The Man with Two Brains (1983)

R | 90 mins | Comedy | 3 June 1983

Director:

Carl Reiner

Cinematographer:

Michael Chapman

Editor:

Bud Molin

Production Designer:

Polly Platt

Production Companies:

Warner Bros., Inc., Aspen Film Society
Full page view
HISTORY

       The 3 Feb 1982 DV reported plans by actor-writer Steve Martin, producers David V. Picker and William E. McEuen, writer George Gipe, and writer-director Carl Reiner to produce The Man With Two Brains. Reiner expressed a desire to make the film in Vienna, Austria, hoping for a change from Southern California cuisine.
       A casting announcement in the 10 Jun 1982 DV stated that a number of roles were available for actors aged thirty-five to sixty. The 3 Aug 1982 HR included actor Fritz Feld in the cast, but he does not appear in onscreen credits.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the film marked the third collaboration between Martin, Picker, McEuen, Gipe, and Reiner. Principal photography began 5 Jul 1982, or 6 Jul 1982, according to 13 Jul 1982 HR production charts, using locations in the Los Angeles, CA area, as well as The Burbank Studios in Burbank, CA Universal Studios in Los Angeles, and Laird International Studios in Culver City, CA where the “Castle Hundredreck” condominium set was built. The interior of the castle was completed over a two-month period, by forty-five crewmembers working fifty hours per week. It occupied two entire soundstages, measuring forty-two feet in height and 193 feet in length, and utilized the doorway that connected the two stages.
       Reiner stated in the 3 Jun 1983 LAT that the screenplay was originally conceived by Martin, who wanted to lampoon one of his favorite films, Donovan’s Brain (1953, see entry). Both Reiner and Gipe were opposed to the ... More Less

