The Crime Doctor's Courage (1945)

  |  Mystery

The Crime Doctor's Courage (1945) Poster

Dr. Ordway investigates the death of man whose first two wives were murdered.


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21 November 2015 | AlsExGal
| The case of the invisible dancing vampires....
... might be a better title than the vague "Crime Doctor's Courage".

The film starts by showing a young couple on their honeymoon. The new bride insists on going to the edge of a rocky cliff. Her husband (Stephen Crane as Gordon Carson) wants her to move away from the edge because his first wife died in an accident during the first week of their marriage just a year ago. She hit her head while swimming, it was ruled an accident, but the deceased bride's brother still thought it was murder.

The couple argue. During the argument, Gordon's new wife pulls away from him, loses her footing and falls off of the cliff to her death. The sheriff calls it an accident, but the brother of the first wife believes that now Gordon is some kind of maniac that enjoys marrying women and then killing them in ways that look like accidents. His parting words to the sheriff are "Who will it be next year?".

The answer to that question is Hillary Brooke as Kathleen Carson. She interrupts Dr. Robert Ordway (Warner Baxter) the psychiatrist on a vacation to sunny California that he is taking on doctor's orders. Kathleen has only been married one day and believes her husband could be insane. She asks Ordway to dinner to observe her husband. There are quite a few people at the dinner besides Ordway and the Carsons, and one of the servants is actually the first bride's brother who apparently has been popping up all over the place for the last year urging Gordon to either commit himself to an asylum or commit suicide before he kills someone else. Gordon is obviously troubled, retires to his study alone, and a shot rings out. Ordway and crime novelist Jeff Jerome (Jerome Cowan) burst in and find a gun near the body of Gordon, but the gun is cold. Somebody has tried to cover the murder of Gordon Carson with a fake suicide. But who could murder Gordon when he is locked inside his study and there are bars on the only window?

Ordway finds his help unwanted by the local police, but he can't help coming across clue after clue. For one, the newly widowed Kathleen disappears right after the murder, hiding at the castle like home of the mysterious Braggas. A new will leaving everything of Gordon's to Kathleen was made out the day before Gordon's death. As for the mysterious Braggas, nobody has ever seen them out after dark, there is a portrait of them that is apparently 300 years old, they keep coffins in their basement, and they perform a dancing act at a local club in which one family member disappears and then just as mysteriously reappears. Did I mention that Miguel Bragga is in love with Kathleen? Could a vampire that can disappear and reappear at will possibly be the murderer? Watch and find out in this atmospheric entry to the crime doctor series. There are more suspects than I mention here, so it is not so cut and dried as you might think and remember, this is the crime doctor we're talking about, a man of science and reason, not Kolchak the night stalker! Highly recommended.

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