Archive for January, 2019

Made in 1938 Blogathon: The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse

As I’ve been wanting to jump back into blogging on a more regular basis, I decided that  signing up to participate in blogathons would be a good way to accomplish this goal of mine in 2019.  Hence, my post for the great blogathon looking at films made in 1938, hosted by Crystal and Robin, at their respective sites: In The Good Old Days of Hollywood and Pop Culture Reverie.  Be sure to visit their sites to read more great posts by other classic movie fans/bloggers!  

Turner Classic Movies often airs The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, and for quite a few years, I’d see it in the schedule and think, “meh”, passing it by and not tuning in to see it, nor recording it.  2018 rolled into view, and when I saw the movie was showing again I decided to finally watch it.  I am very glad that I did as it is a very good film and certainly didn’t deserve my “meh” attitude about it!

What a strong cast this film has! Edward G. Robinson, Claire Trevor, Humphrey Bogart(before he was a big name), Allen Jenkins, John Litel, Donald Crisp, Henry O’Neill, Gale Page, Maxie Rosenbloom, and a bit part for Ward Bond.  Directed by Anatole Litvak with a script helmed by John Wexley and John Huston(yes, that John Huston).  Warner Brothers crafted a fine film, originally based on a play that was a  hit in London, starring Sir Cedric Hardwicke(before he was a Sir.)

Edward G. is Dr. Clitterhouse, a doctor to the wealthy of NYC.  He has done well for himself financially, has a thriving practice, yet he has a fascination with criminals-what makes them tick? Why do they commit crimes? His fascination with these people is bordering on obsession.  In order to learn more about criminals, he decides to commit crimes himself(not too wise, but then there’d be no play or film if he stayed on the side of right!) specifically  jewelry robberies.  He records how he feels physically after each burglary-blood pressure, heart rate, etc.  but wishes to have a larger pool of criminals to study than just himself.

Through his friend, Inspector Lane(Donald Crisp) he finds out that the biggest dealer of stolen jewelry in NYC is one Joe Keller.  Dr. Clitterhouse make an appointment with Joe, not revealing who he really is at their meeting.  Dr. Clitterhouse is pleasantly surprised when he discovers that Joe is a “Jo”(Claire Trevor) and there is an instant attraction between the two.  The doctor tells Jo that he is a Professor who wants to be in on the gang’s activities, he has ideas how to run the jewel robbing enterprise so Jo agrees to letting him join the gang.  Dr. Clitterhouse tells his nurse(Gale Page) that he is taking a 6 weeks vacation to cover for his real activities with the gang.

Edward G. Robinson (Dr. T.S. Clitterhouse) is fascinated with the working of the criminal mind. He joins a gang of crooks headed by Humphrey Bogart (Rocks Valentine) for whom Clitterhouse masterminds a series of heists. With Maxie Rosenbloom (Butch) and Claire Trevor (Jo Keller).

The leader of the jewel robbers is Rocks Valentine(Humphrey Bogart) and he is immediately suspicious of the Professor, notices how Jo seems enamored with the Professor, which adds jealousy to Rock’s emotional mix, and he becomes resentful how the rest of the gang is ready to adopt the Professor’s new ideas.

Rocks has had it with the Professor!!!

This film has a great love triangle, subterfuge, double-crosses, and the ultimate crime, murder.  I am not going to reveal any more of the plot as I want you, dear reader, to find this film and view it for yourself.  It really is a good  crime tale with a twist ending, too.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, TCM does air this film quite a bit, so keep a check on their schedule and catch it then.  It was on Amazon Prime for instant view but is now only available there to purchase on dvd, and on Youtube there are several trailers for the film, and a recording of the film as a radio show.



Caption for image 2 of this post is credited to