THE CRIME DOCTOR’S COURAGE (1945)
Article 2244 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-8-2007
Posting Date: 10-4-2007
Directed by George Sherman
Featuring Warner Baxter, Hillary Brooke, Jerome Cowan
Dr. Ordway is called in by an acquaintance who thinks she may have married a madman. When he is found murdered in his study with a locked door and no other exit, the doctor takes it upon himself to solve the mystery.
As a general rule, one way to differentiate between horror and mystery is that in the former, the fantastic elements are real, and that in the latter, the fantastic elements are faked. There are exceptions, but you run the risk of annoying your audience if you break these rules. This is the second of the Crime Doctor series I’ve seen, and it is quite enjoyable, as was the first one. The fantastic content is quite marked; two of the suspects are dancers who do an act where one of them disappears, they are never seen during the day, and they have coffins to sleep in. Now, given that this movie is technically a mystery rather than a horror movie, I would probably be disappointed if they did indeed turn out to be vampires, as I would be hoping for a more logical solution. The most far-fetched thing about this movie is the relative ease with which several people embrace the whole vampire story. It’s a fun movie, with Warner Baxter enjoying himself in the title role and Emory Parnell effective as a police captain. I was able to figure out who the murderer was long before the ending, but that didn’t ruin it for me.