Still Watching the Skies: Episode 61 “Donovan’s Brain & The Man With Two Brains”
Robert, Nat, and Cody are joined by Jim Laczkowski of the Now Playing Network for a look at one of the hoariest tropes in science fiction, the disembodied brain. We look at two extremes of the genre with 1953’s DONOVAN’S BRAIN and 1983’s THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS.
DONOVAN’S BRAIN is the second movie attempt at Curt Siodmak’s novel that spawned several radio plays, including one starring Orson Welles. A performance that Welles also parodied on his own radio program. It’s a relatively famous and fondly remembered film.
But is it any good? Well, we certainly have thoughts on that. One thing we can agree on, Lew Ayres turns in a fine performance. Nancy Davis before she was Nancy Reagan? But, DONOVAN’S BRAIN takes its subject seriously, even if we don’t quite know what the theme is.
THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS is anything but serious. It’s downright silly. The third of four Steve Martin / Carl Reiner teamups, it stars Steve Martin as pompous brain surgeon Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr who makes the ill fated mistake of marrying black widow Kathleen Turner. Before connecting on a deeper level with disembodied brain Anne Uumellmahaye, voiced by Sissy Spacek. Wacky hijinks ensue.
Beyond the silliness, THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS is probably most notable for Kathleen Turner skewering her own image coming off debut in BODY HEAT. It’s a brave bit of role choice by Kathleen Turner, but it establishes her as more than a one trick pony and makes her one of the most exciting actresses to watch in the 1980s.
Beyond that, THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS proves that Steve Martin and Carl Reiner will go anywhere for a joke. No matter how crass, silly, or sexist. Does it all work/ We have thoughts.
You’re not going to need to consult a world class brain surgeon to listen to this episode. You can give us a play below or Download the episode. Also, feel free to let us know what you think by commenting below or Email Us at [email protected] as we appreciate feedback.
DONOVAN’S BRAIN Discussion: 0:00 to 39:18
THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS Discussion: 39:18 to 1:17:34
Next Film and Outro:1:17:34 to End
Next month, we follow Nat’s fascination with Michael Crichton with a look at 1998’s SPHERE. We hope you’ll join us.