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Doctor X Blu-ray Review

“Doctor X” is one strange mad doctor movie.

In 1932’s “Doctor X,” a dopey newspaper reporter (Lee) is investigating a death which may be tied to a vicious serial killer known as the Moon Killer. The police believe that the killer may be tied to Doctor Xavier’s Academy as the surgical knife used in the killings is only found in his institution. Doctor X proposes an experiment to weed out the killer Doctor, but, of course, nothing quite goes as planned. Lee, meanwhile, continues to snoop around to find the truth while also falling for Xavier’s daughter Joanne.

In the history of cinema, there have been a number of classic mad doctor movies with “Frankenstein” arguably being the cream of the crop. Director Michael Curtiz’s “Doctor X” has to be one of the weirdest in the genre. The mixture of frequent comedic relief from the main character Lee, the over-the-top eccentricities of the Doctors, the whodunit story and the out of nowhere reveal of the killer make this movie tonally all over the place. Visually, ‘X’ is similar to 1933’s superior Cirtiz film “Mystery Of The Wax Museum” with the two-strip Technicolor style and the similar sets and atmosphere.

Perhaps the most curious thing about “Doctor X” is that it is a pre-code movie. As such, there is some sexually suggestive moments with Fay Wray as well as some truly dark and twisted discussion involving scalpels, cannibalism, and murder that you would not expect from movies of that era. In that regard, the movie is a little ahead of its time until the code era ceased.

Performance wise, Lionel Atwill is certainly the MVP as Doctor Xavier. He’s the titular character and he has the best character to play. Fay Wray shines in a pre-”King Kong” role. Lee Tracy is fine for the role of Lee, but the character is quite obnoxious more often than not. Preston Foster is perhaps the most underrated performer here as Doctor Wells. The less said the better as it’s something you have to see for yourself.


Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? The two-strip Technicolor print looks crisp with this hi-def release.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Expect a nice clean 2.0 track. 

* Alternate B&W version.
* “Doctor X” theatrical trailer
* “Doctor X: Before and After Restoration Reel” with comments by Scott MacQueen.
* 2 commentary tracks. One by author/film historian Alan K. Rode and the other by UCLA Film and Television Archive preservationist Scott MacQueen. Both tracks are scripted and fact filled tracks. You can’t go wrong with either track if you’re a fan of the film.
* “Madness And Mystery: The Horror Films Of Michael Curtiz”- A 28 minute featurette on the prolific director’s horror filmography. 

April 2, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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