Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Mysterious Doctor (1943)

Starring John Loder, Eleanor Parker, Bruce Lester, Lester Matthews, Forrester Harvey
Directed by Ben Stoloff
(actor & director credits courtesy

A doctor on a walking trip visits an English village where he learns the deaths of men working in an old tin mine have been blamed on a legendary headless ghost.

A fun wartime programmer from Warner Brothers, this is a modest B-movie, but a well-assembled one with swirling fog, eerie music, and a top-flight cast.  Actor Matt Willis, who played Bela Lugosi's werewolf assistant in The Return Of The Vampire around the same time, is memorable as a mentally retarded man who becomes a prime suspect in the killings, and Parker is good as the brave young beauty who comes to his defense.  Although some elements of the mystery are a bit transparent, Stoloff still leads the proceedings efficiently towards an exciting climax.

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