A brilliant Park Avenue doctor becomes a criminal in order to do research into the criminal mind.


Anatole Litvak


John Wexley (screen play), John Huston (screen play) | 1 more credit »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward G. Robinson ... Dr. Clitterhouse
Claire Trevor ... Jo Keller
Humphrey Bogart ... 'Rocks' Valentine
Allen Jenkins ... Okay
Donald Crisp ... Inspector Lane
Gale Page ... Nurse Randolph
Henry O'Neill ... Judge
John Litel ... Prosecuting Attorney
Thurston Hall ... Grant
Maxie Rosenbloom ... Butch
Bert Hanlon Bert Hanlon ... Pat
Curt Bois ... Rabbit
Ward Bond ... Tug
Vladimir Sokoloff ... Popus
Billy Wayne ... Candy


Dr. Clitterhouse is fascinated with the working of the criminal mind. His interest is so deep that he finds the best way to observe criminals in action is to become one himself. Whilst robbing a safe at an exclusive party he stumbles across an organized gang trying to do the same thing. He teams up with the gang to observe them in action but one of the members, Rocks Valentine would like nothing better than to see Clitterhouse out of the way. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


. . . a thunderbolt of thrills and intrigue


Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on June 5, 1944 with Edward G. Robinson and Claire Trevor reprising their film roles. See more »


When Clitterhouse is locked in the sub-zero refrigerated vault for the furs, his breath should be visible. It isn't. See more »


Dr. T.S. Clitterhouse: Now, just relax, counselor. Nothing to be jittery about.
Grant: My dear boy, I've had over a hundred clients face the electric chair. I've never been jittery.
Dr. T.S. Clitterhouse: But your clients were.
See more »


Featured in Bullets Over Hollywood (2005) See more »


Eine kleine Nachtmusik, 1st movement
(1787) (uncredited)
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Played on the phonograph
See more »

User Reviews

Bogart Burning and Biding his time, while Robinson is a Gentleman
17 April 2006 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

As was pointed out in another review, THE AMAZING DR. CLITTERHOUSE was a play, originally , starring Sir Cedric Hardwicke as the polished society doctor who is writing a book on the criminal mind, and needs to become a criminal to get his research. I would have liked to have seen the film with Hardwicke, who probably was a better fit in the part. Screen audiences knew Eddie Robinson could be a brutal, thuggish gangster, like Enrico Bandello in LITTLE CAESAR. He could be funny, like Arthur Jones and Killer Mannion in THE WHOLE TOWN IS TALKING or as Remy Marko in A SLIGHT CASE OF MURDER. But they had little idea of the polished intellectual that Robinson, the art collector, was in real life. He would not really reveal this part of his personality until the 1950s, when he occasionally appeared on game shows and talk shows discussing art. But Hardwicke looked the part of the learned doctor, and had enough restrained threat to look like he could plan and carry out real crimes as well.

But Warner Brothers starred him in THE AMAZING DR. CLITTERHOUSE, presumably to give him a chance to play another comic role, and also to let him stretch his acting abilities. He does well with the role, but he seems less natural in the part (as Hardwicke would have been) than slightly mannered. I think, having seen Sir Cedric on stage, Robinson was trying to overcompensate - and it does not quite work.

As the doctor Robinson was convincing as a lucky dilettante, but not as a serious researcher. It is really the performances of the supporting cast, particularly Humphrey Bogart as "Rocks Valentine", Claire Trevor, and Maxie Rosenbloom. They give real color to the story, particularly Bogie as a vicious type who hates seeing how effortlessly the brilliant Clitterhouse takes leadership of his gang away from him. Bogie's Rocks keeps looking for his opportunities, and even tries to freeze the doctor to death (leading to a powerful moment on the film when a furious Rosenbloom almost pounds him in retaliation). And his attempts to get the goods on Clitterhouse, inevitably, lead to an unexpected tragedy.

Robinson was less than happy with the film - he was right to be. Bogart considered this one of a series (with BULLETS AND BALLOTS, KID GALLAHAD, and BROTHER ORCHID where he and Robinson were rival criminals, and in two of which they killed each other at the conclusion).

He had made THE PETRIFIED FOREST two years before, and DEAD END the year before, and should have been on the way to stardom, but found himself second banana to Robinson or to Cagney, and he was getting fed up. He felt that CLITTERHOUSE was an absolute waste of time, and referred to it by another name, THE AMAZING DR. CLITORIS. It would still be three more years before Bogie would make HIGH SIERRA and THE MALTESE FALCON, and find the stardom that had eluded him in the 1930s.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 38 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

30 July 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Amazing Doctor Clitterhouse See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed