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Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Doctor X (1932)

Starring Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Lee Tracy, Preston Foster, John Wray
Directed by Michael Curtiz
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

When a series of murders take place near a prominent medical academy, the academy's director promises to discover the murderer's identity through a scientific experiment.

This movie was one of the first films shot in color and balances elements of mystery and horror along with comic relief from a wisecracking reporter investigating the murders.  It's a well-done mixture, nicely directed by Curtiz, and boasts a fine cast, headed by Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray.  Although the color is an intriguing experiment, this film might have been better off as a black-and-white chiller, and lacks a music score (other than a main title played over the opening credits), which could have heightened the atmosphere and suspense, but these are minor quibbles.  The makeup effects by cosmetics titan Max Factor, and the shadowy photography are big plusses, and Wray is quite lovely and endearing, easily explaining her casting as the beauty in King Kong the following year.

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