6.1/10
897
32 user 26 critic

Before I Hang (1940)

A physician on death row for a mercy killing is allowed to experiment on a serum using a criminals' blood, but secretly tests it on himself. He gets a pardon, but finds out he's become a Jekyll-&-Hyde.

Director:

Nick Grinde (as Nick Grindé)

Writers:

Robert Hardy Andrews (story and screenplay) (as Robert D. Andrews), Karl Brown (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Boris Karloff ... Dr. John Garth
Evelyn Keyes ... Martha Garth
Bruce Bennett ... Dr. Paul Ames
Edward Van Sloan ... Dr. Ralph Howard
Ben Taggart ... Warden Thompson
Pedro de Cordoba ... Victor Sondini
Wright Kramer Wright Kramer ... George Wharton
Bertram Marburgh Bertram Marburgh ... Stephen Barclay
Don Beddoe ... Capt. McGraw
Robert Fiske ... District Attorney
Kenneth MacDonald ... Anson, Prison Guard
Frank Richards ... Otto Kron - Convict
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Storyline

A physician on death row for a mercy killing is allowed to experiment on a serum using a criminals' blood, but secretly tests it on himself. He gets a pardon, but finds out he's become a Jekyll-&-Hyde.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

DOOMED TO KILL...BY THE MURDERER'S BLOOD IN HIS VEINS! (oringinal print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 September 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El mago de la muerte See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was shot in the house later used in the 1945 title The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) staring Hurd Hatfield. See more »

Quotes

Capt. McGraw: Dr. Garth, whatever he is, is the first man I've ever met who was polite to me and still made the chills run up and down my spine!
See more »


Soundtracks

Étude No 12 in C minor, Op 10 'Revolutionary'
(uncredited)
Composed by Frédéric Chopin
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User Reviews

 
An interesting plot make this a must-see for Karloff fans.
2 November 2009 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

The film begins with a kindly doctor (Boris Karloff) being sentenced for performing a mercy killing. He is given the death penalty and the sentenced is to be carried out in one month (wow--things sure went fast in the good old days). In the meantime, however, the warden of the prison allows the Doctor to continue his experiments regarding prolonging human life, as the work seems important and not everyone is as tough on the Doc as the judge.

During this one month period, a breakthrough occurs with Karloff's research. And, in an effort to test the formula, Karloff insists that the other doctor inject him with the formula. The experiment is a success and Karloff now looks and feels much younger and healthier--and as luck has it, the death sentence is commuted, so Karloff can continue working in the prison laboratory. However, slowly the changes that occur in the one-kindly man are unanticipated...and not particularly pleasant to say the least. Why did he change and what happens next? Well, see the film for yourself, as I'd hate to spoil the suspense--though the why is a tad silly.

Overall, a novel idea for a film that is well worth seeing. Karloff fans will have a ball, but non-fans also might enjoy this interesting little B-movie. I particularly liked it because I enjoyed seeing Karloff play such a likable guy--at least until the injection.


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