Curt Siodmak wrote a ton of horror movies for Universal Studios and RKO in the 1940’s. The Wolf Man, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, I Walked With a Zombie and Son of Dracula just to name a few. Siodmak also wrote a few novels, one of them was Donovan’s Brain.
Donovan’s Brain was first made into a movie in 1944 with the film The Lady and the Monster. It’s not bad but the 1953 movie Donovan’s Brain is better. The good Dr. Cory (Lew Ayres) has discovered a process where he can keep the brain alive after the body dies. Prophetically W.H. Donovan, a crooked multimillionaire is flying near by and crashes. Dr. Cory tries to save Donovan but is only able to save his brain.
The brain soon starts communicating telepathically. First giving Dr. Cory orders, then taking over his body, leaving Cory unaware what happens when the brain takes over. Cory realizes that he must stop the brain at all costs.
Lew Ayres is excellent, he subtly has to convey when Donovan has taken over his body without any effects, just a change in his mannerisms. In the earlier The Lady and the Monster it was done with lighting and music. The book was adapted one more time in the 1960’s as The Brain but it just isn’t as good.