Cast & Crew
Posing as a vacationing journalist, young American Dr. Jethro Forbes arrives at a quiet Devonshire seaside resort in Frogmouth, England and immediately befriends Miss Bettyhill, another resident. Within a few days, Jethro feigns illness in order to call on the residents' trusted physician, Dr. Dysert, who, Jethro learns, has a penchant for expensive antiques. Later, Miss Bettyhill notes to Jethro that Dysert is caring for his secretary, young heiress Kitty Mortlock, who is convalescing at the resort. Miss Bettyhill explains that Kitty, like all of Dysert's patients, is devoted to the doctor, especially since Dysert suffered a series of personal tragedies. Later, when Miss Bettyhill sees a letter addressed to "Dr. Jethro Forbes," Jethro, speaking confidentially, claims that he kept his real identity a secret to avoid unwanted medical questions from the residents. Despite the doctor's orders that no one visit her, Jethro asks Kitty about her condition. Kitty complains of repeated relapses, but has full confidence in Dysert. Later, when Miss Bettyhill asks the name of Kitty's condition, Dysert recites a lengthy, unintelligible diagnosis. During a walk on the coast, Miss Bettyhill recalls to Jethro what she knows of Dysert: Unable to buy a practice of his own, Dysert accepts a job as elderly Dr. Alexander's assistant. After Dysert unsuccessfully attends to a wealthy, alcoholic widow named Louise, Dr. Alexander suggests Louise is a lost cause, but Dysert decided to marry her and move into her estate, Cedar Shade. Following Alexander's death, his nervous and bashful daughter Charlotte, who harbors a crush on Dysert, inherits the practice, for which Dysert pays her regularly. A year later, Dysert invites the town to celebrate Louise's recovery at Cedar Shade, but then confides in Charlotte that Louise has fallen ill again. As the guests gather, a crash is heard from an upstairs room, sending Dysert rushing upstairs to find his wife on her bedroom floor, dead. After Miss Bettyhill completes the story, Jethro learns more about Dysert from Kitty: After Kitty began work as his secretary, Dysert married Charlotte, whose failing self-confidence led to depression, which Dysert treated. One night, Dysert asks Kitty to stay late to finish reports and look in on his wife while he takes a short trip. During the brief encounter, Kitty notices the doctor has blanket fluff on his clothes. After finding Charlotte's bed empty hours later, Kitty searches the grounds and sees she has hung herself in the garage. Back at the resort later, Jethro admits to Miss Bettyhill that he was once married to Dysert's now deceased third wife, the glamorous Stella, who, after divorcing Jethro, married Dysert. In letters to Jethro, Stella complained that Dysert was like an "undertaker." Learning of Stella's death, Jethro decides to investigate the "tin god who can do no wrong" and, in the present, suggests to Miss Bettyhill that Dysert is now poisoning Kitty. On the pretense of viewing the doctor's antiques, Jethro drives to Cedar Shade with Dysert and, after the doctor is called out on an emergency, looks at Stella's bedroom. When Jethro notices that a bed tuck covers the bed's blankets, the housekeeper explains that the bed is always made that way. Returning to the resort, Jethro asks Kitty to describe Stella and Dysert's relationship: Outgoing Stella chooses to socialize among the local upper class and lavishes herself and Dysert with expensive, wasteful gifts. One evening, during the extravagant Hunt Ball, a drunken Stella rebuffs her husband, dances flirtatiously with several other men and then takes the stage to perform a sultry number. At the close of the party, Stella kisses her latest suitor in front of Dysert, who has been patiently waiting for his wife all evening. The next morning, Stella falls to her death off the cliffs during a walk. Later, after learning from Miss Bettyhill that the doctor has proposed to Kitty, Jethro rushes to the resort to change Kitty's mind. He tells her that the cliff's edge would have been clearly visible on the morning of Stella's death, thus ensuring the fall was not an accident. He continues that Charlotte's bed was completely covered in a bed tuck, insinuating that a struggle must have occurred for the doctor to have had blanket fluff on his jacket. Dysert, who has been eavesdropping, suddenly barges into Kitty's room, writes a new prescription and assigns a nurse to guard Kitty's door. Finding Kitty barely conscious the next morning, Jethro replaces the contents of her prescription bottle with a harmless substitute and sends Dysert's pills out for testing. By the next day, Kitty is markedly better. After he learns that Dysert's prescription for a very rare drug and Miss Bettyhill remembers the name of Kitty's condition, Jethro surmises that the disease is one that can be deliberately induced in a patient using the very drugs Dysert prescribed. Jethro rushes to Cedar Shade and, learning that Dysert is out, recreates Charlotte's suicide in an attempt to learn the truth. When Dysert finds him in the garage, Jethro suggests that Charlotte was not strong enough to cast the rope over the beam to complete the suicide and accuses Dysert of killing all his wives for profit. A resigned Dysert confesses to each murder: He killed the difficult Stella out of jealousy, Louise was already dying from drinking and Charlotte will not be missed because of her incessant whining. Insisting that Jethro will be unable to prove the murders, Dysert invites Jethro to drive back to the resort to aid in Kitty's recovery, but stops at the cliff to recount how Stella died: Returning home from the ball, Stella, sick from alcohol, asks Dysert to stop the car. Continuing the story to distract Jethro, Dysert then knocks the younger man out and begins to drag him to the cliff's edge. Miss Bettyhill, who is walking nearby, spots Jethro struggling to free himself, rushes to her friend's aid and hits Dysert, who instantly falls to his death. Days later, as Jethro helps Kitty practice walking to gain her strength, she steps into his eager arms.
Fred A. Swann
The opening cast credits differ in order than the closing credits. American actors Rick Jason and Sandu Scott made their British film debuts in Rx Murder. Although most of the characters in the film refer to Mary Merrall's character as "Miss Bettyhill" or "Jethro Forbes" refers to her as "Honeybunch." The film was originally released in February 1958 in London under the title Family Doctor and had a running time of 85 minutes. According to information contained in the Twentieth-Century Fox Legal Files at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections, Fox advanced Templar Productions, Ltd. 80% of the negative costs to produce the film.