Friday, October 14, 2005

Dr. X

"Dr. X"
Doesn't that sound like a movie just made for Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray?!
Especially when you consider what William K. Everson says in his "Classics of the Horror Film," Citadel Press Book, New York, 1974, page 95:
The eerie shots of the moon and, particularly, the grim climax, in which the human Monster is transformed into a blazing torch, exploited color for both atmospherics and shock value. The laboratory scenes, with their relatively spare equipment and great expanses of space, likewise lent themselves well to color, while several of the Old House sets--particularly a corridor stretching off into an obviously painted infinity--seemed far less artificial in color. In any event, "Dr. X" is a grand chiller of the old school, replete with clutching hands, a weird laboratory, a hooded killer, gas jets, secret panels, a wonderful group of suspects--and, on the debit side of the ledger, the inevitable wisecracking reporter-hero, tiresome in concept, but at least amusing in execution, thanks to Lee Tracy's verve and seemingly impromptu dialogue delivery. (Too, he was a hero human enough to be scared, his unreliability thus emphasizing the menace confronting the heroine.) ANone who couldn't guess the identity of the hidden killer within fifteen minutes deserved to be drummed out of the theatre in disgrace . . . but guessing who still didn't mean knowing why, and suspense on this front is well maintained.
Miss Maven rates "Dr. X" as a gottahave.
She rates "The Return of Dr. X" as at least a mustsee. It's a good movie with all the suspense and acting one could want--once you get past Humphrey Bogart not only deathly pale but with a white streak of hair!
It does employ an interesting plot device, and done well given the times, in that it revolves around blood grouping. They used one, two, three and four instead of our more familiar A, AB, B and O.
Just don't expect it to be a sequel to "Dr. X"!!
A similarly titled non-sequel is "The Strange Case of Dr. Rx" stars Patric Knowles, Anne Gwynne, Lionel Atwill among a strong cast.
Shemp Howard is also included as a wise-cracking and not-so-smart cop. This is his solo period during his career before he joins his brother, Moe Howard, in the Three Stooges to replace their other sibling, Curly.
". . . Dr. Rx" revolves around criminals who are guilty as sin but "beat the rap" in court and are "done in" by a mysterious character dubbed (so you're ahead of me!) "Dr. Rx."
This is also a mustsee. Miss Maven trusts that you will refrain from laughing when Jerry Church (Patric Knowles) gets his comeuppance in a plot device that should have creaked even then!
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