The Strange Case of Doctor Rx (1942)

US / 66 minutes / bw / Universal Dir: William Nigh Assoc Pr: Jack Bernhard Scr: Clarence Upson Young Story: Alex Gottlieb Cine: Woody Bredell Cast: Patric Knowles, Lionel Atwill, Anne Gwynne, Samuel S. Hinds, Mona Barrie, Shemp Howard, Paul Cavanagh, Edmund MacDonald, Mantan Moreland, John Gallaudet, William Gould, Leyland Hodgson, Matty Fain, Mary Gordon, Jan Wiley, Ray Corrigan.

A mysterious serial killer, nicknamed Dr. Rx because of the notes he leaves with his victims, is strangling criminals whom silver-tongued defense attorney Dudley Crispin (Hinds) has succeeded in getting acquitted. Crispin hires PI Jerry Church (Knowles) to protect his current client, manifestly guilty mobster Tony Zarini (Fain). However, Fain dies in the courtroom within moments of his acquittal, surrounded by friends and lawyers yet seemingly strangled like all the others.

Patric Knowles as Jerry.

Detective Captain Bill Hurd (MacDonald) of the NYPD is baffled by the case and wants Jerry to collaborate with the police investigation. Jerry’s brand-new wife, mystery writer Kit Logan Church (Gwynne), is less keen for him to continue, having Continue reading

They All Come Out (1939)

US / 69 minutes / bw / Loew’s, MGM Dir: Jacques Tourneur Pr: Jack Chertok Scr: John C. Higgins Cine: Clyde DeVinna, Paul C. Vogel Cast: Rita Johnson, Tom Neal, Bernard Nedell, Edward Gargan, John Gallaudet, Addison Richards, Frank M. Thomas, George Tobias, Ann Shoemaker, Charles Lane, Fay Helm, Paul Fix.

As the opening credits say, They All Come Out is

Dedicated to
THE UNITED STATES
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
whose coöperation made this picture possible.

That’s not necessarily a good thing.

Thanks to an encounter with lovely Kitty Carson (Johnson), hobo Joe Cameron (Neal) gets himself a job at last . . . as getaway driver for a gang of bank robbers: Continue reading

Murder is News (1937)

Canada, US / 55 minutes / bw / Warwick Dir: Leon Barsha Pr: Kenneth J. Bishop Scr: Edgar Edwards Story: Theodore A. Tinsley Cine: George Meehan Cast: John Gallaudet, Iris Meredith, George McKay, Doris Lloyd, John Hamilton, John G. Spacey, Frank C. Wilson, Colin Kenny, William McIntyre, Fred Bass, Doreen MacGregor.

Tony Peyden (Wilson), trumpeter in the resident band at the Club Saratoga, is the stepson of Edgar Drake (McIntyre), millionaire president of Drake Utilities and a man whose meanness is epitomized in the anecdote of his having tipped a porter a dime for carrying a trunk up sixteen floors.

One evening at the club Tony hears the nightly broadcast of yellow journalist Jerry Tracy (Gallaudet) of the Daily Planet. The latest lubricious story is that tonight Drake is going to sail for the UK on the Princess Anne and that Tony’s mother Pauline (Lloyd) is going to wait until her husband is safely mid-Atlantic before suing for divorce, with the intention of marrying the company’s attorney, David Corning (Hamilton).

Murder is News - 1 Doris Lloyd as the soon-to-be divorcee maintaining her dignity

Doris Lloyd as Pauline Drake, the dignified soon-to-be divorcee.

Distressed at the thought of his mother’s name being dragged through the scandal sheets, Tony agrees with the club’s owner, Fred Hammer (Spacey), that he should take a walk to try to get over his upset; in fact, he phones his mother at the family’s Westchester home and arranges Continue reading

In Cold Blood (1967)

vt Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood

US / 134 minutes / bw / Pax, Columbia Dir & Pr & Scr: Richard Brooks Story: In Cold Blood (1966 “nonfiction novel”) by Truman Capote Cine: Conrad Hall Cast: Robert Blake, Scott Wilson, John Forsythe, Paul Stewart, Gerald S. O’Loughlin, Jeff Corey, John Gallaudet, James Flavin, Charles McGraw, Will Geer, John McLiam, Ruth Storey, Brenda C. Currin, Paul Hough, Vaughn Taylor, Duke Hobbie, Sheldon Allman, Sammy Thurman, Raymond Hatton, Teddy Eccles.

In Cold Blood 1967 - 2 The convict who knows

Floyd Wells (uncredited), the convict who knows.

While in the joint, con Dick Hickock (Wilson) allowed himself to be persuaded by cellmate Floyd Wells (uncredited) that Kansas farmer Herbert “Herb” W. Clutter (McLiam) is extremely wealthy and keeps a safe filled with at least $10,000 in his basement. Accordingly, as soon as Dick’s old friend, limping Korea Gold Star vet Perry Smith (Blake), is released on parole from his own sentence, Dick recruits him to go to the depths of Kansas and rob the family, Dick’s plan being that there’ll be “no survivors”. In parallel with this main narrative strand, we see scenes of the Clutters going about their daily business—Herb the genial paterfamilias, his neurotic wife Bonnie (Storey), their son Kenyon (Hough), whose smoking is an open secret between himself and his dad, and their sweet-sixteen-year-old daughter Nancy (Currin), in a flutter over the boyfriend she’s mad about. At last the family beds down for the night, and the two crooks quietly draw up in front of the farmhouse . . .

In Cold Blood 1967 - 5 Nancy faces death

Nancy Clutter (Brenda C. Currin) faces her nemesis.

What happens next we don’t discover until late into the movie; for now, we cut straight to the following morning, a Sunday, with the cops investigating the scene of a vile mass murder. The only clues that Alvin Dewey (Forsythe) of the KBI (Kansas Bureau of Investigations) and his team have at the outset are a distinctive shoeprint left in the blood of Herb Clutter and a less unusual but nonetheless identifiable one beside it, plus the military-style knots used in the ropes that bound the Clutters.

In Cold Blood 1967 - 1 The clue

The incriminating shoeprint.

The thieves found, of course, no safe. They came away with $43, a pair of binoculars and a transistor radio as the profit from their crime. With Dick in the driver’s seat, they go on a spree of Continue reading