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Crime Doctor (1943)

Amnesia victim, Robert Ordway, becomes the country's leading criminal psychologist. When he is hit on the head (by someone from his past) he suddenly remembers his previous life as a ... See full summary »



(screenplay) (as Graham Baker), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »


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Cast overview:
... Dr. Robert Ordway / Phillip Morgan
... Grace Fielding
... Emilio Caspari
... Dr. John Carey
... Joe Dylan
... Nick Ferris
... William Wheeler


Amnesia victim, Robert Ordway, becomes the country's leading criminal psychologist. When he is hit on the head (by someone from his past) he suddenly remembers his previous life as a criminal. Written by Herman Seifer <alagain@aol.com>

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Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

22 June 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El oráculo del crimen  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Fans of The Three Stooges may recognize the same cheap studio sets and on-the-quick lighting we associate with their B&W shorts. Typical of the B pictures Harry Cohn's Columbia Pictures Gower Street lot ground out in the 1940s, Crime Doctor (1943) and many of the best Stooges shorts were shot during the same World War II years. Crime Doctor (1943) is one of the first films directed by Michael Gordon, who was from the Yale Drama School and The Group Theater with Elia Kazan, and who, after many years of being blacklisted during the McCarthy red scare era, eventually directed the Doris Day / Rock Hudson hit Pillow Talk (1959). See more »


Followed by The Crime Doctor's Warning (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

America leaves the gangster era behind ...
6 February 2011 | by See all my reviews

... as well as the Great Depression as a two front war with everything at stake yields bigger fish to fry. This is what this first film in the Crime Doctor crime/mystery series represents in the person of Dr. Robert Ordway (Warner Baxter).

The movie opens with a car speeding along the road with a sign referring to the presidential campaign of 1932. The car slows down and an unconscious man is dumped from the vehicle that then speeds off again. Next we see the man without an identity recovering in the hospital with no memory of who he was before. The nurses dub the mystery man Robert Ordway after the wing of the hospital in which he is staying. Kindly Dr. John Carey (Ray Collins) works with Ordway after he is discharged to help him recover his memory, but no association -not even going through the phone book name by name - yields results. A check of his fingerprints with police records also turns up nothing. Of course, all that proves is that Ordway was clever enough to never be arrested, not that he wasn't a criminal. With all of the time he's spent with the good doctor, Ordway has developed an interest in medicine, and with he and Dr. Carey agreeing that the unmasking of his identity is something that he should no longer hope to have solved in the near future, he decides to study medicine himself and specialize in psychiatry.

So Ordway starts out as a freshman in college in his early 30's, with his studies requiring the next ten years of his life. The world changes a great deal in the next ten years - Prohibition ends, the Depression eases, and World War II begins. In all this time Ordway is no closer to recovering his identity. As he begins to practice medicine, he spends a great deal of time working with convicts at the prison. He's drawn here because he wants to do some good but also because he hopes that someone there will recognize him and help him reclaim his memory. In the back of his mind he's got to know that nobody gets dumped as he did from a speeding automobile in 1932 without the high probability that he was somehow mixed up in crime.

There's a complicating factor too. Ordway has become involved with an attractive young woman who works with female ex-cons - Grace Fielding (Margaret Lindsay). At this point, Ordway doesn't even know if he has a wife out there somewhere, so he can't make plans with Grace until he knows his true marital status. How will all of this work out? Watch and find out.

This first in the series was probably never intended to be anything other than just one film, so this movie wraps up in a self-contained kind of way that will leave you wondering what ever happened to this or that character if you watch the whole series. It was a big hit, so Columbia released a whole series featuring the Dr. Robert Ordway character, always starring Warner Baxter, over the next seven years. The rest of the series focuses not so much on Ordway's life as it does on some mystery Ordway has wandered into and how he solves it, but in this first film the mystery is Ordway himself. Who is he really? And if he recovers his memory and the news is bad - will remembering alone make him a criminal all over again? Does a man need a clean slate of a mind to really have a clean slate? Interesting material done in the quick spartan way required by poverty row Columbia's budget, but done well all the same.

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