6.4/10
2,959
68 user 51 critic

Doctor X (1932)

Unrated | | Comedy, Crime, Horror | 27 August 1932 (USA)
A wisecracking New York reporter intrudes on a research scientist's quest to unmask The Moon Killer.

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Robert Tasker (screen play), Earl Baldwin (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lionel Atwill ... Dr. Jerry Xavier
Fay Wray ... Joanne Xavier
Lee Tracy ... Lee Taylor
Preston Foster ... Dr. Wells
John Wray ... Dr. Haines
Harry Beresford ... Dr. Duke
Arthur Edmund Carewe ... Dr. Rowitz
Leila Bennett ... Mamie
Robert Warwick ... Police Commissioner Stevens
George Rosener ... Otto
Willard Robertson ... Detective O'Halloran
Thomas E. Jackson ... Daily World Editor (as Thomas Jackson)
Harry Holman ... Mike - Waterfront Policeman
Mae Busch ... Cathouse Madame
Tom Dugan ... Sheriff
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Storyline

A monster lurks as New York newspaperman Lee Taylor investigates one of the "Moon Killer" murders, in which the victims are strangled, cannibalized and surgically incised under the light of the full moon. The trail leads to the cliffside mansion of Dr. Xavier, where the doctor and his colleagues conduct a strange experiment. Written by Diana Hamilton <hamilton@gl.umbc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You'll Never Forget It As Long As You Live! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The second film at Warner Bros. to be shot with the "improved" Technicolor two-strip "Process 3" that had a much finer grain, resulting in better color and clarity. The first one was Manhattan Parade (1931). Warner Bros. abandoned the format (as did other studios) due to its expense and lackluster box office. See more »

Goofs

As Dr. Xavier displays the wax figures of the murder victims, on the first figure, that of the "woman of the streets", the left hand can be seen trembling slightly. See more »

Quotes

Police Commissioner Stevens: I hope we're not disturbing you, Professor.
Dr. Haines, Academy of Surgical Research: Not at all, I was just relaxing.
Dr. Jerry Xavier: Professor Haines is a most intensive worker. I've just been telling Mr. Stevens of your phenomenal experiments in brain grafting.
Dr. Haines, Academy of Surgical Research: Oh, Doctor, Doctor, come! Come, I want to show you! I want to show you a new type of brain cell.
Dr. Jerry Xavier: That should be interesting, Professor.
Dr. Haines, Academy of Surgical Research: I'm sure you'll find it so.
Dr. Jerry Xavier: On the slide?
Dr. Haines, Academy of Surgical Research: Yes.
Detective O'Halloran: [O'Halloran opens a ledger] Look!
[He shows Stevens a stack of girlie magazines]
[...]
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Alternate Versions

This film was shot in two versions. One camera unit, under Ray Rennahan, shot the film in two-color Technicolor. A second camera unit, under Richard Towers, shot the scenes at the same time in black and white. The black and white version was meant for foreign territories where Technicolor did not have facilities. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Darkman (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Black Bottom
(1926) (uncredited)
Music by Ray Henderson
Hummed by Lee Tracy while imprisoned in the closet
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User Reviews

 
"Synthetic" early horror film is fun despite a hokey plot...
1 December 2005 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

When you think of it, everything about this film is strictly synthetic...the plot, the hokey comic relief, the occasional ham acting--but the atmosphere photographed in crisp looking two-strip Technicolor is fully charged and the taut direction of Michael Curtiz (long before he did another more polished noir called THE UNSUSPECTED), makes this a very watchable early horror film from Warner Bros.

The Anton Grot sets in early color will keep the viewer totally enhanced even when the plot holes become too obvious. The annoying comic relief supplied by Lee Tracy as a fast-talking newspaperman (was there any other kind?), is fortunately not much of a handicap when the cast includes an assortment of richly eccentric characters.

I have to confess I guessed who the murderer was from the start--but it didn't dampen my enjoyment of the melodramatic and very creepy events. The storyline concerns a killer known for striking when there's a full moon and Lionel Atwill is the doctor who thinks he can solve the crime by some scientific detective work of his own.

It's the sort of film that became a staple of the "old dark house" mysteries audiences loved in the '20s and '30s--and even into the '40s with films like THE CAT AND THE CANARY. None of it seems quite as compelling as some of the better known fright films (including MURDER IN THE WAX MUSEUM), but we do get a chance to hear some first rate screams from Fay Wray (who looks very attractive in close-ups even though the Max Factor make-up is a little too extreme), and the capable cast includes such sturdy performers as Lionel Atwill and Preston Foster.

Trivia note: The killer's synthetic flesh make-up is very effective when he's in full mode on the kill. Kudos to Michael Curtiz for a fun-filled fright film.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 August 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Doctor X See more »

Filming Locations:

Laguna Beach, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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