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  • Good entry in the Crime Doctor series where our hero, Dr. Robert Ordway, inadvertently gives poison to a man in diabetic shock. The police are willing co-conspirators to the Crime Doctor's sleuthing in this case but there will be additional murders before a final resolution.

    The real issue is not murder but a business being run out of a funeral parlor. The dying diabetic mumbles something before passing that is later revealed to be from Hamlet: "God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another" (Hamlet 3.1). What could possibly be going on in the funeral parlor in the evening? Direction by future horror meister William Castle results in some excellent shots of where something sinister is implied with off-screen mayhem. Recommended
  • This time Dr. Ordway (WARNER BAXTER) is involved in a plot concerning diabetics and insulin with the reliable MARTIN KOSLECK as the villain of the piece who is not above switching a bottle of insulin for poison and making Dr. Ordway the unsuspecting killer.

    While there are plenty of suspects who might have wanted the deceased man out of the way, the plot hinges mostly on sinister doings at the Ganss Mortuary run by Kosleck who is prone to dispose of anyone who is going to reveal information to Dr. Ordway.

    It's a good old-fashioned mystery with some creepy characters among the villains assisting Kosleck and the plot is less murky than some of the others in the crime doctor series. There's a clever plot twist with the doctor using supposed blindness as deception in catching the killer.

    Summing up: One of the better entries in the crime doctor series.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    **SPOILERS**Being a good neighbor Dr. Robert Ordway, Warner Baxter, after being summoned to his next door neighbors house party in the hope that he'll revived the out cold Walter Foster, George Meeker, who passed out after he took a couple of drinks. The celebrated crime doctor sees that Walters condition is the result of Walters drinking and forgetfulness of him taking his daily insulin injection. After getting the insulin kit from Walter's overcoat Dr. Ordway gives him a shot in the arm and within seconds Walter, regaining consciousness, is as good as new. Then inexpediently seconds later he goes into a series of deadly convulsions and expires.

    It's obvious that someone at the Foster party pulled a switcheroo substituting the insulin for poison to take Walter out of his life as well as the killers hair. But with some two dozen people at the party who was it! It becomes evident from watching the movie that this creepy looking undertaker Karl Ganss, the Joesph Geobbles looking Martin Kosleck, and his hulking henchman Casper played by the TV "Millionaires" Marvin Miller-look alike Marian Miller were responsible for Walters death. As we later find out, together with Dr. Ordway, that there's a lot more then meets the eye in this murder mystery and that has to do with who the two weirdo, Ganss & Casper, are working for. And far more important whats the motivation, besides money, that their doing what their doing.

    Dr. Ordway gets a little too close to what's behind Walter Foster's murder when his sister Clair, Adele Roberts, and Ganss funeral assistant Connie Day, Peggy Converse, goes missing. Thats after he gets involved with them in uncovering Walters strange death. It's later that even the doctor himself becomes the victim of Ganss' and Casper's shenanigans. Thats when Casper brings in to see the doctor for help this paranoid schizophrenic, played the skeletal-looking Skelton Knaggs, claiming to be his crazed and unstable brother Louie. Casper after getting Dr. Ordway alone in his office sicks, like he was a mad and rabid dog, Louie on him who ended up shooting the doctor in the face temporally blinding him. Louie himself was soon discarded by Casper who threw him out the window of Dr. Ordways high rise building as he quickly fled the scene of his crime.

    Recovering from his wound Dr. Ordway played it cool making it look like he was blinded and used that excuse to have the Walter Foster's, as well as his sister Clair and Connie Day, killers drop their guard and have them exposed, thinking that Ordway was sightless, themselves. It's then the cops, together with the crime doctor, could not only get the drop on them but get Mr.Big himself to confess. But only after Dr. Ordway risked his life in giving Mr. Big enough confidence and rope , knowing that the good doc was not long for this world, to hang himself. We and Dr. Ordway can all thank God for the invention of the good old stomach pump which without it would not have made a happy ending in the movie "Just Before Dawn" possible.
  • Panamint23 April 2007
    High-quality mystery that attempts a lot and delivers in a serious, solid manner. Warner Baxter as always does fine work with a kind of personal and professional integrity.

