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Edward L. Cahn
After five men previously acquitted of various criminal charges are murdered by a mysterious avenger known as Dr. Rx, police Inspector Hurd and Sergeant Sweeney ask private investigator Jerry Church to help them on the case. He takes the case after talking to Dudley Crispin, a brilliant attorney who had defended three of the murdered men. Crispin gains an acquittal for his latest client, Zarini, but the latter falls dead in the courtroom. Jerry marries Kit Logan, who becomes frightened and persuades Jerry to quit the case. He stays however after Ernie Paul, suspected of the Zarini murder, threatens to "get" him if he does not stay on and clear Paul. Dr. Rx captures Jerry and attempts to frighten him into insanity by strapping him on an operating table, and pretending to exchange the detective's brain for a gorilla. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
"The Strange Case of Doctor Rx" is billed as a horror film, but it really isn't. It's an all too obvious murder mystery with just one horrific scene that seems spliced in from another movie altogether. William Nigh probably relished the chance to direct at a major studio instead of the salt mine of Monogram, but though the film has handsome production values Nigh brings to it all the trademarks of his Monogram work: dullness, no sense of pace and an unwillingness to tell any of the actors they're overacting. Though billed second, Lionel Atwill is barely in the movie at all until the final reel. The title is obviously intended to evoke memories of Atwill's great film "Doctor X" from Warners in 1932, but the comparison only makes this film seem even worse than it is. The great Black comedian Mantan Moreland easily steals the movie out from under all the white stars; he's genuinely witty and a charismatic screen presence, and he gets the first line of dialogue as well as the final gag. Next to Moreland, the most entertaining aspect of the movie is Patric Knowles' gorgeous Art Deco apartment, where all too much of the film takes place. Why Universal and TCM chose this for their "Cult Horror Classics" boxed set instead of the neglected 1934 masterpiece "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head" (also with Atwill) or the interesting 1942 Edgar Allan Poe adaptation "The Mystery of Marie Roget" (also with Knowles) is a bigger mystery than the supposedly "mysterious" identity of Dr. Rx in this plot.
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