MAN WITH TWO LIVES. Monogram, 1942. Edward Norris, Marlo Dwyer, Eleanor Lawson, Frederick Burton, Addison Richards, Edward Keane, Hugh Sothern, Tom Seidel. Director: Phil Rosen.

   The last time I began one of these online reviews by talking about the “no name” cast, I was quickly made fun of, for not recognizing any of players. So, having not yet learned my lesson, how many of the names above, not including Phil Rosen, have you heard of?

   No matter. Low budget movie or not, there was only one of the members of the cast who didn’t seem to me to be up for the part he was playing. As for the movie itself, it begins in pure sci-fi mode, with a doctor seen surrounded by all kinds of electronic gadgets and bubbling test tubes set up in the lab he has put together in his back bedroom. After years of research, it turns out that he has brought a dead dog’s heart back to life.

   Does it work on humans? He doesn’t know, but when the son of a friend is killed in an automobile accident, he is persuaded to try. By pure coincidence the attempt is made at the stroke of midnight, exactly the same time as when the switch is pulled on a notorious killer in the death house at a nearby state penitentiary.

   The audience catches on far more quickly than the friends and relatives of the young man who is the subject of the experiment. He awakes having amnesia but soon begins to find himself drawn to the dead mob leader’s headquarters. Surprisingly quickly he becomes the new head of the gang.

   Even worse, he spurns the girl he was engaged to marry to take up with knockout beauty who was the dead gangster’s moll. There is eventually some talk of the “transmigration of the soul” to explain all this scientifically, but even if it’s all hooey at the heart of it, this is a fun movie to watch.

   This in spite of what definitely qualifies as a “dumb ending.” And no names in the cast or not.