    This film is well-directed by someone who obviously knows the mystery genre. There is such immediate, sinister danger lurking over Dr.Ordway and everyone else that the plot remains taught from start to finish. Also enhanced by good plot twists, especially near the beginning and near the end.

    There are three very sinister bad guys, as portrayed with evil believability by Martin Kosleck and the actors portraying his henchmen. The henchman named Casper is every bit as threatening as the killer "Lash Canino" in Bogart's "The Big Sleep".

    First-rate character actor Charles D. Brown is excellent as the police inspector. Robert Barratt and Mona Barrie are solid and watchable as a couple caught up in the story.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    She finished her career as an uncredited dancer in "The Jolson Story" and only had a few credited parts in her entire career (which only lasted a couple of years anyway) but she was pretty and competent and makes you wonder whatever happened to her and a lot of actresses like her who just could not break out of the extra ranks. She didn't last long in this movie either - it being one of the rare ones where the heroine disappears half way through. Actually there were a few plot inconsistencies but with William Castle directing, a lot of good quirky moments also.

    Dr. Ordway (Warner Baxter) is suddenly called, one night, to a neighbour's housewarming because one of the guests, a diabetic, collapses and a doctor is needed to administer insulin. The insulin has been switched however and Ordway finds he has injected poison. The neighbours seem a bit odd as well - the Travers (Mona Barrie and Robert Barrett) suddenly announce they are being divorced and as soon as the murder is committed, the house goes on the market. As Ordway cynically says "was the house bought to commit the murder in"??

    Just before his death the man utters a cryptic quotation "I've given you one face" - which leads the determined doctor to a macabre funeral parlour. As Ordway investigates he comes to realise that the victim, Walter Foster (George Meeker, who had a much larger part in the last Crime Doctor movie) had few friends - he was keeping his sister, Claire (Roberts) from marriage by emotional manipulation and ,because he had spent all his inheritance, he was hoping to convince Claire to hand over her share, which had been sensibly invested. Mrs. Travers is also under suspicion - she had transferred a lot of bonds over to Foster to set him up in business but then found out he was in love with another woman, Connie Day (Peggy Converse) who also disappears.

    The "Crime Doctor" series was always solid in the story lines, although as the series progressed less was made of Ordway's personal life and he became just another brainy sleuth but, because of the dependable Warner Baxter, always believable. The creepy morgue is were everything happens with two of the more sinister "film noir" players, Martin Kosleck and Marvin Miller casting an evil shadow over things. Miller, who was effective as the blind pianist in "Deadline at Dawn" here plays henchman Casper Castello and in one of the more bizarre scenes takes oddball Louie to the doctors, ostensibly to have him diagnosed but really to kill Ordway, which he triggers by telling Louie that the kindly doctor does indeed want to lock him up!! He then grabs the hapless Louie and throws him out the window!! Fortunately Ordway has not been killed, only temporarily blinded, an affliction he uses to find the real killer!!

    Fingerprints being erased, plastic surgery going horribly wrong and disguises that are uncanny make this entry one of the weirdest but best!!
  • This is the 7th entry in the "Crime Doctor" series starring Warner Baxter as Dr. Robert Ordway. This time, at a party, he gives a diabetic in shock insulin, using a bottle of insulin in his pocket, only to find out it was poison when the patient dies. Before the man dies, he mutters something which turns out to be from Hamlet.

    There are two other murders, but as usual, Ordway figures it out. He has plenty of suspects, too.

    Directed by William Castle, this is an interesting story, though none of these "Crime Doctor" films are particularly thrilling. Baxter gives his usual relaxed performance, though it's noticeable in the later films that his health was failing.

