The Man They Could Not Hang (1939) - Nick Grinde

The Man They Could Not Hang was actually a really solid horror movie. Boris Karloff is always fantastic and this movie is no different. Karloff takes his little role in this picture and makes it way bigger and broader than expected. The film deals with tried and true horror surroundings. The Old Dark House aesthetic is in full effect here complete with a slow, brooding terror. The film is also far, ahead of it's time. It actually showcases an artificial heart and heart transplant before that kind of thing was ever heard of. 

Dr. Henryk Savaard (Boris Karloff) has been working on unlocking the key to immortality. In his work, he's discovered how to bring a human back to life. His goal is to make it so that surgeons wouldn't have to be working against the clock during surgeries. A young man volunteers for the opportunity to be one of the first to be killed and brought back to life. However, Savaard is unable to finish his work. His secretary rats on him. Eventually leading to Savaard being thrown in jail. Where he is executed by hanging.

However, Dr. Savaard comes back from the dead. Using his methods and performed by his assistant. He invites everyone to his house that had convicted him. From the judge to the jury, no one is safe! Savaard traps these people in his house and tries to murder them all. It makes for a really interesting take on the Old Dark House recipe.

The acting is pretty normal for it's time. Fast paced with quick wits. Karloff is obviously the most fantastic performer here. Lorna Gray, Don Beddoe, and Ann Doran are the biggest names and they don't do much to stand out. Check out The Man They Could Not Hang if you love Karloff movies or your writing an essay on him. Although this movie has it's moments. It is mostly just regurgitation of the other movies coming out around the same time.


Nick Grinde




Dramatic Thriller

Did ya know...

Part of Son of Shock! a selection of movies that were aired on television in '58. The shooting lasted only two weeks. This film was re-released in 1947.