UK/Germany)
83 minutes (US)
CountriesUnited Kingdom
West Germany

The Brain, also known as Vengeance and Ein Toter sucht seinen Mörder, is a 1962 UK-West German co-production science fiction thriller film directed by Freddie Francis, and starring Anne Heywood and Peter van Eyck.[1] It is adapted from the 1942 Curt Siodmak novel Donovan's Brain, and in this film, differing from earlier adaptations, the dead man seeks his murderer through hypnotic contact with the doctor keeping his brain alive.


Dr Peter Corrie and his colleague Frank Shears remove the brain from the corpse of tycoon Max Holt, who was injured in an air-crash but subsequently died. Corrie attempts to keep the removed brain alive in a chemical bath. The brain hypnotically controls him, and Corrie suspects Holt was murdered. Corrie is framed for the murder of Holt's chauffeur, and under the brain's control Corrie almost commits murder himself. Shears disconnects the brain's support system, and Corrie tracks down Holt's murderer.


Critical reception

Monthly Film Bulletin wrote: "This preposterous mixture of crime, horror and science fiction, with a dash or two of neurosis, art and medical ethics stirred in, comes off unexpectedly well. With some notable photography credits to his record, director Freddie Francis not surprisingly has an eye for the startling or sinister image: the shadowy airport, the wild-eyed portrait of the telepathic tycoon, the brain dying in a swirl of chemicals. Once past the turgid dialogue of the opening scenes in the laboratory, direction, script and editing keep things roaring along with piled-on complications confusing the trails, and a neat pay-off. A strong cast gives momentary credibility to the hocus-pocus, with Jeremy Spenser enjoyable as a repulsive father-hater. But pointless miplausibilities in the story – brain-baths apart – will jar on the observant spectator. And it's a bit much having apparently two alcoholics in one picture."[2]

The Radio Times Guide to Films gave the film 3/5 stars, writing: "Hammer Horror veteran Freddie Francis does a decent job directing this version of Curt Siodmak's Donovan's Brain. Peter Van Eyck is the scientist controlled by the power-crazed organ of a sadistic tycoon kept alive after a plane crash. More of a mystery than an all-stops-out horror, the moody tale has some eerie moments and is efficiently involving. A competent cast injects new life into a familiar story."[3]

Leslie Halliwell said: "Twisty remake of Donovan's Brain [1953], not too badly done."[4]

See also


  1. ^ "The Brain". British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 3 December 2023.
  2. ^ "The Brain". Monthly Film Bulletin. 30 (348): 174. 1963 – via ProQuest.
  3. ^ Radio Times Guide to Films (18th ed.). London: Immediate Media Company. 2017. p. 125. ISBN 9780992936440.
  4. ^ Halliwell, Leslie (1989). Halliwell's Film Guide (7th ed.). London: Paladin. p. 1077. ISBN 0586088946.