    Good film for mystery buffs, even if you can figure out the end.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In the 1930s and 1940s, there were quite a few low-budget detective series movies, such as Charlie Chan, Sherlock Holmes, the Saint, Boston Blackie and quite a few others. However, among the best of these were the Crime Doctor films because unlike the others, these films tended to have better constructed stories, greater believability and without the "comedy relief" that these other series liberally employed. For me, this made these films a welcome relief from the typical formula.

    In this movie, our hero Dr. Ordway (Warner Baxter) is called to a party because a guest has gone into diabetic shock. After quickly diagnosing it, he orders the guests to search the man's coat for his insulin. After injecting him, everyone (except the murderer) is shocked because the insulin had been secretly replaced with poison! Then, shortly after this, people begin disappearing and Ordway feels a duty to investigate the crimes. Oddly, it turns out that all this is related to a high-tech doctor who is so expert at plastic surgery that he can completely change a criminal's identity--making them impossible to detect! So, it's up to Ordway to infiltrate this evil mob and bring everyone to justice.

    Because the plot is very original and the film exciting, this one scores an 8--even with the silly stomach pump angle at the end of the film. Not quite as good as the first Crime Doctor film, but darn close.
  • In this entry of the Crime Doctor series, starring Warner Baxter as psychiatrist Dr. Robert Ordway, Ordway's neighbor knocks on his door one night and asks him to attend to a party guest, a diabetic, who has passed out. He hasn't taken his insulin, which he usually takes before dinner, but dinner has been delayed. Dr. Ordway asks the diabetic's sister where he keeps his insulin, she retrieves it, and Ordway gives him the dose. The man regains consciousness for just a few minutes and then dies. Ordway has injected him with a mixture of insulin and poison. As the police say to Ordway the next day "Someone has made a fine sucker out of you." It turns out that Walter Foster, the victim, was a man who inherited 250 thousand dollars - a tidy sum in those days - and in a couple of years had blown through it all. The victim also had some interesting last words "God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another", from Hamlet. Me? If I was in such a bind I'm sure I would just say "Help me I'm dying!!!", rather than quote Shakespeare, but that's another story.

    Angry that he has been made the patsy in this murder, and also having his natural curiosity about crime, Ordway goes about trying to find the murderer. This entry just oozes atmosphere. You have strange goings on at a funeral parlor, a screaming woman trapped in the funeral parlor with a dead body that is to be buried the next morning, and the parlor's hearse driving around menacingly at night, looking more like it is in search of creating corpses rather than just hauling them.

    This entry was directed by William Castle and has that macabre feeling for which his films were well known. I'd say the story and direction make this a cut above the other Crime Doctor films, not that any of the others were bad or even mediocre. I'd recommend it.
  • This film starring Warner Baxter as Dr. Robert Ordway was outstanding with people wanting plastic surgery and the skin on their fingers be remove in order to avoid fingerprinting. Karl Ganss, (Martin Kosleck) is an undertaker and shady character who often played roles in WW II films as a Nazi, gave an outstanding performance. In this story, Dr. Ordway is visited by a neighbor across his street to help a man who has fainted at their party. Ordway finds out the man is diabetic and needs a shot of insulin and injects him, he revives and then quickly dies, placing Ordway as his killer. Many people are murdered and Dr. Ordway manages to impersonate a murderer who was at large from Indianaoplis, Indinia. There are many twists and turns and it will be very hard to figure out who is responsible for all these crimes committed.
  • Just Before Dawn (1946)

    ** 1/2 (out of 4)

    William Castle directed this 7th entry in the Crime Doctor series. This time out the doctor (Warner Baxter) is called to a house to give insulin to a diabetic but it turns out to be poison so the good guy has to track down the bad guys. This was a pretty good entry but it's also pretty much just like all the rest. The film, and series, is entertaining but it's hard to get too excited about them. Baxter is his usual self but the supporting cast isn't too lively this time out. Director Castle brings some nice touches to the film but the major plot twist at the end is easy to see coming.