       The 3 Feb 1982 DV reported plans by actor-writer Steve Martin, producers David V. Picker and William E. McEuen, writer George Gipe, and writer-director Carl Reiner to produce The Man With Two Brains. Reiner expressed a desire to make the film in Vienna, Austria, hoping for a change from Southern California cuisine.
       A casting announcement in the 10 Jun 1982 DV stated that a number of roles were available for actors aged thirty-five to sixty. The 3 Aug 1982 HR included actor Fritz Feld in the cast, but he does not appear in onscreen credits.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the film marked the third collaboration between Martin, Picker, McEuen, Gipe, and Reiner. Principal photography began 5 Jul 1982, or 6 Jul 1982, according to 13 Jul 1982 HR production charts, using locations in the Los Angeles, CA area, as well as The Burbank Studios in Burbank, CA Universal Studios in Los Angeles, and Laird International Studios in Culver City, CA where the “Castle Hundredreck” condominium set was built. The interior of the castle was completed over a two-month period, by forty-five crewmembers working fifty hours per week. It occupied two entire soundstages, measuring forty-two feet in height and 193 feet in length, and utilized the doorway that connected the two stages.
       Reiner stated in the 3 Jun 1983 LAT that the screenplay was originally conceived by Martin, who wanted to lampoon one of his favorite films, Donovan’s Brain (1953, see entry). Both Reiner and Gipe were opposed to the idea, but Martin gradually eroded their resistance. A segment of Donovan’s Brain appears onscreen, featuring actors Lew Ayres and Nancy Davis, the wife of then-president Ronald Reagan. Reiner admitted to making a brief appearance as a background actor, during the scene in which Martin’s character, “Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr,” addresses a craniology seminar. The filmmaker also claimed that the writing team spent “half an afternoon” concocting the character’s name, as well as that of his leading lady, “Anne Uumelmahaye,” whose voice closely resembled that of actress Sissy Spacek, according to the 3 Jun 1983 LAT.
       An advertisement in the 22 Mar 1983 HR included a schedule of exhibitor screenings of the film, held in cities throughout the U.S. on 25 Mar 1983.
       The Man With Two Brains opened 3 Jun 1983 to mixed reviews. While the 3 Jun 1983 HR stated that the film suffered from a “laugh lobotomy,” the Aug 1983 Box touted it as Martin’s best comedy to date, and reported gross receipts of $5.1 million from 1200 theaters over a two-week period.
      End credits include the statements: "Merv Griffin did not turn himself in and is at large. If you have any information as to his whereabouts, call your local theatre manager," and, "Filmed at Laird International Studios."
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Aug 1983.
---
Daily Variety
3 Feb 1982.
---
Daily Variety
10 Jun 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jul 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jul 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 1983
p. 4, 23.
Los Angeles Times
3 Jun 1983
p. 1, 13.
New York Times
3 Jun 1983
p. 8.
Variety
1 Jun 1983
p. 16, 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Aspen Film Society-William E. McEuen-David V. Picker Production
A Carl Reiner Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
VTR op
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Const coord
Prop master
Asst prop master
Set des
Paint foreman
Standby painter
COSTUMES
Women`s cost
Men`s cost
Mr. Martin's dresser
MUSIC
Mus rec at Aspen Studios by
Mus prod by
Asst mus ed
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd mixer
Boom op
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff makeup
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Spec eff
Video eff by
Titles
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstylist
Gorillas created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod secy
Asst to Mr. Reiner
Asst to Mr. Martin
Unit pub
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Loc coord
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Extra casting
Craft service
Prod accountant
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
[Col by]
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 June 1983
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 3 June 1983
Production Date:
began 5 or 6 July 1982 in Los Angeles, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
22 August 1983
Copyright Number:
PA190226
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26955
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Los Angeles, California, Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr, the world’s greatest brain surgeon, performs a gratuitous operation to demonstrate his technique to Olsen, a journalist who is conducting an interview. Afterward, they drive through an affluent neighborhood while Michael explains how his fascination with slime drew him to brain surgery. Nearby, as elderly millionaire Timon Creswell is dying of a heart attack, he informs his evil mistress, Dolores Benedict, that she has been disinherited. She runs into the path of Michael’s car and sustains a serious head injury. As Dolores lies unconscious in the street, the recently widowed Michael is transfixed by her beauty and becomes infatuated. Michael insists on performing Dolores’ operation, and employs his innovative “cranial screw-top” technique, which obviates the need for cutting or drilling the skull. When Dolores regains consciousness, she entices Michael by sucking his finger. Her continued advances prompt Michael to consult the spirit of his late wife, Rebecca, asking for a sign if she disapproves of his love for Dolores. Rebecca’s portrait spins on the wall as the house shakes and a disembodied voice emphatically repeats the word “no.” Michael is oblivious to the warning and marries Dolores in her hospital room. When Dolores is discharged, Michael carries her over the threshold of his home, wishing to prolong the moment, which he does until morning. Dolores’ recovery is slow and she complains of constant headaches, delaying the consummation of the marriage. Michael is driven to the edge of insanity from sexual frustration, unaware that Dolores is having an affair with Juan, a virile young gardener. Michael accepts an invitation to ... +


