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The Crime of Dr. Forbes (1936)

Injured scientist Eric Godfrey asks his protege to give him a fatal dose of opiates to end his misery. When he dies the doctor is accused of murder.


George Marshall


Frances Hyland (original screenplay), Saul Elkins (original screenplay)




Complete credited cast:
Gloria Stuart ... Ellen Godfrey
Robert Kent ... Dr. Michael Forbes
Henry Armetta ... Luigi
J. Edward Bromberg ... Dr. Eric Godfrey
Sara Haden ... Dr. Anna Burkhart
Alan Dinehart ... Prosecuting Attorney
Charles Lane ... Defense Attorney
DeWitt Jennings ... Judge Benson
Taylor Holmes ... Dr. Robert Empey
Paul Stanton ... Dr. John Creighton
Russell Simpson ... Sheriff Neil
Paul McVey ... John Dunlap
Charles Croker-King Charles Croker-King ... Dean Lewis


Injured scientist Eric Godfrey asks his protege to give him a fatal dose of opiates to end his misery. When he dies the doctor is accused of murder. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

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Crime | Drama






English | Italian

Release Date:

22 April 1937 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mercy Killer See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film, known as "The Mercy Killer" during production, was renamed and released under the title "The Crime of Dr. Forbes". The film, based on recent news stories on "mercy killing", was passed by the Hays office for the screen on agreement that the killer in the film was convicted of the crime. See more »


Referenced in 20th Century Fox Promotional Film (1936) See more »


The Doctor Song
Music by Gene Rose
Lyrics by Sidney Clare
See more »

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User Reviews

Face in the hole.
21 March 2009 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

I was surprised when I saw that this excellent B-movie had no comments at all.I would go as far as to say that Billy Wilder borrowed some of his best ideas for his masterpiece "the big carnival " aka "ace in the hole" from "the crime of Dr Forbes" (he reportedly said he was inspired by a news item).But how can't you think of his movie when ,in this overlooked 1936 work,you see people have a wild time in front of a hole where a man is dying: the "mercy killed hot dogs" short scene alone is worth the price of admission.

The screenplay is very interesting and avoids the triteness of the usual love triangle.Gloria Stuart shines in her scene in the court when she explains what she feels about her husband and the young physician. And I guess mercy killing or euthanasia was not probably an easy safe subject at the time. It's still is an embarrassing matter in 2009.The ending is probably some kind of easy way out,but it is quite smart and ,with the ruthless Hayes code,what else could the writers have done?

A sense of humor tempers this story;the posh ladies visiting the laboratory and their false compassion is a foretaste of the crowds rushing towards the dying scientist.There's also an Italian restaurateur who is subject to egregious gaffes and who illustrates the proverb:"the road to hell is paved with good intentions" .

A very good movie.

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