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Doctor Rhythm (1938)

Dr. Bill Remsen pretends to be a policeman, and ends up being assigned to guard Judy Marlowe. Amazingly, he falls in love with her.


Frank Tuttle


Richard Connell, O. Henry (story "The Badge of Policeman O'Roon") | 2 more credits »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bing Crosby ... Dr. Bill Remsen
Mary Carlisle ... Judy Marlowe
Beatrice Lillie ... Mrs. Lorelei Dodge-Blodgett
Andy Devine ... Officer Lawrence O'Roon
Rufe Davis ... Al (Zookeeper)
Laura Hope Crews ... Mrs. Minerva Twombling
Fred Keating ... Chris LeRoy
John Hamilton ... Insp. Bryce
Sterling Holloway ... Luke (Ice-Cream Man)
Henry Wadsworth ... Otis Eaton (The Drunk)
Franklin Pangborn ... Mr. Stenchfield (Store Clerk)
Harold Minjir ... Mr. Coldwater
William Austin ... Mr. Martingale (The Floorwalker)
Gino Corrado ... Cazzatta
Harry Stubbs Harry Stubbs ... Police Captain


Dr. Bill Remsen pretends to be a policeman, and ends up being assigned to guard Judy Marlowe. Amazingly, he falls in love with her.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Musical







Release Date:

6 May 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Badge of Policeman O'Roon See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Bob Hope is in studio records/casting call lists for a role in this film, but he is not seen. See more »


My Heart Is Taking Lessons
Written by James V. Monaco and Johnny Burke
Sung by Bing Crosby
See more »

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User Reviews

This Crooning Doctor's Got Rhythm
15 June 2001 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

"Doctor Rhythm" (Paramount, 1938), directed by Frank Tuttle, based upon a story, "The Badge of Policeman O'Roon" by O. Henry, is a lightweight musical-comedy starring Bing Crosby, a movie that seems to be best remembered today solely for its "Double Dasmisk Dinner Napkins" routine featuring none other than comedienne Beatrice Lillie (1894-1989) in a very rare screen appearance during Hollywood's Golden Age. And she is not only very funny, but a bizarre personality who seems to be an unlikely performer to be featured in a Bing Crosby musical.

The story opens at Central Park when four alumni of Public School 43 of Brooklyn, N.Y., meet at midnight (?) for their annual reunion. The four men are Luke (Sterling Holloway), an ice cream salesman; Al (Rufe Davis), a zoo keeper; Larry O'Roon (Andy Devine), a policeman; and Doctor William Remsen (Bing Crosby), getting together, and singing the film's first tune, "P.S. 43." Because O'Roon gets nice and drunk and is unable to go on duty the following morning, Remsen decides to take his place for the day, assuming the assignment as a bodyguard to a spoiled heiress named Judy Marlowe (Mary Carlisle), engaged to a phony, Chris LeRoy (Fred Keating) who not only has a questionable past, but is only after her money. Of course, she's unaware of his scheme. After a love-hate relationship between Remsen and Judy, the thin storyline concludes with a policeman's benefit supported by Lorelei Dodge-Blodgett (Bea Lillie) who not only MC's on stage wearing roller skates, but performs in an opera burlesque number titled "Only a Gypsy Knows."

Other songs by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Monaco include: "My Heart is Taking Lessons" (sung by Crosby); "Rhythm" (sung by Bea Lillie); "On the Sentimental Side" "On the Sentimental Side" (reprise); "My Heart is Taking Lessons," "This Is My Night to Dream" (this nice sentimental tune sung by Crosby to Carlisle in the tunnel of love sequence); and "My Heart is Taking Lessons" (sung by Crosby and cast). Although I find many of the songs quite listenable, they are virtually forgotten today.

The supporting players include Franklin Pangborn and William Austin, character actors who partake in the "Double Dasmisk Dinner Napkins" routine; Laura Hope Crews, John Hamilton (the one and only Perry White of the "Superman" TV series of the 1950s) and Henry Wadsworth as Otis. As for blonde and pert Mary Carlisle, she makes her third and final appearance opposite Crosby.

Like many other musicals of the 1930s, "Doctor Rhythm" is just an excuse to have Bing Crosby going through 80 minutes or so of silly plot and introducing several tunes with a songwriter's hope that one of them will end up on the Hit Parade charts before rapping it all up in the end. While no masterpiece, "Doctor Rhythm" is a real curio, and a film's buff's dream to have it resurface again on television or video. (***)

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