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|Index||12 reviews in total|
Hardly likely to rank with an Agatha Christie type of mystery, these
are fast paced, entertaining little items from Columbia starring WARNER
BAXTER as the crime doctor/sleuth. He's always faced with a bunch of
red herrings and a crime that baffles the police--as well as the
viewer, at least until the last five minutes when everything is wrapped
up with such rapidity that you barely have time to recover from trying
to guess who done it.
And there are plenty of suspects in the murder of models (male and female) and an artist--but at the center of the story is a young man (COULTER IRWIN) who blacks out on a regular basis and seems to be framed for the murder of one of his models.
Supporting cast is dotted with well-known character actors from the '40s, including JOHN LITEL as a detective, ALMA KRUGER as Coulter's overbearing mother, JOHN ABBOTT as a shady sculptor, and MILES MANDER as an equally shady art dealer. There's also an outrageously hammy performance by EDUARDO CIANNELLI as a crazed artist who knows something about a painting beneath a painting.
The viewer is kept in the dark as to the identity of a man creeping about and committing the crimes until the last few minutes in time for the usual abrupt ending.
Summing up: Too many elements of the story are unbelievable, but it's still briskly produced and passes the time quickly.
This was another nice entry in the Crime Doctor film series and sharper
and darker than those preceding, maybe partly thanks to Columbia b unit
director William Castle who teetered on the edge of murky seediness
Engage your senses from the off: there's a puzzling opening with Dr. Ordway (Warner Baxter) and a police Inspector (John Litel) reviewing their case in the bedroom of a murdered woman who had been stabbed earlier in the day. The man suspected has "mental lapses" but Ordway doesn't believe he did it, meaning at this stage we haven't seen the crime or the victim and are rooting for the suspect we haven't seen yet either! Psychoanalysis is called for, along with the usual unhindered sleuthing from the good Doctor. There's a descent into the Bohemian world of artists, models and paintings - most regrettably of gorgeous young women instead of ugly old men, plenty of lovely creeping about in the dark usually with pointy shadowy hats on, and an outlandish plot great stuff! Favourite bits: the meeting between Baxter and art dealer Miles Mander the epitome of succinct and scholarly sinisterness; the busy traffic up on the roof at night and those fabulous apartment windows; the hurried snack Baxter and Litel have after the second murder what was that all about?
Well worth while to a fan of the genre, the effort will probably be too much for non-fans. I was concentrating so hard I missed what the Warning of the title was (if there was one), but my own warning is if you watch it be careful not to blink near the end because they closed this one down fast.
One of the better films in the Crime Doctor series, this entry has
enough variety to sustain interest, enough characters to keep one
confused, and enough twists and turns to keep the viewer guessing as to
the perpetrator right up towards the end.
But where has the luscious Dusty Anderson, who plays one of the artist models, been all my viewing career? A bit player for Columbia around the end of WW II, research reveals that she married director Jean Negulesco and became a painter, not too far distant a profession from the one she plays in this movie. I'd suggest to anybody wanting to see more of her, however briefly, to look for her in one of several Rita Hayworth movies. (Check her IMDb.com entry for a list.)
For me, however, this movie was stolen by J. M. Kerrigan and Miles Mander, both of whom play art dealers, and both highly credible in their parts, the former a Scotsman who "would swim to Glasgow for a farthing" (if I recall the quote correctly), and the latter a sophisticated high-end dealer who doesn't sell any painting for under $500 (no small sum in those days).
Warner Baxter reprises his role as the "Crime Doctor" in "The Crime
Doctor's Warning," one of the later entries into the series. The
director this time is William Castle.
In this episode, Dr. Ordway is trying to help a young artist who has blackouts, during which one of his models is killed.
I have to disagree with those who found this fast-paced. For me, it moves slowly, though the story is interesting. These Crime Doctor films generally have off-beat stories, but not the budget or quality directors to bring them up a level. In this case, Castle is an effective director, all right, but some of the acting is awful particularly from Coulter Irwin, who apparently was told to act like a vegetable.
Warner Baxter, so frenetic in "42nd Street," is much more relaxed as Dr. Ordway, probably because he suffered a nervous breakdown. In any event, he's very natural and a likable character.
