Surgeon doctor Claire Wyatt (Anna Lee) is offered the job as an assistant by
her old mentor at university, doctor Laurience (Boris Karloff), brilliant but
slightly over the top brain surgeon, & despite everybody warning her about
this man's sinister motives, despite his spooky mansion & his weird (&
paralyzed) butler Clayton (Donald Calthrop) she takes the job. When her
boyfriend, the young & coming reporter Dick Haslewood (John Loder) snoops
around in Laurience's bacground though & comes up with an interesting
article, that impresses his father, the immensely rich Lord Haslewood (Frank
Cellier) enough to give Laurience sponsorship & an own lab at his research
center - but for an exchange, Laurience has to publish the results of his
research exclusively in Haslewood's newspaper.
However, when Laurience does his first speech in front of an audience of
fellow scientists & tells them about the possibility of exchanging the
minds of animals - & even humans - he is ridiculed & booed off the
stage. & when Laurience wants to do a self experiment in order to prove his
theory, even Claire deserts him. Thing is, Laurience can really do what he
claims, & when Lord Haslewoods shows up to humiliate & fire him for the
ridiculous spech he has given, Laurience decides it's high times he proves his
theories & exchanges tzhe minds of paralyzed Clayton & rich beyond
& while Haslewood, in Clayton's crippled & slowly deceasing body,
dies only minutes after the experiment, Clayton - as Haslewood - soon learns to
enjoy the comforts of a vast fortune at his disposal - & of course, he
keeps Laurience in his/HAslewood's employ.
Only his son, Dick, seems to notice his father's a changed man, but he has
more pressing matters on his mind, as Claire has finally agreed to marry him -
much to the dismay of Laurience, who has been secretly in love with Claire as
well. Then Clayton changes his mind about his new body though, as Haslewood
suffers from a severe heart disease, & he wants to persuade Laurience to
transfer his minde into Dick's body, but Laurience refuses. In a fight that
ensues, Laurience kills Clayton (in haslewood's body) & leaves sufficient
proof about him being the murderer, but lures Dick into his lab to exchange
minds with him, in order to inherit the Haslewood fortune, while Dick goes to
the gallows in his body for murdering Lord Haslewood.
The mind-exchange even succeeds, but in the meantime Claire has figured out
a thing or 2 about whose mind is in whose body, & she arrives at
Laurience's lab together with the police, seeing Dick (in Laurience's body)
falling out of a window (Laurience wanted to make sure he got rid of his
witness at all costs), & she manages to persuade the police to help her
undo the mind-exchange (because of having been Laurience's assistant, she -
besides Laurience - is the only person how to do it).
The transfer goes well, & Laurience (in his own body again) begs
forgiveness of Claire for the error of his ways &, with a dying breath,
begs her to destroy his lab ...
A stupid (but by far not as confusing as it may sound) mad scientist story,
that is told in a very charming & light-hearted way though, carefully
directed & graced by great central performances, especially by the ever
dependable Boris Karloff & Anna Lee as the spunky scientist's assistant.
So, even though you might hate this kind of movies otherwise, you might like
Back in the 30's, director Stevenson would have a reputation of making
movies (just like this one) from stupid premises that transcended their stupid
storylines & budgetary limitations by far. Unfortunately in later life he
moved to America &, after a string of unremarkable movies, hooked up with Disney,
which might have been the right decision on a financial level, artistically
though his career went onto a downward spiral, as he was relegated to direct
such cheesy family-oriented schlock like The Absent Minded Professor, The
Love Bug or The Gnome-Mobile. His last film was the Shaggy D.A.
in 1976, a horrible sequel to the already horrible The Schaggy Dog.