BEFORE I HANG (1940)
Article #361 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 3-11-2002
Posting date: 7-28-2002
A doctor convicted of murder (a mercy killing) tests a dangerous serum on himself right before his execution, and when he has a stay of execution, discovers that the serum restores youth. However, since the blood of a murderer was used to create the serum, it also turns him homicidal.
I have no doubt that Boris Karloff got quite weary of playing essentially the same character in movie after movie, but then one of the reasons he was typecast in this way was because he was extremely good at that character. The Columbia mad-scientist series were not innovative; they were conceived not as works of art but as product, but that doesn’t make them worthless. They were done with a certain amount of professionalism, and were therefore quite watchable. Karloff is quite good, as expected, and the movie is a fairly solid time-killer; still, one is glad for Karloff that the next decade would return him to the stage, and give him more of a chance to stretch himself than this movie gives him.