Before I Hang (Columbia 1940, Boris Karloff, John Tyrrell)



Boris Karloff is cast in an archetypal mad scientist role in Before I Hang and, provided with a typical B feature horror movie screenplay by Robert D Andrews, he did everything that was expected of him.

Demented doctor Karloff searches for a serum to combat ageing and, failing to cure a patient suffering from advanced age, commits a mercy killing and is sentenced to die on the gallows. A surprisingly liberal prison establishment allows him to continue his experiments with the help of prison surgeon Edward Van Sloan while he waits for execution and, to ensure the success of his new serum, Karloff uses the blood of a convicted killer.

When he tests the serum on himself, he is transformed into a young man. His sentence is commuted to life imprisonment but, sadly, the serum has turned him into a murderer. He strangles Van Sloan and, before he is finally shot and killed by a guard on his way back to prison, three others die at his hands …

production details
USA / Columbia / 62 minutes / 1940

Director: Nick Grinde
Screenplay: Robert D. Andrews

Boris Karloff as Dr. John Garth
Pedro de Cordoba as Victor Sondini
John Tyrrell as Sanders
Bruce Bennett as Dr. Paul Ames
Bert Moorhouse as Cousel at Defense Table
Charles Trowbridge as Judge Braden
Edward Earle as Dr. Nichols
Sam Harris as Courtroom Spectator
Eddie Laughton as Guard
Edmund Mortimer as Courtroom Spectator
Don Beddoe as Capt. McGraw
Evelyn Keyes as Martha Garth
Edward Van Sloan as Dr. Ralph Howard
Ben Taggart as Warden Thompson
Wright Kramer as George Wharton
Bertram Marburgh as Stephen Barclay
Robert Fiske as District Attorney
Frank Richards as Otto Kron – Convict
Kenneth MacDonald as Anson, Prison Guard
Ernie Adams as Sam – Hospital Prison Orderly
Frederick Burton as Governor Prentiss
Richard Fiske as Mandish
George McKay as Reardon
Jack Cheatham as Patrolman Olson
Stanley Brown as Prison Gate Guard
James T. Mack as Butler
Gohr Van Vleck as Police Dispatcher

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