The Crime of Dr. Crespi (1935)

63-64 or 66 mins | Horror | 21 October 1935

Director:

John H. Auer

Cinematographer:

Larry Williams

Editor:

Len Wheeler

Production Designer:

Wm. Saulter

Production Company:

Liberty Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

This film was copyrighted twice. A note from Republic, dated 29 Nov 1935, that is contained on the copyright records, indicates that the first copyright in Liberty's name was an error; both copyright submissions are otherwise identical. Modern sources provide the following additional credits: Fred Ryle, makeup artist; W. I. O'Sullivan, production supervisor; and Milton Schwarzwald, musical director. Schwarzwald's score includes an orchestral version of Anton Rubenstein's Kamenoi Oistrow , a Dramatic Lamento by an unknown composer, and Josef Pasternak's "Sometime, Somehow, Somewhere." According to modern sources The Crime of Dr. Crespi was produced at the New York Biograph studio. Filmmaker John Auer was a young director from Budapest who had worked for several years on Spanish-language films and subsequently had a long career at Republic. Although made for Liberty Pictures, the film was released by Republic Pictures Corp. when that company was initially formed. Other versions of Edgar Allan Poe's story include Prelude , a 1927 British short, written, directed and starring Castleton Knight; a one-hour 1961 television production for the NBC anthology series Thriller , entitled The Premature Burial , directed by Douglas Heyes and starring Boris Karloff; and a 1962 American-International Picture, Premature Burial , produced and directed by Roger Corman and starring Ray Milland (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ; ... More Less

This film was copyrighted twice. A note from Republic, dated 29 Nov 1935, that is contained on the copyright records, indicates that the first copyright in Liberty's name was an error; both copyright submissions are otherwise identical. Modern sources provide the following additional credits: Fred Ryle, makeup artist; W. I. O'Sullivan, production supervisor; and Milton Schwarzwald, musical director. Schwarzwald's score includes an orchestral version of Anton Rubenstein's Kamenoi Oistrow , a Dramatic Lamento by an unknown composer, and Josef Pasternak's "Sometime, Somehow, Somewhere." According to modern sources The Crime of Dr. Crespi was produced at the New York Biograph studio. Filmmaker John Auer was a young director from Budapest who had worked for several years on Spanish-language films and subsequently had a long career at Republic. Although made for Liberty Pictures, the film was released by Republic Pictures Corp. when that company was initially formed. Other versions of Edgar Allan Poe's story include Prelude , a 1927 British short, written, directed and starring Castleton Knight; a one-hour 1961 television production for the NBC anthology series Thriller , entitled The Premature Burial , directed by Douglas Heyes and starring Boris Karloff; and a 1962 American-International Picture, Premature Burial , produced and directed by Roger Corman and starring Ray Milland (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ; F6.3906). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 Oct 1935.
---
Film Daily
24 Sep 35
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 35
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
24 Sep 35
p. 12.
Movie Action
Oct 1935.
---
New York Times
13 Jan 36
p. 14.
Variety
15 Jan 36
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A J. H. Auer Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by the short story "The Premature Burial" by Edgar Allan Poe in Dollar Newspaper (31 Jul 1844).
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 October 1935
Copyright Claimants:
Republic Pictures Corp. and Liberty Pictures Corp. Republic Pictures Corp. and Liberty Pictures Corp.
Copyright Dates:
16 October 1935 16 October 1935
Copyright Numbers:
LP5952 LP5862
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA High Fidelity Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
63-64 or 66
Length(in feet):
5,944
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
789
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Dr. Andre Crespi, a noted surgeon and head of the prestigious Taft Clinic, reads in the newspaper that Dr. Stephen Ross, a famous physician, has been seriously injured in an auto accident. When Ross's wife Estelle attempts to contact Crespi in order to ask him to operate on her husband, he avoids her phone calls. Crespi is reluctant to treat Ross, his former assistant, because he was once in love with Estelle and believes that Ross stole her affections from him. However, he finally agrees to perform surgery and uses the opportunity to get revenge for the loss of Estelle. During the operation, Crespi gives Ross an injection that makes him appear dead, and after handling burial arrangements, he sneaks into the morgue to reveal his horrifying plan and to taunt Ross, who is merely in a state of paralysis, able to hear everything, but unable to move or speak. When the drug wears off, Ross will have already been buried. Dr. Thomas, who is held in low esteem at the hospital, notices that Crespi had Ross's death certificate filled out in advance, and when he confronts him, Crespi keeps him tied up during the funeral and later threatens to commit him to a mental institution if he ever tells the truth. However, Thomas goes to Arnold, another doctor at the clinic, and convinces him to exhume Ross's body in order to perform an autopsy to determine if he was poisoned. On the operating table, Ross eerily comes to life, and then makes his way to Crespi, who has been drinking in his office. A terror-stricken Crespi eventually realizes that Ross ... +


Dr. Andre Crespi, a noted surgeon and head of the prestigious Taft Clinic, reads in the newspaper that Dr. Stephen Ross, a famous physician, has been seriously injured in an auto accident. When Ross's wife Estelle attempts to contact Crespi in order to ask him to operate on her husband, he avoids her phone calls. Crespi is reluctant to treat Ross, his former assistant, because he was once in love with Estelle and believes that Ross stole her affections from him. However, he finally agrees to perform surgery and uses the opportunity to get revenge for the loss of Estelle. During the operation, Crespi gives Ross an injection that makes him appear dead, and after handling burial arrangements, he sneaks into the morgue to reveal his horrifying plan and to taunt Ross, who is merely in a state of paralysis, able to hear everything, but unable to move or speak. When the drug wears off, Ross will have already been buried. Dr. Thomas, who is held in low esteem at the hospital, notices that Crespi had Ross's death certificate filled out in advance, and when he confronts him, Crespi keeps him tied up during the funeral and later threatens to commit him to a mental institution if he ever tells the truth. However, Thomas goes to Arnold, another doctor at the clinic, and convinces him to exhume Ross's body in order to perform an autopsy to determine if he was poisoned. On the operating table, Ross eerily comes to life, and then makes his way to Crespi, who has been drinking in his office. A terror-stricken Crespi eventually realizes that Ross is not a ghost when Estelle, Thomas and Arnold rush in, and seeing that he has been exposed, he shoots himself. Dr. Arnold becomes the new head of the clinic, and drops his former girl friend, the nurse Miss Rexford, for Estelle, while Crespi's former nurse becomes interested in Thomas, now a respected doctor. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.