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Calling Dr. Death

Calling Dr. Death(1943)

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Remind Me

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Neurologist Dr. Mark Steele has great success using hypnosis to treat his patients, but little luck in treating his own inner turmoil, which is caused by an unhappy marriage. When his unfaithful wife Maria returns home at three o'clock in the morning, the distraught Mark asks for a divorce, but Maria, who enjoys the privileges of being a doctor's wife, laughingly refuses. That night, Mark dreams of strangling Maria to death. Learning that his wife has gone away for the weekend, Mark gets into his car and drives off, only to wake up in his office Monday morning, suffering from a mental blackout. The police then arrive and inform the physician that his wife has been murdered. After finding a button from his jacket near Maria's dead body, Mark comes to believe that he is the murderer, but Stella Madden, his nurse, convinces him not to say anything to the police. Later, Mark is informed that architect Robert Duval, Maria's lover, has been arrested for the crime. Despite this, Inspector Gregg, the lead detective on the case, tells Mark that he thinks the physician is the real killer. Back at his office, Mark is visited by Duval's wheelchair-bound wife, who begs for the doctor's help in proving her husband's innocence. Duval, however, is found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Racked with guilt, Mark hypnotizes himself in an attempt to determine if he is the real murderer. Though the treatment is interrupted by Gregg, Stella makes a recording of the session, in which the unconscious Mark talks about meeting his wife at a hunting lodge, arguing with her, leaving as Duval arrived, then returning to his office and taking a sedative. Despite this, Gregg remains convinced of Mark's guilt. Later, the physician visits Duval in his prison cell, where the architect states that he borrowed $10,000 from Maria to pay off his gambling debts, though Mark suspects that he gave the money to his disabled wife. Learning that the governor has denied Duval's request for leniency, Stella collapses, so Mark, thinking that she is overworked, offers to hire a new secretary to handle the bills, then drives her to her family's home in Malcom Falls for the weekend. When he returns to his office on Monday, Mark is confronted by Gregg, who has discovered that the acid used in the arson fire of the physician's office is similar to that used to disfigure the murdered Maria's face. On the eve of Duval's execution, Mark hypnotizes Stella, who confesses to scheming with Duval to acquire the $10,000, killing Maria when the love-struck architect attempted to return the money, implicating Duval by placing a post-hypnotic suggestion in Mark's mind, then burning the physician's office in order to destroy his personal files, which would have uncovered her acts of embezzlement. Gregg overhears the confession and places Stella under arrest.