Monday, December 17, 2018

THE RETURN OF DOCTOR X / He Lives To Kill And Kills To Live! - 1939

Here's a weird one that is easily forgotten, especially compared to the super creepy original, DOCTOR X, which was in color. I remember seeing stills from this one in early issues of Famous Monsters. In this story, a newspaper reporter finds himself out of a job after he claims to have found a famous actress dead in her apartment. The problem is that she shows up alive the next day and threatens to sue the paper! Determined to investigate the incident, the reporter and his doctor friend discover her involvement with a strange doctor who is an expert on human blood. They then find a connection to a series of gruesome murders where the victims were all found drained of blood.

It stars Humphrey (THE BIG SLEEP) Bogart as Marshall Quesne, aka Doctor X, Rosemary (GOLD DIGGERS IN PARIS) Lane as Joan Vance, Wayne (THE DYNAMITERS) Morris as Walter Garrett, Dennis (TEAR GAS SQUAD) Morgan as Michael Rhodes, John (FLIGHT TO MARS) Litel as Dr. Flegg, Lya (MURDER IN THE AIR) Lys as Angela Merrova, and with Huntz (MASTER MINDS) Hall as Pinky!

Newspaper reporter Walter Garrett walks in to her apartment to find actress Angela Merrova laying on the floor, dead! Then, the next day, she shows up at the newspaper office to sue them over the false story of her death. The boss fires Walter over the apparent mistake.

Check out the Venetian blind shadows in this shot, jeez! Here's Michael visiting his gal pal, Joan. She has a rare blood type and is there for a transfusion.

Later, Michael is visiting Dr. Flegg about rare blood types and meets Marshall Quesne, also an expert on the subject. After Michael shakes his hand, he notices that it is ice cold!

This is Dr. Flegg, love his goatee and skull paper weight...

When Walter and Michael return to get more answers, Quesne gets tense with the questions and breaks the glass he's holding! Could the good guys be zeroing in on his secret?

Walter goes to the newspaper building to try and get some dirt on Quesne and hits the jackpot!

Our boys keep pressing Dr Flegg, so, he decides to show them what he has been working on...

He shows them that he has discovered the secret of bringing the dead back to life by reviving a dead rabbit. And, the boys totally believe him!

Problem is though, the ones brought back to life must have transfusions of a rare blood type to keep living. Quesne tells Joan that he has come to pick her up and take her to Michael and Walter, which is a lie. The boss and the boys find out where they're going and follows them.

Joan gets tied up and 'Doctor X' prepares her for his transfusion. The make up on Quesne reminds me of the dude in THE MAN WHO TURNED TO STONE!

The cops also show up and there's a shootout reminiscence of the old crime movies where they surround the place and shoot it up. Finally, our boys are able to get to Joan and untie her.

Doctor X escapes to the roof where he's shot and falls off onto the ground, bringing our classic tale to an end! Tune in Wednesday where Eegah!! will keep the Dungeon Ball of Craziness rolling along...


knobgobbler said...

I like to describe this one as 'Humphrey Bogart kindasorta plays a vampire.'
Not as fancy as its prequel, but that one had a lot of nonsense as well.

TC said...

Rosemary Lane also co-starred with Bogart (and James Cagney) in a western (!?), The Oklahoma Kid (1939).

She was married to Universal make-up artist Bud Westmore (The Creature From the Black Lagoon, Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, A&C Meet Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde).

Her sister, Priscilla, co-starred with Cagney and Bogart in The Roaring Twenties.

Bogart may have been relieved that Return of Dr. X was not one of his biggest hits, since he might have gotten typecast in horror movies. But, as it was, he got typecast in gangster movies and film noir crime dramas, so it was one thing or the other.

EEGAH!! said...

That's a very good point TC!

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