Add a Review

  • Well, one thing you can say about the Crime Doctor detective series is that it sure didn't fall into a predictable pattern. Unlike other Columbia Pictures films of the genre (such as Boston Blackie and The Lone Wolf), the plot lines and locations of the Crime Doctor films generally made them a bit fresher and more interesting.

    Here, oddly enough, Dr. Ordway takes a needed vacation in what looks like the Ozarks or Appalachians (though the exact setting was never mentioned). Talk about a big departure from the usual sophistication of New York! While his going there for hunting and fishing is unusual, what ISN'T unusual is that murders occur here--just like in the city! The troubles begin in this very backward little town when Typhoid breaks out and Dr. Ordway is pressed into service by the county health department. While assisting with autopsies, Ordway discovers that one of the victims has no trace of Typhoid in his blood and the man was actually poisoned! At this point, given that this is the country and Ordway is quite the amateur detective, he helps the police solve the crime as well as rid the town of infection.

    Because of the strange combination of the New York psychiatrist and the Li'l Abner-like locals, this makes for a very strange mix. While certainly far from the best Crime Doctor film, fans of the genre no doubt will be thrilled to see a unique story and decent writing. And don't worry--this is NOT anything like SWING YOUR LADY or other silly hillbilly films.
  • Greatly enjoy these classic films which featured Dr. Robert Ordway,(Warner Baxter) who plays the role of doctor and also a detective who always manages to catch the killer. In this story, Dr. Ordway cancels all his appointments at his office in New York City and hands all his cases over to his assistant and tells everyone he is going on a vacation way out in the country for some good fishing and hunting and he will not involve himself with anything else, because he has not taken a rest for a very long time. Dr. Ordway no sooner gets to his location that the local town becomes sick with a Typhoid epidemic and everyone is getting sick and some people are dying. There is a local doctor who mixes all kinds of herbs and way out contents and Dr. Ordway has to take matters into his own hands. Dr. Ordway runs some tests with the state health department and discovers that someone has been poisoned and then the story takes on a different twist and Dr. Ordway stops enjoying any kind of vacation and tries to find out who the killer is. This is a great look back at films in 1947 and is lots of fun to watch.
  • WARNER BAXTER was approaching the last few "Crime Doctor" films when he made THE MILLERSON CASE, about an epidemic of typhoid that's tainted by a slight case of murder. Seems that while trying to have a vacation in the country, Dr. Ordway is pressured to join other doctors in helping out when typhoid strikes the townspeople.

    A gruff country doctor (GRIFF BARNETT) opposes the notion that the epidemic is anything more than "summer complaint". But a microscopic examination of bacilii proves that one of the victims was not dead from typhoid, but poison.

    As usual, there are a number of suspects and Sheriff CLEM BEVANS has his hands full arresting first one, then another, each time fooled into suspecting the wrong culprits. The only quibble I have with the story is that when the denouement does come and the mystery is solved, it turns out to be the least interesting character that did it.

    The sleuthing is interesting in all of these "Crime Doctor" stories, and as usual, at the end there's a little extra surprise thrown in at the last moment.

    Reliable character actor GRIFF BARNETT, as Dr. Millerson, was a busy character actor throughout the '40s and '50s, most memorable as Olivia de Havilland's druggist father in TO EACH HIS OWN ('46). He played a much more likable character in that one.
  • I found this film fascinating, mainly because of the setting of Dr. Ordway's case. Dr. Robert Ordway, eminent New York City psychiatrist, is taking his first vacation in years, and decides to go hunting and fishing for a month. The name of the town Ordway stays in is mentioned - Brook Falls - but the state is not. And there is good reason. Whatever state that was named as the location would have been up in arms about the backwards depiction of its residents.

    Several townspeople get ill with "summer complaint" as it is named, and many often die. The town doctor turns out to not really be an M.D. at all, instead, as Ordway finds out by looking at the doc's office wall, the "squire" of the town just gave him a certificate to practice medicine in Brook Falls 30 years before, and he's been feeling his way through ever since! "Doctor" Millerson is more of an herbalist than anything, and doesn't even understand basic chemistry, microbiology, or that a wound needs to be sterilized! Millerson is also resentful of anybody going to the new county clinic for treatment rather than himself. Town barber Ward Beachy becomes very ill and, even though he's been going to the county clinic, Millerson agrees to a house call and gives him some of his "complaint bitters", which is actually a useless yet harmless concoction of herbs.

