The Man Who Lived Twice (1936)

Article #1739 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-18-2005
Posting Date: 5-17-2006
Directed by Harry Lachman
Featuring Ralph Bellamy, Marian Marsh, Thurston Hall

A criminal on the run from the police allows a surgeon who has experimented with surgical methods in controlling sociopathic behavior to perform a brain operation on him to remove his criminal tendencies. The operation is successful, but the criminal now has amnesia and can’t remember his former life. He then becomes a respected doctor, only to find that his past is catching up to him.

The middle section of this movie drags a bit, but outside of that, I found this an enjoyable if somewhat far-fetched little B-movie. It’s the performances that really make this work. Ralph Bellamy is very good in the opening scenes as the criminal; it’s such a break from his usual type of character that it’s a little disappointing when he emerges from the operation in a far more conventional role for him, though he does a fine job throughout. However, my favorite performance goes to Ward Bond, who plays an old crony of the criminal who discovers the truth of the matter, but who is so won over by the change that he takes on the job of Bellamy’s chauffeur and vows to go straight; his final scene with Isabel Jewell is great. All in all, an enjoyable combination of the crime and science fiction genres.

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