These movies aren't great, but they sure did come up with some wild plots.
Another consultation gets Warner Baxter as the famous Crime Doctor
involved in another murder. Young Coulter Irwin is having some kind of
flashback occurrences and keeps wandering over to a location that he
has no apparent meaning for him.
Before Baxter finishes he's involved in the murder of three female artist's models and of course it's Irwin who's suspected because of the unexplained blackouts and because he's an artist.
The problem with the Crime Doctor series and with some of the B mystery series is that many times the small cast doesn't leave you too many suspects. In this case the murderer's behavior early on does kind of tip you off in terms of his identity.
Still Warner Baxter is always good in whatever film he's in and he gets good support from a familiar cast of players.
Dr. Robert Ordway, (Warner Baxter) plays another role as Crime Doctor and gets involved with a young man named Clive Lake, (Coulter Irwin) who has problems with black outs when he returned from WWII. Clive lives with his mother who is very domineering and is very unhappy about her son falling in love with a model and then her sudden death which was caused by a murder. The police get involved and Inspector Davis, (John Litel) wants to book Clive for the girls killing; however, Dr. Ordway feels that Clive is innocent of the crime and proceeds with his own investigation, meanwhile other murders are committed. There is a painting called "The Ring" which shows three models in the picture which will reveal some deep dark secrets about the murders Nice low budget film from the past. Enjoy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILERS*** Uneven and confusing "Crime Doctor" movie that has to do
with this psycho who has in in for young female models who the "Crime
Doctor" Dr.Robert Ordway, Warren Baxter, teamed up with police
inspector Dawes, John Litel, to put out of commission and behind bars.
We have this side plot in the film involving the young and sensitive artist Clive Lake, Coulter Irwin, who's fiancée Connie Mace, Rusty Anderson, ended up being one of the psycho's victims! And on top of all that the amnesic Clive is later arrested in Connie's murder! The fact that Clive has been suffering from blackouts since he was a little boy, when his mom locked him in a closet, didn't help him in coming up with a alibi in where he was when Connie was murdered!
It's Dr.Ordway who tries to give the very depressed Clive some confidence in his work as an artist by paying off famed art aficionado Fredrick Malone, Miles Mander,to display one of his works at his gallery in the city's famed Latin Quater. This is before Clive was arrested and charged with Connie's murder which made this all look ridicules in that he far more pressing problems like a life sentence behind bars instead of a future as an artist to worry about.
The "Crime Doctor" does sniff out some clues in Connie's murder one of which is a safety deposit key that her killer dropped at the murder scene that was later retrieved from Dr.Ordway's rooming house while he was fast asleep. That's after bopping him on his head when he tried to follow the killer outside. The movie really goes nowhere with Clive losing and then recovering, due to Dr.Ordway's hypnotic powers, his memory while he's in jail. It's later almost halfway through the film that the on and off awake Clive, in him almost putting us watching the movie asleep, mercifully disappeared from sight never to be seen again as if his presents wasn't needed anymore.
***SPOILERS*** Dr. Ordway does in fact track down Connie as well as other model Ellain Stewart's killer by tracking down the identity of the third model that was murdered by the deranged psycho who turned out to be his wife of one month Evelyn Harris! The killer made the mistake in having a portrait of Evelyn together with Connie & Ellain, called "The Ring", covered up with watercolors by artist Jimmy Gordon, John Abbott,instead of just burning it thus having the evidence of his crimes burnt along with it!
By Dr.Ordway finding the portrait he could now prove that the killer in fact knew the two women Elline & Connie who ended up dead with the third Evelyn. That's after he murdered her and turned Evelyn into a paper machete doll to keep him company with! The very unsurprising ending with the killer eagerly exposing himself just to be arrested and put behind bars was even more silly then it looked at first. The killer was so overwhelmed in him being discovered by Dr. Ordway that he in fact almost dropped his gun, which he seemed to have trouble handling, in all the excitement! The Doc could have easily disarmed him far more effectively and without any effort then Inspector Dawes and the some half dozen policemen who burst into the place to take the both feeble and helpless old man down!
