The Man They Could Not Hang (1939) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Man They Could Not Hang (1939)

The Man They Could Not Hang (1939)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A scientist's greatest invention proves to be his darkest curse in this thriller that was part of Columbia and star Boris Karloff's "mad doctor" series. Karloff stars as Dr. Henryk Savaard, a brilliant heart expert who has created a pump that will allow him to place a patient in a state of death so that vital organs can be replaced with few problems. His first experiment on a human quickly goes awry when his nurse Betty (Ann Doran) sends for the police. The experiment is interrupted leaving the young man dead and Savaard in jail. He is sentenced to hang, but unleashes a bitter diatribe against his executioners promising to avenge his death. After his hanging, Savaard's assistant, Stoddard (Joseph DeStefani), hooks up the corpse to the heart pump and resurrects his boss. Several months pass and a local reporter (Robert Wilcox) discovers that six of the jurors in the case have mysteriously committed suicide -- all by hanging. The newsman's investigation leads him to follow the judge, the prosecutor, nurse Betty, and the surviving jurors to a specially arranged meeting at Savaard's former home. There, they are stunned to discover that Savaard is not only alive, but planning to execute them one by one every 15 minutes. As the bodies quickly begin to pile up, it is through the one person close to Savaard's heart that they can hope to make it out alive. ~ Patrick Legare, Rovi

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Cast

Boris Karloff
as Dr. Henryk Savaard
Lorna Gray
as Janet Saavard
Robert Wilcox
as Scoop Foley
Roger Pryor
as District Attorney Drake
Adrian Booth
as Janet Saavard
Don Beddoe
as Lt. Shane
Ann Doran
as Betty Crawford
Joseph De Stefani
as Dr. Stoddard
Dick Curtis
as Kearney
James Craig
as Watkins
Charles Trowbridge
as Judge Bowman
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Critic Reviews for The Man They Could Not Hang

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1)

If you don't know Mr. Karloff by this time, we will explain: He is the man whose funerals are never final. You lay a wreath on Boris in one corner and he is certain to appear in another, full of obscure, graveyard resentment.

March 25, 2006 | Full Review…

This picture is the first of three similar films Karloff made under the direction of Nick Grinde-

October 18, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

The B-film story might be weak, but Boris Karloff gives a strong performance.

November 3, 2009 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Works quite well, even though the mayhem doesn't get all that far.

August 29, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Creepy Karloff, lower budget, but effective still.

June 8, 2006 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for The Man They Could Not Hang

This movie is unbelievable and kind of silly, but I liked it, it was a fun mad scientist movie with Karloff. There was really good suspense and a good actors.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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