Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1950s Man Without a Body, The (1957)

Man Without a Body, The (1957)

Karl Brussard (George Coulouris), a bullying and egocentric millionaire, is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and told he will die within a year.

Naturally, Brussard cannot begin to contemplate his own end, so hooks up with renegade scientist Dr Merritt (Robert Hutton) who has found a method of keeping long-dead monkey heads alive and in perfect condition.

Brussard wants to imprint his mind and personality upon the head of the 16th Century French astrologer, physician and reputed seer, Nostradamus.

A spot of grave-robbing in France ensues and the disembodied head of Nostradamus is duly returned to England and brought back to life. On revival, it asks “Have they burned all my books?” (referring to the 942 volumes of Les Prophéties – a collection of poetic quatrains allegedly predicting future events).

Meanwhile, Brussard’s nymphomaniac mistress Odette (Nadja Regin) concocts a plot to murder the old man with the help of Merritt’s assistant Lew (Sheldon Lawrence).

Finally, the head of Nostradamus is attached to the body of Merritt’s (dead) assistant and transformed into a Frankenstein-like monster with a giant paper mache blob encasing his head. The crazed creature goes on a rampage in search of the now-fugitive Brussard, whose company has been ruined due to false stock market advice given by the prophet.

Things end badly in a belfry. The end.

The overall effect is akin to Ed Wood at his most hallucinatory.

Dr Phil R. Merritt
Robert Hutton
Karl Brussard
George Coulouris
Jean Cramer
Julia Arnall
Odette Vernet
Nadja Regin
Dr Lew Waldenhouse
Sheldon Lawrence
Leslie
Peter Copley
Nostradamus
Michael Golden
Dr Alexander
Norman Shelley
Dr Brandon
Tony Quinn
Chauffer
Maurice Kaufmann
Dr Charot
William Sherwood
Detective
Frank Forsyth

Director
Charles Saunders
W. Lee Wilder