    Now Ordway is boarding with the Millersons since apparently there is no hotel in town, and he has just arrived when the state police and health officials arrive and quarantine the town. Apparently what Millerson calls "summer complaint" is actually typhoid. Once the state officials realize they have the famous Dr. Ordway in their midst they ask him to help out, and of course he agrees. Three people ultimately die during the epidemic, one of them being Beachy. However, a post-mortum shows Beachy did not die of typhoid, instead he was poisoned. Suspicion immediately falls on "Doc" Millerson, since Millerson did treat Beachy and was known to harbor a grudge about Beachy going to the county clinic.

    But Ordway just isn't buying it. He figures Millerson may not be a real doctor, but he doesn't figure he's a killer either. Further probing by the good doctor reveals that the married Beachy was a real lady's man, giving possible motives to Beachy's girlfriends, their husbands, maybe even Beachy's own wife. I'll let you watch and see how this all shakes out.

    Someone wrote here that the setting is the Blue Ridge Mountains, which is never stated in the film. However, if so, there is even a bigger mystery to solve here. Why would Ordway drive such a long distance for hunting and fishing when upstate New York has the same thing? One possible motive - there appear to be no phones in the town, so nobody back at the office could possibly bother him. Watch this one not just for the mystery, which is engaging, but to see how the urbane Ordway is able to get along with and relate to all kinds of people - a real talent in itself if you think about it.
  • (Some Spoilers) With him being in such great demand by both the the local, as well as out of town, police department in solving so many of it's unsolvable crimes the obviously burnt out "Crime Doctor" Dr. Robert Ordway, Warner Baxter decides to finally take his first vacation in over five years. Dr. Ordway drives upstate to the little quite town of Brookfall to do some hunting fishing and most of all relaxing. Sadly for the good doctor it did't turn out that way.

    As soon as Dr.Ordway got to Brookhill it was quarantined because of a typhoid epidemic with him being recruited by the state troopers and local medical clinic to help in the inoculation of the towns population. Doing the best he can Dr. Ordway examining the blood samples of those who succumb to the deadly disease finds that the towns barber as well as it's smooth talking and handsome womanizer Ward Beachey, Trevor Bardette,did't die from typhoid at all! It turns out that Benchey was poisoned and made to look by his killer like he died of that disease.

    Being that Dr. Ordway's friend Dr. Sam Millerson, Griff Barnett, who's house he staying at last treated Benchey with his home-made brew or potion of bark roots berries and bitters he's the prime suspect in his murder. It's also reviled that Dr.Sam was very angry with Benchey for not going to him for medical treatment over the last year. Benchey was going to the newly opened county medical clinic that's taking business away from him. All this suspicion of Dr. Sam being Benchey's killer becomes moot later on when Dr. Sam himself is murdered! It now becomes very clear, especially to Dr. Ordway, that Bencheys murder had nothing to do with business matters between him and his killer! There's something far more deeper in Benchely's death and closer to home. Benchy's sexual exploits with the ladies in town may well have caused one of those ladies outraged and vindictive husbands or boyfriends to murder him.

    It's the murder of Dr. Sam that rings a bell in the "Crime Doctors" head when it's reveled that he, Dr. Sam, got a note to meet him, his killer, outside the summer carnival or fair. It was at the fair that he and everyone in town, including Dr. Ordway, were at. Finding the note on the murdered Dr. Sam with his killer in to much of a hurry to get away, or just too absent-minded to grab and destroy it, turned out to be the evidence that in the end hung him! Not that Dr. Sam's killer wrote it but*****SPOILERS*****that he needed someone else to write it for him.

    Dr. Ordway take his life in his hands in this murder mystery by getting both Dr. Sam & Beacheys killer in a position where he can make Dr. Ordway his next victim. The "Crime Doctor" was more then ready for mysterious killer in alerting to towns sheriff old man Akers, Clem Bevans, and the local townspeople to come to his rescue. Dr. Ordway slug-fest with the crazed killer, after failing to poison Dr. Ordway, just about to split Dr. Ordway's head open with a shovel.

