THE BRAIN (1962) Reviews and overview



‘Instrument of terror!’

The Brain is a 1962 science fiction murder mystery film with horror touches directed by Freddie Francis (Paranoiac; The Skull; The Vampire Happening) from a screenplay by Robert Stewart and Philip Mackie, loosely based upon Curt Siodmak novel Donovan’s Brain.

It was British-West German co-production, also released as Ein Toter sucht seinen Mörder (translation: “A Dead Man Seeks His Murderer”). The English language working title was Vengeance.


Main cast:

Anne Heywood (Ring of Darkness), Peter van Eyck (The Thousand Eyes of Doctor Mabuse), Cecil Parker, Bernard Lee (Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell), Maxine Audley and Jeremy Spenser.


Called to a private aircraft crash scene, Doctor Peter Corrie (Peter van Eyck) tries to save the only survivor but realising their is no hope, decides to use the dying man’s brain in his own unique experiments.


However, it emerges that the brain belonged to ruthless millionaire industrialist Max Holt, a man with many enemies. The doctor soon finds that he has been possessed by the dead tycoon’s dominating personality and becomes obsessed with finding out who murdered him…



“Freddie Francis shoots in intensive closeups on forelit faces all in black-and-white, which emphasises a stark naked tension that was characteristic to 1960s thrillers. One of the more unusual parts is the casting of Peter Van Eyck. Van Eyck’s clipped Germanic directness and single-minded determination gives the film undeniable resonances of WWII German experiments.” Moria


“This is a slick science fiction/mystery story that kept me absorbed for the full 83 minutes. The cast is packed with faces familiar to fans of British films of the late 50s and 60s and every performance is great. I should mention that very surprisingly there is a brief bit of nudity from the gorgeous Anne Heywood that caused me to choke on my tea. Very nice!” Bloody Pit of Rod


“Francis, always a better director of than of science fiction, plods through Mackie and Stewart’s well-thumbed script.” Phil Hardy (editor), The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction


” …makes the old material work effectively.” John Stanley, Creature Features

Choice dialogue:

“I’m in no mood to listen to a violent psychopath!”




Cast and Characters:

  • Anne Heywood as Anna Holt
  • Peter van Eyck as Doctor Peter Corrie
  • Cecil Parker as Stevenson
  • Bernard Lee as Doctor Frank Shears
  • Jeremy Spenser as Martin Holt
  • Maxine Audley as Marion Fane
  • Ellen Schwiers as Ella
  • Siegfried Lowitz as Mr. Walters
  • Hans Nielsen as Immerman
  • Jack MacGowran as Furber
  • Miles Malleson as Doctor Miller
  • George A. Cooper as Thomas Gabler
  • Victor Brooks as Farmer at Crash Site (uncredited)
  • Allan Cuthbertson as Da Silva (uncredited)
  • John Junkin as Frederick (uncredited)
  • Bryan Pringle as Dance-Hall MC (uncredited)
  • Patsy Rowlands as Young Woman at Dance Hall (uncredited)
  • Alister Williamson as Inspector Pike (uncredited)

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