Crime Doctor


1h 15m 1934

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 27, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill (London, 1892).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

After capturing a fugitive kidnapper, renowned police detective Dan Gifford returns home and discovers that his wife Andra has spent the evening with Swedish mystery writer Eric Anderson. As a jealous Dan sits down to write his own murder mystery, Eric telephones Andra and further ignites Dan's suspicions. When confronted later, Andra confesses to Dan that she loves Eric and wants a quick divorce so that she can marry him. Stunned, Dan begs Andra to stay with him for one more week, and she reluctantly agrees. Dan then quits the police force, opens his own detective agency and hires Blanche Flynn, an ex-convict, to move into the apartment above Eric's and make note of the writer's female visitors. A few days later, Blanche, who has observed Andra entering Eric's apartment, confronts Eric with her knowledge about Andra and demands $10,000 to keep the scandalous information out of the newspapers. To protect Andra, Eric agrees to pay Blanche the next evening, but tells Andra about the blackmail. Unaware that Dan, who has been watching Eric's apartment building, already knows about Blanche's double cross, Andra asks him to help Eric deal with the blackmailer. As requested, Dan arranges for Eric to meet him at his office just before he is to deliver the first payment to Blanche. While Eric waits for him at his office, Dan sneaks into Eric's apartment and steals an old gun from the writer's gun collection. Dan then confronts Blanche with her betrayal and forces her to write a note implicating herself in the blackmail and insinuating a romantic relationship with Eric. With Eric's gun, Dan kills Blanche, then leaves the note, half-burnt, in her fireplace. Dan sneaks out of the building and then slips back in to meet Eric as he is about to enter Blanche's apartment. Because of the incriminating note and the missing gun, Eric is found guilty of Blanche's murder and is sentenced to hang. To Dan's horror, however, Andra refuses to believe in Eric's guilt and insists on moving near his prison. Seeing Andra's unfaltering devotion to Eric, Dan tells her that, if she is willing to give up the man she loves, he will find evidence to save him. After Andra agrees to this sacrifice, Dan hands the police a signed confession and shoots himself. Dan's demise, however, turns out to be the ending of his novel, which a loving Andra has been reading with amusement.

Film Details

Release Date
Apr 27, 1934
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill (London, 1892).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Although this film was not viewed, the above credits and summary were taken from a cutting continuity deposited with the copyright records. A Film Daily news item stated that Robert Trasker was assigned by RKO to write "special scenes" for the picture. The exact nature of his contribution to the final film has not been determined. A pre-production news item in Hollywood Reporter announced Richard Dix and Wynne Gibson as the stars of this film. According to a Daily Variety news item, Mary Astor was signed as the female lead, but was replaced by Corinne Griffith because of illness. Griffith then withdrew from the production because of artistic differences with co-star Kruger and director John Robertson. According to a Motion Picture Herald news item, Kruger insisted on certain camera angles that would have forced Griffith to "play many important scenes with her back to the camera." Hollywood Reporter production charts add Irving Pichel, Barton McLane and Mary Forbes to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. RKO borrowed Karen Morley from M-G-M for the production. Israel Zangwill's story was first filmed by FBO Pictures in 1928 as The Perfect Crime. This part silent, part sound version starred Clive Brook and was directed by Bert Glennon. Ethel Wales, who is listed in reviews as a cast member of The Crime Doctor, also appeared in the 1928 film (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.4207). In 1946, Don Siegel directed Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre in The Verdict, a Warner Bros. version of Zangwill's story.