The Strange Case of Doctor Rx (1942)

Article #383 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 4-2-2002
Posting date: 8-26-2002

A series of murders against criminals who have successfully evaded the justice system is being committed by a character known as Dr. Rx, who leaves a label with the Rx symbol attached to each of his victims.

Oh, good! A horror movie with a gorilla and Lionel Atwill! No, sorry, it’s actually a mystery with slight horror elements.

Well, it has a scary lab scene, doesn’t it? Yes, it does, but it appears so late in the movie and is so out of place with the rest of the movie that it simply doesn’t work in this context.

But it has Lionel Atwill, doesn’t it? Yes, it does. He has about four minutes of screen time and about four lines of dialogue. This hardly even qualifies him as a red herring, though it does give the marketing people something to put on the poster.

Well, I bet at least it’s an exciting mystery, isn’t it? Oh, it might have been, if there had been any detective work; instead, most of the screen time is dedicated to the detective’s relationship with his girlfriend (and later, wife) and endless scenes of people either trying to talk him into taking the case or people trying to talk him into dropping the case.

Then what does this movie have? Well, it does have Mantan Moreland and Shemp Howard. At least they manage to net a few laughs. They even have a (serious) car chase scene, one chasing the other, which is probably a novel moment in film history.

I saw this one years ago on my local Creature Feature. I was curious to see how well it stood the test of time. Now I know.


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