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After five men previously acquitted of various criminal charges are murdered by a mysterious avenger known as Dr. Rx, police Inspector Hurd and Sergeant Sweeney ask private investigator Jerry Church to help them on the case. He takes the case after talking to Dudley Crispin, a brilliant attorney who had defended three of the murdered men. Crispin gains an acquittal for his latest client, Zarini, but the latter falls dead in the courtroom. Jerry marries Kit Logan, who becomes frightened and persuades Jerry to quit the case. He stays however after Ernie Paul, suspected of the Zarini murder, threatens to "get" him if he does not stay on and clear Paul. Dr. Rx captures Jerry and attempts to frighten him into insanity by strapping him on an operating table, and pretending to exchange the detective's brain for a gorilla.Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The handsome Patric Knowles is cast as Jerry Church, a private detective who reluctantly agrees to look into an odd series of murders. The victims are criminals who had been acquitted of their misdeeds, and the killer would seem to be an avenging medico who leaves their literal calling cards on the body of each victim.
Despite how this may be advertised, "The Strange Case of Doctor Rx" is NOT sci-fi or horror but a mystery thriller with heavy doses of comedy. However, once this viewer got over his disappointment, he had some fun with it. Characters CONSTANTLY bicker and banter with each other; it would be true to say that there's way more talk here than action. And the dialogue is more silly than genuinely funny, although it garners some modest chuckles now and then. The convoluted plot (concocted by Clarence Upson Young) ultimately leads to a climactic scene where the villain comes out of the dark (so to speak) to terrorize our hero.
Knowles is good in the lead, and the cast is full of familiar and reliable actors: Anne Gwynne as Knowles' leading lady, Samuel S. Hinds as successful defence attorney Dudley Crispin, Mona Barrie as his wife, Paul Cavanagh as his brother, Edmund MacDonald as flustered police captain Hurd, and John Gallaudet as menacing mobster Ernie Paul. The most blatant comedy relief, unsurprisingly, is delivered by Shemp Howard as a REALLY dumb cop, and Mantan Moreland as Churchs' agitated manservant. Both men are hilarious. However, the film makes an egregious waste of Lionel Atwill, as a mystery man appearing throughout.
"The Strange Case of Doctor Rx" can get tiresome at times, but at least it has the typically short running time of many programmers from this era, so even if viewers dislike it, they don't have to stick it out for too, too long. It isn't until near the end that it introduces more of a sci-fi / horror element....complete with a dude in a gorilla suit.
Silly, put passable.
Five out of 10.
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