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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Calling Dr. Death (1943)

Calling Dr Death was the first of six low budget thrillers that ran under the banner of Inner Sanctum Mysteries.  Inner Sanctum Mysteries was a popular radio program that aired from 1941 to 1952.  The films tried to capitalize on the popularity of the radio programs with Universal Pictures using one of its most bankable stars, Lon Chaney Jr [The Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein] in all six films.  

     In Calling Dr. Death, Chaney plays psychologist Dr. Steele, whose cheating wife is murdered and the good doctor has no recollection of where he was during the time of her murder.  Dr. Death is a nice psychological thriller with Chaney doing his brooding best.  This is the kind of role he does well and manages to keep things interesting even though there is very little action as the story progresses.    Ramsay Armes [The Mummy's Ghost] is dynamite as his wife.  Unfortunately, she only has a few scenes in the movie.  It left me wanting more.  She has a wonderful fire in her eyes that is a joy to watch on screen.

Director Reginald Le Borg [The Mummy's Ghost, The Black Sleep] does a solid job of directing this film, although the choice of the disembodied head in the crystal jar who introduces the film is groan-worthy and more humorous than menacing.  All in all, this is a nice little thriller with a surprise toward the end of the film that most people will not see coming.


For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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