Calling Dr. Death [1943]


  First of the Inner Sanctum films based on a radio program of the same name, by Universal Pictures. Starring Lon Chaney, Jr. who I saw in Bert I. Gordon’s The Cyclops, where I enjoyed his performance. But that’s fourteen years later, and you know how it’s with character actors, they seem to get better with age and tend to have little of charisma when young. Also with J. Carrol Naish, a man I saw in Dr. Renault’s Secret and enjoyed his performance greatly.

The head in the crystal ball announcing the movie. They really didn’t need that.

  Psychiatrist and hypnotist Dr. Mark Steel (Lon Chaney Jr.) who has a pencil thin mustache and slaps patients out of the hypnosis hates his wife Maria (Ramsay Ames). She married him for his money and is treating him badly and probably cheats on him. One Saturday around noon he finds out she’s gone for the weekend, gets pissed, gets in the car, drives around in the beautiful double exposure scene of him driving a car and some streetlights blinking, officers blowing their whistles and trains passing by. The next thing we and him know, he wakes up in the office, only to find out his wife got murdered, skull crashed and face burned with acid. Did he do it? Who did it?


  Thinking about it now, I could’ve known whodunit, but while I was watching the movie, I was kinda intrigued. Maybe because I’m the perfect viewer, the one who never thinks, just watches. The thing that could be a problem is that it’s no horror that’s for sure, but it’s not quite a mystery either, at least not stylistically. There is no classical narration, but we hear the doctor’s thinking quite a lot, and it’s quite good also, whispering. There are two things I remember the most. First is the double exposure scene I wrote about in the previous paragraph, and the other is how the weekend’s passing was shown with the calendar planner pages being turned. Those are the little thing you don’t see anymore and I love them.

Nurse and secretary Stella (Patricia Morison)

  In the end, it all comes down to actors. With a good cast like this you can make any movie more than watchable. Lon Chaney Jr. did not gain his charisma later like I wrongly suspected, he got it even then. Though, he has something comical about him, and it’s not just those pencil thin mustache. Even better I enjoyed J. Carrol Naish’s performance as Inspector Gregg, who just seems like he knows everything, but not in an annoying manner. I can’t really put a finger on it, not a typical wisecracking inspector, but an inspired and played with ease performance. But why I could watch the movie again right away is Patricia Morison as Dr. Steel’s nurse and secretary. What a beautiful woman, refined and elegant beauty with a touch of sinister. And a good actress also. Only bad one was Ramsay Ames as Doctor’s wife Maria, a really bad actress but she was a pin-up girl so we forgive her.

Dr. Mark Steel (Lon Chaney Jr.)

  Certanly not a horror movie, if you expect one, and not a headcracking mystery. But a movie with a cast like Lon Chaney Jr., J. Carrol Naish and Patricia Morison is too be enjoyed and I guarantee you that, especially since it clock barely over an hour. Also, you can see a vinyl recorder, something I though didn’t even exist.

Maria Steele (Ramsay Ames). There’ nothing more to see than her behind. And I think great tits, but I wasn’t sure, in that dress.

I took like fifty screenshots of her, but one has to choose.


We all thought the same, yes.

Okay, okay, enough of her.

Inspector Gregg doing some investigating.

Inspector Gregg (J. Carrol Naish)

Waiting in the dark.



2 Responses to “Calling Dr. Death [1943]”

  1. e, šta je s tim jednosatnim filmovima ave

    • savršeno jebote, koji super osječaj kad počneš gledat film u dva ujutro i ne traje onako do četri il neko neprihvatljivo vrijeme, nego do tri. profit!

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