Cast & Crew
Dr. Frederick Holmes, who is on a walking tour of the Cornish countryside, begs a ride from a man driving a cart across the moors. The man agrees to deliver Holmes to the town of Morgan's Head, although he seems strangely frightened. Simon Tewksbury, the innkeeper in Morgan's Head, wears a mask to cover his face, which was destroyed in an explosion. Holmes attributes his driver's fears to this fact, but when he questions the patrons, Hugh Penhryn explains that the town's bad reputation stems from an old feud that occurred between tin miners Orcutt and Morgan. According to legend, Orcutt killed Morgan during a fight over a claim and cut off his head, and now Morgan's ghost wanders the moors. Ever since the murder, the mine has been closed because the local people believe it is cursed. A bit later, Sir Henry Leland comes to the inn and questions the new arrival. Holmes expresses his intention to visit the mine the next day. That morning, Lt. Christopher "Kit" Hilton visits Simon's niece, Letty Carstairs, with whom he is in love. Later, when Holmes leaves for the mine, followed furtively by Simon, Letty asks Bart Raymond, a simple-minded man, to protect Holmes. Inside the mine, Holmes is taking samples of the ore when a headless figure stabs him to death. The villagers organize a search party when they learn that Holmes is missing, but all avoid the mine. Believing the villagers' fears to be mere superstition, Kit and Harry enter the mine, where they find Holmes's headless body. Because Bart is the only person who is not afraid of the mine, he is accused of Holmes's murder and taken to jail. That night, Letty learns that some drunken villagers plan to tar and feather Bart and rushes to the jail to release him. Kit criticizes her actions and insists that he will hold her responsible for any additional murders. Later, when Letty brings food to Bart, who is hiding in the mine, she is almost killed by the headless man, but her screams alert Bart, who saves her life. Some time after Letty recovers from her fright, Bart takes her to the mine, where he shows her a secret passage he has discovered that leads to Leland Hall. Inside the mansion they find the headless costume in a secret hiding place. Shortly, Kit arrives through the secret passage, having received instructions to investigate Harry. Before they can remove the evidence, Harry appears, and explains that he is the offspring of German miners who immigrated to Cornwall years earlier. He posed as the ghost in order to keep the English from obtaining access to the tin. After shooting Bart, Harry locks Kit and Letty in a room full of explosives. In the house, the injured Bart tries to prevent Harry from setting off the explosives, and Harry shoots again, alerting Simon, who is now in the mine. Simon struggles with Harry and during the fight, Simon's mask is torn off, revealing Holmes's face. After Harry is killed when he falls on a knife, Holmes discloses that he is a British mining expert. After Harry mistakenly murdered Simon in the mine, Holmes took his place until he could discover the identity of the ghost. Bart is revealed to be the real heir to Leland Hall. Now that the ghost's existence is disproven, the local men return to the mine.
Harold De Becker
The Mysterious Doctor
With a fog-enshrouded atmosphere suggestive of the Sherlock Holmes movies made by rival studio 20th Century Fox, The Mysterious Doctor even features a title character, played by Lester Matthews, whose name is Dr. Frederick Holmes. Also notable among the cast is Matt Willis as a convincing village idiot.
Otis L. Guernsey Jr., writing in the New York Herald Tribune, was kind to The Mysterious Doctor despite its modest ambitions. "Those who like their murder mysteries combined with the supernatural should find The Mysterious Doctor entertaining," he wrote. "Eleanor Parker and others play their parts for all the excitement that this fantastic tale is worth." The year after the film was released, Parker moved on to "A" features and would later earn Best Actress Oscar nominations for Caged (1950), Detective Story (1951) and Interrupted Melody (1955).
Producer: William Jacobs
Director: Benjamin Stoloff
Screenplay: Richard Weil
Cinematography: Henry Sharp
Art Direction: Charles Novi
Original Music: Howard Jackson, William Lava, Hans Sommer (all uncredited)
Editing: Clarence Kolster
Costume Design: Milo Anderson
Principal Cast: John Loder (Sir Henry Leland), Eleanor Parker (Letty Carstairs), Bruce Lester (Lt. Christopher "Kit" Hilton), Lester Matthews (Dr. Frederick Holmes), Forrester Harvey (Hugh Penhryn), Matt Willis (Bart Redmond).
By Roger Fristoe
The Mysterious Doctor
The film's working title was The Mystery Doctor.