10 user 1 critic

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 »


Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

According to the will of an eccentric millionaire, one of four randomly chosen strangers will become his heir if he/she can double $5000 by honest means.

Director: Theodore Reed
Stars: Bing Crosby, Martha Raye, Andy Devine
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Of the singing Beebe brothers, young Mike just wants to be a kid; responsible Dave wants to work in his garage and marry Martha; but feckless Joe thinks his only road to success is through ... See full summary »

Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Bing Crosby, Fred MacMurray, Donald O'Connor
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Although Vivian Revere is seemingly the most successful of a trio of reunited schoolmates, she throws it away by descending into a life of debauchery and drugs.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Joan Blondell, Warren William, Ann Dvorak
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Jeff grows up near Basin Street in New Orleans, playing his clarinet with the dock workers. He puts together a band, the Basin Street Hot-Shots, which includes a cornet player, Memphis. ... See full summary »

Director: Victor Schertzinger
Stars: Bing Crosby, Mary Martin, Brian Donlevy
College Humor (1933)
Certificate: Passed Action | Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A college professor and the school's star football player are both rivals for the same beautiful coed.

Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Bing Crosby, Jack Oakie, Richard Arlen
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A family man. (Lionel Barrymore) becomes innocently involved in an embezzlement.

Director: William K. Howard
Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Fay Bainter, Mae Clarke
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

An American singing cowboy who has become an oil millionaire is convinced to stay at an Balkan village waiting for his bride-to-be who is getting the divorce in Paris, where they expect to ... See full summary »

Director: Frank Tuttle
Stars: Bing Crosby, Franciska Gaal, Akim Tamiroff
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Larry Poole, in prison on a false charge, promise an inmate that when he gets out he will look up and help out a family. The family turns out to be a young girl, Patsy Smith, and her ... See full summary »

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Bing Crosby, Madge Evans, Edith Fellows
Anything Goes (1936)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A young man falls in love with a beautiful blonde. When he sees her being forced onto a luxury liner, he decides to follow and rescue her. However, he discovers that she is an English ... See full summary »

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Bing Crosby, Ethel Merman, Charles Ruggles


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 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?


Louis Armstrong's sequence was initially deleted from the initial release print, but later restored when the film was re-issued. See more »


On the Sentimental Side
Written by James V. Monaco and Johnny Burke
Sung by Bing Crosby
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Bing's big boo-boo; Lillie's shilly-shally
18 August 2005 | by F Gwynplaine MacIntyreSee all my reviews

'Doctor Rhythm' is the worst film Bing Crosby ever starred in. Bing made this movie at his home studio Paramount during one of his best career arcs. The film has good production values, especially an impressive studio mock-up of Manhattan's Central Park. So, why is this film so painfully dull?

Part of the problem is down to a weak score. The best song here is the insipid 'This Is My Night to Dream'. The script is even worse. Ostensibly, this movie is based on O. Henry's story 'The Badge of Policeman O'Roon'. In that story, a fictional war hero clearly based on Theodore Roosevelt impersonates his friend O'Roon (a mounted police officer assigned to Central Park) when O'Roon is unable to fulfil his duties: the brief story ends with one of O. Henry's trademark coincidences. If Paramount had actually filmed that story (which had barely enough plot to sustain a feature-length film), the result would have been better than this mess. Instead, we have a weird plot in which Crosby is a white-coated medico who illegally substitutes for his policeman friend, foot patrolman Andy Devine. The trim-figured Crosby looks dapper in a patrolman's tunic, but the huge slobby Devine looks so different from Bing that it's difficult to imagine Crosby substituting for Devine. And where did Crosby's character find a police tunic that fits him so well? The opening scene of this movie -- an illicit midnight foot-race in Central Park -- is fast-moving and shows promise, but the film's all downhill from there. I blame screenwriter Jo Swerling, a man of little talent who nevertheless got his name onto several prestigious projects. Swerling is contractually credited as co-author of the great Broadway musical 'Guys and Dolls', but that theatre classic does not retain a single word of Swerling's original (and worthless) script.

The single worst problem with 'Dr Rhythm' is that someone at Paramount intended it to be a star vehicle for Bea Lillie, who only briefly appears alongside Bing in this movie. The Canadian-born Bea Lillie was married to a British peer and was often mistakenly assumed to be English. In the 1930s, Lillie was a huge star in Broadway musicals ... however, it's notable that she only starred in revues: shows with songs and skits but no plot. In the 1960s, Lillie played Madame Arcati in the Broadway musical 'High Spirits': this was her one and only success in a book musical. Lillie simply didn't have the acting ability to carry a narrative story. She starred in a semi-amusing silent, 'Exit Smiling', but most of her other film work is in supporting roles. I found her performance in 'Around the World in Eighty Days' deeply annoying.

In 'Dr Rhythm', the banal plot and Bing's groaning are interrupted a couple of times so that Bea Lillie's specialities can get crowbarred into the movie. We see the routine in which she orders a double dozen double damask dinner napkins from a flustered shop clerk; Lillie had done this routine on Broadway but was careful never to perform it in Britain, where audiences knew that Lillie had stolen the routine from Cicely Courtneidge. We also get here another of Lillie's stage schticks: she is seen standing still on stage, wearing a formal gown that reaches to the floor, entirely concealing her feet. With much pomp, Lillie recites a dignified speech ... then she hikes up her skirt to reveal that she's wearing roller skates, and she skates merrily away. That's about as funny as this movie gets. It doesn't help that Lillie is physically unattractive. She looks like a cross between Norma Shearer and Jughead Jones. Mary Carlisle, Bing's love interest here, is blonde and pretty but dull as dishwater.

Bea Lillie simply didn't have enough material to carry a starring role in a feature film, but there's enough of her on offer here to seriously weaken 'Dr Rhythm' as a Bing Crosby vehicle. Usually, when an important stage performer makes a rare screen appearance, I commend the film for preserving the performer's act. In this case, 'Dr Rhythm' serves the useful function of proving that Bea Lillie wasn't very funny. I can't recommend this movie to anyone but Bing Crosby completists, for whom I'll rate it just 1 point out of 10.

3 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 10 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed