Trick & Treat for October 28th:
DONOVAN’S BRAIN (1953; with Lew Ayres, Nancy Davis; directed by Felix Feist)
No doubt you’ve encountered bodies without brains in your daily life. Like that lummox who cut in front of you in line. But how about a brain without a body? Can it exist on its own, with a little help from a brainy brain doctor? Lew Ayres plays that specialist with the good intentions of saving the cranium of accident victim Donovan, an industrial tycoon. However, things go awry (you didn’t expect a situation like this to go smoothly, did you?). Ayres, once a peaceful personality (as he famously was in real life) becomes aggressive and cruel, and it’s soon apparent that the disembodied brain is causing the side effects. DONOVAN’S BRAIN is a very good movie–creepy and intelligently written. Maybe not the “most fantastic story your startled eyes have ever beheld!”, as it’s billed, but there is an added layer of interest. Nancy Davis, future First Lady Nancy Reagan, plays Ayres’ wife in the movie. Davis by this time was married to Reagan, his second wife. Reagan’s first wife, Jane Wyman, had left Reagan for a relationship with Ayres, one that did not result in marriage. (Note: When I was little, my friends and I thought that eating Smarties would make us smart. Some would say that I am now living proof that our theory was flawed.)
Who wants to wait until the 31st to wallow in Halloween indulgences and scary movies?! Home Projectionist doesn’t! And so we’ll have pairings of 31 Frights and 31 Bites every one of October’s 31 nights: a scary, snack size movie “trick”, and a delicious “treat” to go along with it.