    Arrested and facing life or even the electric chair, if convicted in both Dr. Sam & Bencheys murder, the killer tries to be real cute by faking that he's nuts. The killer acts as if he's trying to catch or swat invisible flies or horseflies in his cell thinking that would get him off on an insanity defense. It just happened that the "Crime Doctor" got his number and then tricks him into showing everyone watching that he's indeed sane. Dr. Ordway does this by showing that the killer thinking that he's acting insane is in fact really thinking and rational, in trying to show that he's indeed crazy, by falling right into the clever trap that Dr. Odway's set for him.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When the Crime Doctor series started the cast was filled with known names - on their way up (Ellen Drew) or down (Margaret Lindsay) but as the series progressed the names were often obscure - although the production levels were always high. The biggest name in "The Millerson Case", apart from Warner Baxter, was Barbara Pepper who had really only ever been an interesting supporting player. She had started out as the bleached blonde tramp in "Our Daily Bread" who gives leading actress, Karen Morley, a few anxious moments when she makes a play for her husband. She had a similar look (back then) to Lucille Ball (who was a good friend) but apart from a couple of poverty row leads ("Rogue's Tavern") she is remembered more for her portrayal of a vicious gun moll in "Let 'Em Have It". Unfortunately with a difficult private life she didn't keep her looks and in "The Millerson Case" she played Eadie Rookstool, the town vamp, who instantly starts making eyes at a very nervous Dr. Ordway.

    This is a bit out of the ordinary for a Crime Doctor movie as it deals with the outbreak of a typhoid epidemic in a rural community. Dr. Ordway, in town for a much needed vacation, instantly falls foul of the local doctor, Millerson, who doesn't believe in sterilization and treats everything, from gunshot wounds to dizziness, with herbal concoctions. When Ordway looks into the bout of "summer sickness" that hits the community every year he realises, through examining blood samples that it is typhoid and that even though 3 people have died, the third person didn't die of typhoid but was murdered. He was Ward Beechy, the barber, and the local Lothario - so there is no end of suspects - any of the women or their jealousy fuelled husbands or swains!!!

    As usual Ordway's sense of fair play and justice have him championing Millerson when the rest of the town are eager to make him chief suspect. He is the town grump and is always at loggerheads with the town's other doctor, Wickersham (Addison Richards) and his "new fangled" ideas. The murdered man had changed doctor's, going over to Wickersham but a few other mysterious happenings, potshots taken at Wickersham and Ordway's gun going missing and when Millerson turns up dead, motives have to be rethought!!

    Like others in the series this is just a great rainy day movie, there are loads of suspects and the guilty one is never the most obvious.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Kindly, middle-aged Dr. Ordway goes to a small town on vacation and gets involved after murder occurs. His noted crime-solving talents are needed to assist the locals. Sound familiar? Very similar to numerous episodes of Angela Lansbury's "Murder She Wrote". This is not a negative, especially if you are a fan of that TV show. I mention this for the benefit of anyone thinking of watching "The Millerson Case".

    Of course, Dr. Ordway is stalwart and trustworthy as always, with Warner Baxter doing a fine job in the role.

    There are some good small-town America aspects in this film, much like a small town Jessica Fletcher might have gone to visit, although this movie is very dated (or nostalgic, depending on your point of view). There is a lively jealousy/feud between some flirtatious girlfriends of the victim, and a very good plot conflict between small-town doctoring vs. modern medicine. However, despite the lively script, there is generally a lack of taughtness and immediate, threatening danger in this film as compared to some other murder mysteries.

    If you view this nostalgically or as a good 1940's artifact you won't be put off by its datedness. You can see some examples of top-notch character acting, such as you might find assembled in an episode of "Murder She Wrote".
  • As fine a collection of players who are cast as rustics is in The Millerson Case as Warner Baxter goes to the Piedmont area of North Carolina for some hunting and fishing. Instead he gets involved in solving two murders.

    At first it's only an epidemic of typhoid where three deaths have occurred. But Baxter proves one of these deaths was not typhoid but a poisoning. The deceased was Trevor Bardette the local barber who pursues half the married woman around. Makes for a town full of suspects. Later the locsal doctor is also killed when he suspects something.

    Another in Columbia's Crime doctor series wrapped in good economical style. est in the cast is Clem Bevans as the sheriff. It's almost mandatory that he be in rustic film settings.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When the Crime Doctor heads to the boonies for a week of fishing and hunting, it is only a matter of time before murder follows. What starts off as a series of typhoid cases resulting in quarantine reveals murder. So far, so smart, but not for long. These country folk all have secret resentments, and when one of them dies of something other than typhoid, the backwoods doctor is made out to be the top suspect. There is obviously a reason why one film press agent wrote, "Hicks Nix Stykx Pix", and this just gets more and more ridiculous as it uncovers such idiot hokum as corn whiskey, home-made medical remedies and a town fair that of course ends up with a square dance. The creators were stretching this series to the max with this entry that would insult the residents of TV's Bugtustle and Petticoat Junction. Not to mention that this was a re-tread of a plot similar to 1932's "The Circus Queen Murder" where detective Adolph Menjou also headed to the country for a vacation and ended up involved in murder as well.