The Lady and the Monster, 1944

The Lady and the Monster, aha Donovan’s Brain

Eric von Stroheim plays the mad scientist in the first adaptation of Curt Siodmak’s novel, Donovan’s Brain. Von Stroheim rocks this gig.  John Alton, noir cameraman extraordinaire, is also here in one of his early cinema efforts. A pairing in horror noir heaven.

Enter Republic Pictures studio head Herbert Yates and his baby chick ice champion Vera Hruba Ralston.

Ralston’s talent was all in her feet. And, maybe someplace else. Yet Yates was determined to provide his inamorata with a starring debut vehicle. He bought the rights to Donovan’s Brain and proceeded to redo the script to revolve around the scientist’s comely assistant. (Hence the name change to The Lady and the Monster. Ditto the poster featuring Hruba in a slinky silk.)

“What brain, doctor?”

Hruba’s limited English and acting ability meant that she spoke most of her lines phonetically with a flat intonation. Hruba would bring this unique technique to all her  performances at Republic. Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger, although he has not acknowledged it, stole Hruba’s technique for the Terminator movies.

Yates and Hruba paired up to ruin dozens of movies during his reign at Republic, finally driving the studio into the ground in 1958. Stockholders sued Yates for mismanagement (primarily for spending $$$$$ promoting Hruba as a star). The couple were by now married. Hruba never made another picture after 1958. And they lived happily ever after.


Donovan’s Brain, Bantam 819

Poster Condition:

The Lady and the Monster. 1944 Window Card. Fine. Very rare. This 67- year-old window card has had no restoration. There are no fold marks, tears or pin holes. However, due to the poor quality of the cardstock, the poster has experienced tanning, especially at edges. Poster has been kept on archival board in an archival sleeve since I have owned the poster.




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