1938's "The Crime of Doctor Hallet," like 1934's "The Crosby Case" and 1945's "The Crimson Canary," was a non horror Universal that appeared with some frequency on Creature Features across the nation, despite its absence from the studio's popular SHOCK! television package of the late 50's. Pittsburgh's CHILLER THEATER aired the film on 3 occasions, as part of a triple bill (May 10 1975, with 1931's "Dracula" and 1959's "Curse of the Undead"), double bill (June 18 1977, with 1969's "Eye of the Cat"), and solo feature (April 30 1983). Made between the Laemmle regime and the comeback of horror generated by "Son of Frankenstein," this underrated feature stars Ralph Bellamy as Dr. Paul Hallet, working in the jungles of Sumatra with associate Jack Murray (William Gargan), experimenting on monkeys in search of a cure for red fever. Enter a much younger doctor, Phillip Saunders (John "Dusty" King), whose arrival is met with disapproval by the much older Hallet, who consigns the newcomer to a life of cleaning test tubes. Accidentally stumbling on a possible cure, Saunders tries to share his discovery with the unresponsive Hallet, then decides to conduct his own private research without the others knowledge. When Hallet arrives at his own solution, the eager Saunders inoculates himself with red fever, trusting that Hallet's cure will save him, but it fails. Learning that funds have dried up, and that the late Saunders had 4000 dollars in travelers checks, the repentant, guilt ridden Hallet decides to carry on, forging his colleague's name after burying Saunders as Paul Hallet. Complications ensue with a replacement doctor, the beautiful Mary Reynolds (Josephine Hutchinson), and then the widowed wife of the late Saunders (Barbara Read, "The Man Who Cried Wolf"), both unaware of what has transpired in the remote jungle. Unusual Universal fare, and criminally obscure, one of the studio's most unheralded efforts. Brief snatches can be heard of music from both "The Invisible Ray" and "Dracula's Daughter," with unbilled early appearances from William Lundigan, Constance Moore, and Frances Robinson.
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