6.4/10
274
11 user 6 critic

Dr. Crippen (1963)

The real-life story of Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen, who was hanged in London in 1910 for poisoning his wife so he could be with his young lover. But was he truly guilty of murder?

Director:

Robert Lynn

Writer:

Leigh Vance
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Pleasence ... Dr. Crippen
Samantha Eggar ... Ethel Le Neve
Coral Browne ... Belle Elmore
Donald Wolfit ... R.D. Muir (as Sir Donald Wolfit)
James Robertson Justice ... Captain McKenzie
John Arnatt ... Inspector Dew
Paul Carpenter Paul Carpenter ... Bruce Martin
Oliver Johnston ... Lord Chief Justice
John Lee ... Harry
Olga Lindo Olga Lindo ... Mrs Arditti
Elspeth March ... Mrs Jackson
Geoffrey Toone ... Tobin
Edward Underdown Edward Underdown ... The Governor
Douglas Bradley-Smith Douglas Bradley-Smith ... Dr. Pepper
Hamilton Dyce Hamilton Dyce ... Dr. Rogers
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Storyline

A dramatization of Britain's notorious Crippen murder case. American-born Hawley Harvey Crippen (nicknamed "Peter"), a mild-mannered, middle-aged doctor who made his living in London selling quack remedies, was convicted and hanged in 1910 for poisoning his wife, Belle, dismembering her body and burying the remains in the coal cellar of their home before fleeing England with his mistress, Ethel Le Neve, only to be arrested aboard ship while en route to North America. The movie opens with the start of Crippen's trial in the Old Bailey; flashbacks provide a look at the misery of Crippen's marriage to the overbearing Belle, a failed music-hall performer with an eye for younger men, and how Crippen found true love in the person of his young secretary, until events reached their dreadful climax. That Crippen caused his wife's death, there is little doubt, but this movie wonders: Was it a deliberate act? Written by Eugene Kim <genekim@concentric.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

If you want to remember your wife, send flowers. If you want to dismember her... see DR. CRIPPEN See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | History | Horror

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 June 1966 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Doctor Crippen See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Torchlight Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Robertson Justice receives a "Guest Star" credit. See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Not a One Man Woman
(uncredited)
Music by Ken Jones
Lyrics by Joe Roncoroni (as Dominic John)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
True crime story enlivened by a good look and fine performances
10 February 2016 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

DR. CRIPPEN is an effective retelling of a true crime story, bolstered by a typically excellent turn from Donald Pleasence in the titular role. Pleasence makes every facet of his flawed lead his own, and in the end you can truly believe that he is Crippen. He also helps to make Crippen a sympathetic character despite the turn of events that occurs.

The format of the film is kept simple and straightforward, with much of the story told in flashback and courtroom drama making up the rest. It feels a little bit staid and ordinary, but Nic Roeg's cinematography at least makes it look good and the cast is decent: Samantha Eggar convinces as the youthful mistress, while Coral Browne is so overbearing that you can't help but sympathise with poor Crippen. A typically fiery Donald Wolfit (BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE) plays the prosecutor with his usual aplomb.


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