The previous entry was a bit bizarre, although I liked it a great deal,
with explanations that did not completely add up and a horror sideplot
to boot. This time the Crime Doctor series goes back to the mental
aspect of crime, the one for which Dr. Robert Ordway (Warner Baxter) is
so well trained.
Two female artists' models are murdered in the bohemian district of the city, and Ordway is brought in on the case by Inspector Dawes (John Litel), because there seems to be no motive. There are a couple of woman haters among the male artists and models, but suspect number one is a young man, Clive Lake, who has lapses of memory, and who came to Ordway as a patient in the first place because he is scared he may be injuring others during this "lost time". Also, the second victim was Clive's fiancée and her body was found stuffed under his couch during one of those times when he was having a memory lapse. The origin of Clive's lapses comes from childhood when his mother locked him in a closet as punishment and then forgot about him for three hours. Did I mention Clive's wealthy mom really hates the idea of him marrying a model, thinking she is just after Clive's money? I'll let you watch and see how this all works out. There is also an odd bit of casting here. John Litel, who is a police inspector here, played a master criminal and enemy of Ordway in the original Crime Doctor film. It's funny when I see things like this in any of the Columbia B crime serials of the 40's, because, at the time, Columbia considered them just filler versus their prestige films. Plus, with WWII on at the time, and Columbia being a poverty row studio, it was hard to find any A-list male stars that were not in the service. Yet these B films from the 40's - Crime Doctor, Boston Blackie, Lone Wolf - are the Columbia films I really enjoy watching from that period.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You just can't go too wrong when William Castle directs something. I
really love sitting back and watching an old Black & White mystery. THE
CRIME DOCTOR'S WARNING fills the bill. Very good story line and
not-over-the-top dramatic dialogue. Dr. Robert Ordway(Warner Baxter)is
a brilliant criminologist and is requested by the local authority,
Inspector Dawes(John Lidle)to investigate the murder of two artist's
models. Modern artist Clive Lake(Coulter Irwin)seems suspect because of
having ravaging headaches and blackouts about the same time as the
murders. When it is discovered that the two young ladies posed for a
missing painting with a third model, Dr. Ordway seems to be racing the
clock trying to find that missing painting, plus the identity of the
third model whose life may be in jeopardy.
Also in the cast: John Abbott, Dusty Anderson, Miles Mander and Franco Corsaro.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
John Litel had been in the first "Crime Doctor" movie - he had played a
tough mobster who wanted Ordway dead. Now he returns as Inspector Dawes
who needs Ordway's help in solving the murder of a young model in this
above average entry in the "Crime Doctor" series. This movie has Ordway
taking a much more active approach in the proceedings as opposed to the
later ones when he often took a back seat to the harassed detectives.
A young painter, Clive Lake, hesitantly visits Ordway complaining of black outs but before they can meet again Clive's fiancée Connie ("Dusty" Anderson) is murdered. Things look bad for Clive. He went up on the roof to think things out, then a mysterious cloaked man (looking similar to Clive) is seen entering his studio flat via the skylight and then killing Connie whose body is discovered soon after, under a bed. Everyone in the room (there was a party going on) is a suspect and Ordway is soon plunged into the world of artists and models.
He visits Malone's Fine Arts Gallery, hoping that if Malone accepts one of Clive's paintings, the young artist's confidence will be restored as will his sanity. Malone isn't keen but when Ordway returns to the gallery it is to find that the painting has already been brought by a stranger. The Crime Doctor is then followed by a caped stranger - who can it be - is it the garrulous Bohemian painter Duval, a disgruntled sitter or even the dour silhouette artist??
Clive returns to his domineering mother whose harsh treatment when he was a child is at the root of his blackouts. Under hypnosis Ordway hopes Clive will name the man on the roof - ??? - and he also recalls that Connie and the model who was murdered at the film's beginning both posed for a painting called "The Ring" and Ordway now has a race to find the third girl before she is killed. The search leads him back to a familiar face who married the third model, killed her and then tracked down the other two to prevent an investigation.
This is another compelling entry in the Crime Doctor series - George Meeker, who seemed to have roles in almost all the series, appeared in this one as one of Clive Lake's greedy relatives.
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