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The Crime of Doctor Crespi (1935)

5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 94 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 4 critic

A crazed scientist invents a serum that induces a catatonic state in whoever it is injected into. He uses the serum to paralyze his enemies, so that he can bury them alive.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Harriet Russell ...
...
Paul Guilfoyle ...
John Bohn ...
Geraldine Kay ...
Miss Rexford
Jean Brooks ...
Miss Gordon (as Jeanne Kelly)
Patsy Berlin ...
Jeanne Ross, the Child
Joe Verdi ...
Di Angelo
Dean Raymond ...
Minister
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Storyline

Dr. Crespi has a festering hatred for Dr. Stephen Ross, the man who married his ex-sweetheart. Ross must undergo surgery and Crespi, sensing an opportunity, seizes it. Ross "appears" to die but Crespi has given him a drug that places the victim in a trance-like state, but leaves him in possession of his senses. Crespi attends the premature burial of his hated colleague. Dr. John Arnold has his suspicions and calls on Dr. Thomas to to help him. They exhume the body and find Ross alive, albeit now a terrified, ghostly figure given to stalking the hospital corridors. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SCREEN'S SUPER-THRILLER...AN EPIC OF HORROR! (original poster-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

24 September 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Crime do Dr. Crespi  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Dwight Frye received the highest billing of his career in this film. See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Crime Of Doctor Crespi (John H. Auer, 1935) **1/2
12 October 2013 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I only just realized this was an update of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Premature Burial" and, in fact, had been filed in my movie collection under the Thriller label! Indeed, I had acquired it on account of the star presence of the great Erich von Stroheim (tellingly, his baptism of fire within the fantasy genre came soon after his distinguished but infuriating directorial career ground to a definite halt!) but, watching the opening credits, was pleased to find Dwight Frye was in it, too. For the record, Stroheim's three other horror roles were in the superior THE LADY AND THE MONSTER (1944) and the upcoming THE MASK OF DIIJON (1946) and the German-made ALRAUNE (1952). Now, back to the film proper, which is undeniably interesting in its borrowings: not merely Poe (incidentally, his middle name is lazily spelled Allen in the titles, just as the star's own loses the 'h'!) but, in Frye's incompetent (and grave-robbing) assistant, FRANKENSTEIN (1931) and, while the morgue scenes and modern setting are redolent of MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM (1933), the all-important funeral scene – in which the occupant of the coffin is aware of what goes on but is unable to do anything about it – obviously owes a lot to Carl Theodor Dreyer's VAMPYR (1931). However, I must say that I was disappointed by the slackness of the script: Stroheim (whose aristocratic mannerisms – especially his propensity for smoking and, in imitable fashion, drinking – are in full sway here) not only puts to a death-resembling sleep his amorous rival and former protégé in full view of the contended party but writes down the all-important time of 'demise' in advance on the certificate so that, when he signs it, Frye proves an unwitting witness. But, then, he also inexplicably fails to get rid of him (after amusingly spending much of their scenes together lambasting the junior doctor for something or other)…thus effectively precipitating his own come-uppance – though not before being visited by the ghastly (and which he initially takes to be ghostly!) victim of his wiles. Being mostly set inside a hospital, with medical staff in white walking about in appropriately antiseptic surroundings, the detail sometimes gets lost in the fuzzy copy I watched! As for comic relief, an obligatory balancing ingredient in most films of its ilk (certainly at this point in time), we get an excited Italian (one Joe Verdi!?) speaking in broken English – another cliché – whose inordinately-delayed expectancy of parenthood eventually rewards(?) him with quintuplets.


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