Thursday, June 14, 2012

Doctor X (1932)

"... Doctor X will build a creature ..."

No he won't. Sixth movie referenced in the song Science Fiction/Double Feature. Eleven down and item from the bucket list complete.

People are being strangled and partially eaten during the full moon. Papers are calling it the Moon Killer Murders. The police are investigating. They speak with eminent Doctor Xavier (Lionel Atwill), or Doctor X to his homies. He runs a prestigious medical academy and the police both need his expert opinion and suspect that the murder is one of them. So, they interview his posse.

And what a motley crew they are, just bubbling with suspicion. Into the mix arrives a reporter trying to get a scoop and the good doctor's hot daughter (Fay Wray). The cops give Doc X 48 hours to unmask the killer or else they'll start doing their job. Doc invites his five suspects to his spooky mansion for an experiment. Along for the ride are the amusing butler and maid.

Since I started this-here blog, I've greatly expanded my sources of movies. Initially all I had was the trusty public library plus my own humble collection. Then I went to Netflix. Last Christmas I got a Roku box that allowed me to watch Netflix and Amazon Prime from the bedroom, as well as sources of public domain movies via Pub-D-Hub and the like. At the beginning of this month I made the giant leap into the 21st century and subscribed to digital cable. Within that first week two movies I haven't been able to lay my filthy hands on were on TCM. Doctor X was the first.

Doc X was filmed in an early two color Technicolor process that lacks the vibrant colors we know today but worked well in the horror genre. For years the movie was only shown in black and white but the color version was discovered and restored, and that's what TCM is showing. It looked great.

Technically a comic horror, and in many ways a crime drama, Doctor X is both somewhat interesting and somewhat amusing. The early thirties comedy showed through with great comebacks as "What that? Haaaaaay!" Were this movie not in color and not on the Science Fiction/Double Feature list, it would be quite skipable. But that's not the case and it was nice to see Fay in color and Lionel in a leading man role. AMRU 3.
Cop: No one goes in there except stiffs.
Taylor: Oh yea? What's keeping you out here?
Cop: What the? Haaaaay!

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