Crime Doctor’s Man Hunt (1946)

Article 3273 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-5-2010
Posting Date: 7-31-2010
Directed by William Castle
Featuring Warner Baxter, Ellen Drew, William Frawley
Country: USA
What it is: Crime Doctor mystery

When Dr. Ordway discovers that one of his patients has been murdered by two men, he contacts the police. Though the initial investigation leads to a dead end, Ordway begins to follow his few leads and begins to piece together the crime.

Sometimes just checking IMDB can give you the extra clue you need to solve a mystery, and I don’t necessarily mean the plot summaries or the user comments. Occasionally, I have the cast list up while watching a movie so I can identify certain actors and actresses, and one performer was giving such an odd performance that I decided to check who it was. In the process, I discovered that the cast list did not list one character in the movie at all, and this one detail, combined with what I had already observed, and taking into account the nature of the Crime Doctor movies (Ordway is a psychiatrist, and the solutions to the mysteries usually have a psychological angle to them), I was able to figure out the surprise ending long before we reached it. Granted, reading the tagline of the movie (also on IMDB) might have also given me that clue.

Well, nevertheless, I do rather enjoy the Crime Doctor movies, and this one is no exception. Some interesting names pop up in the cast; William Frawley is the police inspector, an uncredited Myron Healey is the murder victim (the opening scene of him walking past a succession of gaming booths is a highlight of the movie), and Olin Howland who does a nice comic cameo as a phrenologist. The fantastic content is pretty sketchy; the various mental conditions at play here hint at the horror theme of madness, there is a slightly spooky deserted house, and one plot element has to do with a fortune teller. None of these are really strong enough to nudge the movie into horror territory, so I’ve consigned it to the world of marginalia.

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