7 user 5 critic

Mystery of the White Room (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Mystery, Romance | 17 March 1939 (USA)
In the middle of an eye-surgery operation in a large hospital, the lights in the operating room go out and the chief surgeon is murdered. It is the job of Police-Detective Spencer to figure... See full summary »


Otis Garrett


Alex Gottlieb (screenplay), James G. Edwards (novel) (as James G. Edwards M.D.)


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

More Like This 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Impoverished Count von Dopenthal plans to commit suicide and spends his last night at a costume ball. There he meets lovely Lela Fischer and falls in love with her. A chance meeting with his former butler, brings a job offer as a gigolo.

Director: Stuart Walker
Stars: Herbert Marshall, Sari Maritza, Charles Ruggles
Gambling Ship (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

A gambler uses his winnings to help support an orphanage.

Director: Aubrey Scotto
Stars: Robert Wilcox, Helen Mack, Edward Brophy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The story of a criminal who flees with his son only to find themselves trapped in a snowstorm with a school bus full of children.

Director: Arthur Lubin
Stars: Bruce Cabot, Ralph Byrd, Zasu Pitts
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Railroaded to an insane asylum twenty years ago by four men who had taken over his newspaper, Lucius Marplay, publisher of the London Sun, escapes with the sole intent of murdering the four... See full summary »

Director: Otis Garrett
Stars: Edmund Lowe, Wendy Barrie, Bruce Lester
Night Key (1937)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The inventor of a new top-of-the-line burglar alarm system is kidnapped by a gang in order to get him to help them commit robberies.

Director: Lloyd Corrigan
Stars: Boris Karloff, Warren Hull, Jean Rogers
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

A rookie cop and his girlfriend's uncle, a police captain, disagree on the methods that should be used to catch criminals.

Director: Charles Lamont
Stars: Dick Foran, Harry Carey, June Lang
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The wedding of their daughter brings many surprises, including a determined bill collector, a bad business venture, an elopement, and an unexpected windfall. They all add up to a barrel of one-liners and slap-stick.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Edna May Oliver, Billie Burke, Marian Nixon
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Keith Neville and Dan Casey, two small-time stage actors, are traveling by bus back two New York City, and have an overnight stay in a small town. They take a room in a local hotel and a ... See full summary »

Director: Gus Meins
Stars: Michael Whalen, Lynne Roberts, Chick Chandler
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

When Prohibition ends, the mobsters move into the "protection" racket. Those who do not pay are knocked off. Small town reporter Ruth wants a job at the big city paper, but the editor will ... See full summary »

Director: Errol Taggart
Stars: Stuart Erwin, Paul Kelly, Florence Rice
Nightmare (1942)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An ex-gambler helps a beautiful widow, and becomes involved with a murder, secret agents, and saboteurs.

Director: Tim Whelan
Stars: Diana Barrymore, Brian Donlevy, Henry Daniell
Topaze I (1933)
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An honest and naive schoolteacher gets a lesson in how the world works outside the classroom, when a rich Baron and his mistress use the teacher's name and outstanding reputation in a ... See full summary »

Director: Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast
Stars: John Barrymore, Myrna Loy, Reginald Mason
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An American in London stumbles on a criminal ring.

Director: Ernest B. Schoedsack
Stars: Robert Armstrong, Helen Mack, Roland Young


Cast overview:
Bruce Cabot ... Dr. Bob Clayton
Helen Mack ... Carole Dale
Joan Woodbury ... Lila Haines
Constance Worth ... Ann Stokes
Thomas E. Jackson ... Sgt. Macintosh Spencer (as Thomas Jackson)
Tom Dugan ... Hank Manley
Mabel Todd ... Dora Stanley
Roland Drew ... Dr. Norman Kennedy
Addison Richards ... Dr. Finley Morton
Frank Reicher ... Dr. Amos Thornton
Frank Puglia ... Tony
Don Porter ... Dr. Donald Fox


In the middle of an eye-surgery operation in a large hospital, the lights in the operating room go out and the chief surgeon is murdered. It is the job of Police-Detective Spencer to figure out who in the room had something to gain from his death. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Crime Club Mystery thriller that's a shriek with excitement (original poster) See more »


Crime | Mystery | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

17 March 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Murder in the Surgery See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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?


Shooting began Feb. 2, 1939, released a month later, on Mar. 17. See more »


Sergeant Macintosh Spencer: [to Tom Dugan] "You're as unbalanced as the budget".
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Seen on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater in 1975
28 May 2011 | by kevinolzakSee all my reviews

1939's "Mystery of the White Room" was number 6 of the 7 Crime Club mysteries produced by Universal from 1937 to 1939, and one of the three included in the popular SHOCK! package of classic horror films issued to television in the late 50's. Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater aired it twice, on February 8 1975 (following 1969's "Crucible of Horror" and second feature 1939's "The Human Monster") and April 16 1977 (following 1956's "The Creature Walks Among Us"). Boasting as fine a 'B' cast as Universal could offer that year, Bruce Cabot stars as Dr. Bob Clayton, who conducts an emergency operation on another doctor's patient, supported by former chief surgeon Amos Thornton (Frank Reicher, reunited with Cabot after "King Kong"), against the strict hospital rules enforced by current chief surgeon Finley Morton (Addison Richards). The following morning, a different operation finds Morton himself stabbed to death with one of Thornton's stolen scalpels, during a brief blackout engineered from the basement. The unseen thief was spotted by janitor Frank Puglia, whose now blind condition can be averted by delicately transplanting the corneas of the late Dr. Morton (shades of 1944's "Dead Man's Eyes"), hoping that he will then be able to identify the culprit. Among the nurses are an excellent Helen Mack, Joan Woodbury, Constance Worth, and underrated comic relief blonde Mabel Todd, whose distinctive laugh could be adorable or irritating (or even both!). Roland Drew and Don Porter (billed last in his film debut) are suspected doctors, with Thomas E. Jackson ("Little Caesar") as the investigating detective, contributing several sharp rebukes of comic relief ambulance driver Tom Dugan, calling him "Useless" or "You with the face," or my favorite, "would you do me a favor? Go down to the morgue, tell 'em I said you're ready." At another point, Dugan wants to announce his theory to the detective, who says "not while I'm conscious!" An intimate moment between Bruce Cabot and adorable Helen Mack ends with her backing away from a passionate kiss with the memorable line, "is there a doctor in the house?" One thoroughly enjoyable whodunit not weighed down by its comedy, briskly paced at a fast moving 58 minutes. Appearing uncredited are Holmes Herbert as the hospital administrator, Byron Foulger as the coroner, and John Harmon as Pete, the fingerprint man. The next Crime Club would be the last, "The Witness Vanishes."

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 7 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