In Los Angeles, California, Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr, the world’s greatest brain surgeon, performs a gratuitous operation to demonstrate his technique to Olsen, a journalist who is conducting an interview. Afterward, they drive through an affluent neighborhood while Michael explains how his fascination with slime drew him to brain surgery. Nearby, as elderly millionaire Timon Creswell is dying of a heart attack, he informs his evil mistress, Dolores Benedict, that she has been disinherited. She runs into the path of Michael’s car and sustains a serious head injury. As Dolores lies unconscious in the street, the recently widowed Michael is transfixed by her beauty and becomes infatuated. Michael insists on performing Dolores’ operation, and employs his innovative “cranial screw-top” technique, which obviates the need for cutting or drilling the skull. When Dolores regains consciousness, she entices Michael by sucking his finger. Her continued advances prompt Michael to consult the spirit of his late wife, Rebecca, asking for a sign if she disapproves of his love for Dolores. Rebecca’s portrait spins on the wall as the house shakes and a disembodied voice emphatically repeats the word “no.” Michael is oblivious to the warning and marries Dolores in her hospital room. When Dolores is discharged, Michael carries her over the threshold of his home, wishing to prolong the moment, which he does until morning. Dolores’ recovery is slow and she complains of constant headaches, delaying the consummation of the marriage. Michael is driven to the edge of insanity from sexual frustration, unaware that Dolores is having an affair with Juan, a virile young gardener. Michael accepts an invitation to lecture on brain transplantation at the Austria Institute of Craniology in Vienna, hoping that the change of scenery will improve his wife’s libido. Shortly after arriving in Vienna with Dolores, Michael is escorted to the institute by Dr. Conrad, who warns him of the Elevator Killer, the serial murderer who took the life of renowned craniologist Dr. Schlermie Beckerman. At the conclusion of his lecture, Michael is approached by Dr. Alfred Necessiter, who believes his pioneering work in mind transference will soon render Michael’s brain transplant methods obsolete. Necessiter brings Michael to his home laboratory, a cavernous medieval castle housed inside a modern condominium building. In the laboratory are numerous preserved brains, all from victims of the Elevator Killer, who injects his quarry in the buttocks with window cleaner, allowing the brain to continue functioning for a time after the body has died. Necessiter invites Michael and his wife to dinner that night, promising to introduce them to the reanimated Dr. Beckerman. Michael returns to his hotel room to find Dolores being fondled by a stranger and declares an end to the marriage. However, after Michael leaves the room, Dolores intercepts a telephone call from attorney James Gladstone, informing her that Michael has inherited $15 million from his deceased step-grandmother. Later, Michael arrives at Necessiter’s home, and as he waits to see the doctor, he thinks about Rebecca and sings her favorite song, then notices a female voice accompanying him. He follows the voice into the laboratory and realizes that it is emanating from the preserved brain of Anne Uumellmahaye. They are able to communicate telepathically, but only with each other. Necessiter enters and introduces Michael to a gorilla, claiming that the animal now possesses the mind of Beckerman. Michael returns to his hotel room and discovers Dolores on the window ledge, feigning a suicide attempt and claiming remorse for the pain she caused him. Michael rescues Dolores and they make love, after which he compliments her on her professional technique. Later, Anne’s telepathic cry for help brings Michael back to Necessiter’s home, where her brain is being readied for transfer to another gorilla. Michaels steals the brain and hides it in his hotel room. The next morning, Michael tells Dolores that he has decided to remain in Vienna for several months, and invites her to join him in his search for a rental home. Dolores declines, having already planned a tryst with a handsome waiter. After Michael and Dolores relocate to a cottage on the outskirts of the city, she notices her husband’s waning interest in the marriage, and later spies on him as he spends a romantic afternoon with the brain. Dolores confronts her husband, but is interrupted by another telephone call from Gladstone, who tells Michael of the inheritance, and mentions his previous conversation with Dolores. Realizing that Dolores is only interested in his money, Michael throws her into a mud puddle and promises to donate his inheritance to cranial research for the poor. When Michael tells Necessiter that he is in love with Anne, the doctor offers to transfer her mind into a new body, but they must act quickly because the brain has only a short time to live. While Michael’s search is underway, Dolores follows him with a loaded pistol and enters an elevator, where she is injected with window cleaner. Michael discovers her body, along with the murderer, celebrity Merv Griffin. He demands that Griffin surrender to the authorities, then races back to Necessiter’s laboratory with the corpse. Along the way, Michael is stopped by police for speeding, and has to undergo an elaborate series of tests to prove his sobriety. As he is about to drive away, the officers discover Dolores’ body, and pursue him to the laboratory. The transfer is completed as the police break down the door, but Michael is injured in the ensuing mayhem. He regains consciousness six weeks later in a Los Angeles hospital, and asks to see Anne, who now occupies Dolores’s reanimated body. Anne, a compulsive eater, apologizes for her noticeable weight gain, but Michael can find nothing wrong with her, although he encounters considerable difficulty while carrying her over the threshold of his home. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.