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The Murder of Dr. Harrigan (1936)

Approved | | Mystery | 11 January 1936 (USA)
Crotchety hospital administrator Peter Melady, self-proclaimed developer of a new wonder anaesthetic, is about to undergo a delicate operation to be performed by the glib Dr. Leo Harrigan, ... See full summary »



(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Sally Keating
John Eldredge ...
Dr. Harrigan
Lillian Cooper
Joseph Crehan ...
Lieut. Lamb
Dr. Coate
Anita Kerry ...
Agnes Melady
Phillip Reed ...
Dr. Simon
Robert Strange ...
Peter Melady
Mary Treen ...
Nurse Margaret Brody
Kenneth Martin (as Gordon Elliott)
Don Barclay ...
Jackson - the Drunk
Johnny Arthur ...
Mr. Wentworth
Joan Blair ...
Ina Harrigan


Crotchety hospital administrator Peter Melady, self-proclaimed developer of a new wonder anaesthetic, is about to undergo a delicate operation to be performed by the glib Dr. Leo Harrigan, Melady's longtime mutual adversary. Police are called when the murdered body of Harrigan is found in an elevator, and Melady, last seen being wheeled on a gurney to surgery by Harrigan, has disappeared. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 January 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Clue Club #6: The Murder of Dr. Harrigan  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The part of Nurse Sally Keating was originally intended to be played by Mary Astor. When Astor refused to play the role, Warner Bros. signed Broadway actress Kay Linaker to play Keating (her film debut), and as punishment, the studio forced Astor to play a supporting part in the film. See more »


Nurse Sally Keating: George, you have proposed to me in many different ways, and many different places, but I'll only accept you in an environment fitting of your actions.
Doctor George Lambert: Oh yeah, where's that?
Nurse Sally Keating: The psychiatric ward!
See more »


Followed by Murder by an Aristocrat (1936) See more »


The Lady In Red
(1935) (uncredited)
Music by Allie Wrubel
Lyrics by Mort Dixon
Sung a cappella by Don Barclay with modified lyrics
See more »

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User Reviews

Calling Dr. Harrigan, Dr. Lambert, Dr. Harrigan!
19 July 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

A Warner's "Clue Club" presentation, this short (just over one hour) murder mystery will satisfy the hidden sleuths in the audience. As with so many murder thrillers then and now, "The Murder of Dr. Harrigan" is set in a hospital where nurses compete for recognition, advancement, and romance with the handsome physicians, especially Dr. Harrigan (John Eldredge) and Dr. Lambert (Ricardo Cortez, being groomed by the studio as a Latin lover). The popularity of this type film led to the highly successful Dr. Kildare series later in the decade and much later to TV's popular "Marcus Welby, M.D." Countless other imitations have appeared and are still popping up from time to time.

The mystery is extremely complex for its day and time. Suffice it to say that a medicinal sleeping formula is being touted by several members of the hospital staff including the administrator, Peter Melady. That he has the completed formula works to his disadvantage since his rivals are determined to claim it for their own. Melady is preparing himself for an operation while his wife, Agnes (Anita Kerry), is in the same hospital with a broken arm. She is surreptitiously being entertained by her paramour, Kenneth Martin (Gordon "William" Elliott--maybe this is how he got his epithet "Wild Bill"). Peter Melady asks his arch rival, Dr. Harrigan, to perform the operation. This is like asking Jack the Ripper to perform an appendectomy on a lady of the evening. To make a long synopsis short, Dr. Harrigan ends up stabbed to death, Dr. Melady ends up missing in action, and an African-American winds up being taken to the morgue, leaving a covey of suspects lurking in the corridors.

The romantic angle is almost as confusing. Dr. Lambert is lusting after vivacious nurse, Sally Keating (Kay Linaker), who in turn is lusting after him. Nurse Lillian Cooper (Mary Astor) is lusting after one of the suspects in the case, plus is burdened with a secret revealed at the end of the flick. Nurse Brody (Mary Treen) lusts after a funny line. And Agnes Melady, needless to say, is still lusting after Wild Bill.

Besides Nurse Brody, humor is provided by the patients, particularly Wentworth (Johnny Arthur) as a whiner with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder who is staying in the hospital for a much-needed rest but keeps being bothered by nurses, doctors, plumbers, the police, and other patients; and by Jackson (Don Barclay), a harmless dipsomaniac who drinks rubbing alcohol and runs amok.

"The Murder of Dr. Harrigan" is worthwhile for those of us who love a good mystery. This is a short entertaining programmer in the Warner's "Clue Club" series, which included the popular "While the Patient Slept."

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