Cast & Crew
When renowned criminal psychiatrist Dr. Robert Ordway offers to assist Inspector Dawes in solving the murder of artist's model Helene Stewart, the doctor senses that he is being followed after leaving the crime scene. Later, artist Clive Lake, the man who had been following him, appears at Ordway's office and asks the doctor to treat the memory lapses that he has been experiencing. Believing that Clive's illness may stem from a lack of confidence, Ordway visits art dealer Frederick Malone and gives him two hundred dollars to buy one of the artist's paintings. While drawing model Connie Mace one night, Clive experiences an excruciating headache, signaling the onset of a memory lapse. After calling Ordway for help, Clive dismisses Connie and heads to the roof for some fresh air. As Connie dresses in the studio, she hears a knock at the door, and when she opens it, a man steps from the shadows and murders her. By the time Ordway arrives at the studio, a party is underway in celebration of the sale of Clive's painting. As Clyde tells Ordway about blanking out on the roof, their conversation is interrupted by a woman's scream, and Connie's body rolls out from under the couch. Inspector Dawes is summoned, and after he takes Clive to headquarters for questioning, Ordway searches the studio for clues and finds a key and Clive's diary detailing his mother's destructive influence on his life. That night, as Ordway slumbers, a man steals into his apartment and removes the key from his jacket pocket. Awakened by the intruder, Ordway quickly dresses and follows, but is knocked unconscious by the trespasser. The next morning, Ordway returns to Clive's studio and learns from Jimmy Gordon, an artist friend, that Clive has gone to his mother's house. Proceeding to the Lake mansion, Ordway is received by Clive's mother, Mrs. Wellington Lake, who asserts that her son is too ill to see the doctor. When Ordway diagnoses Clive's memory losses as a form of self-hypnosis to combat painful situations, Mrs. Lake summons her physician and declares that Clive murdered Connie in a state of insanity. Believing that Mrs. Lake's charge of insanity is motivated by her desire to control the Lake wealth, Ordway sends for Inspector Dawes and then places Clive in a hypnotic trance. Under hypnosis, Clive recalls reaching the roof and then seeing Joseph Duval, another artist, climb from a neighboring roof into Clive's studio. Although Mrs. Lake insists that her son be institutionalized, Inspector Dawes takes him to headquarters for questioning. Ordway then returns to Malone's and is surprised by the news that a mysterious patron bought Clive's painting without inquiring about the artist, leading the doctor to suspect that the purchaser was more interested in the model and therefore may be the murderer. From Malone's, Ordway visits Clive in jail and discovers that he is no longer able to recognize him or recall the previous events. After hypnotizing Clive, Ordway asks the inspector to release him, and the inspector consents because Duval has disappeared, suggesting that he may be the murderer. Clive awakens at the doctor's home, and when Ordway asks him if Connie knew Helene, Clive recalls that the two women posed together in San Francisco, along with another model, for a painting titled "The Ring." Ordway then phones Dr. Booth, a friend in San Francisco, and discovers that the painting was sold by the MacPherson gallery. Proceeding to the gallery, Ordway learns from owner Robert MacPherson that the painting was purchased by Stanley Greig, and was subsequently auctioned off after Greig's death. Feigning interest in buying the painting, Ordway asks MacPherson to locate it for him. That night, a drunken Duval appears at the Lake mansion and offers to name the murderer in exchange for $1,000. Before Duval can complete his bargain, however, a gunshot rings out and he falls to the floor, dead. The next morning, Booth phones with the information that the third model, Evelyn Harris, got married and moved to Ordway's town a year ago. Deducing that Evelyn was probably murdered by her husband, who then killed Connie and Helene after they began to search for her, Ordway tells Clive to call the inspector and instruct him to uncover the name of Evelyn's husband, while he returns to MacPherson's gallery. When MacPherson informs Ordway that Jimmy Gordon is now in possession of "The Ring," Ordway goes to question Jimmy, who claims that the painting was stolen from his studio. Ordway then visits Malone and finds him sculpting a clay bust. When Ordway inquires about Evelyn, Malone claims no knowledge of her. Later that night, Ordway breaks into the gallery and finds Clive's painting hidden in a back room. Descending into the cellar, Ordway sees "The Ring" and a wax model of Evelyn reclining on a bed enclosed by gauze curtains. As Ordway examines the wax figure, Malone enters and admits that he was Evelyn's husband. After Malone explains that Evelyn suffocated while he was making a mask of her face, Inspector Dawes, having discovered that Malone was Evelyn's husband, appears and arrests him for murder.
J. M. Kerrigan
The working title of this film was The Paper Doll Murders. Although a still photograph indicates that actor James Cardwell was cast in the production, his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. For additional information on the "Crime Doctor" series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry above for Crime Doctor.