Crime Doctor (1943)

65-66 mins | Mystery | 22 June 1943

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HISTORY

Although the character played by John Litel is named "Three Fingers" in the Var review, in the film he is called "Emilio Caspari." This was the first picture in Columbia's "Crime Doctor" series, which was based on the CBS radio program of the same name. The radio show was broadcast from 1940--1947, and over the years, Ray Collins, House Jameson, Everett Sloane and John McIntire portrayed Robert Ordway, the "Crime Doctor." The Columbia series ran from 1943--1949 and consisted of ten films, all starring Warner Baxter as Ordway. Rudolph Flothow was the producer of all but the first film, which were produced by Darmour, Inc. for ... More Less

Although the character played by John Litel is named "Three Fingers" in the Var review, in the film he is called "Emilio Caspari." This was the first picture in Columbia's "Crime Doctor" series, which was based on the CBS radio program of the same name. The radio show was broadcast from 1940--1947, and over the years, Ray Collins, House Jameson, Everett Sloane and John McIntire portrayed Robert Ordway, the "Crime Doctor." The Columbia series ran from 1943--1949 and consisted of ten films, all starring Warner Baxter as Ordway. Rudolph Flothow was the producer of all but the first film, which were produced by Darmour, Inc. for Columbia. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 Jun 1943.
---
Daily Variety
6 Jul 43
p. 3.
Film Daily
12 Aug 43
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jul 43
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
12 Jun 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 May 43
p. 1305.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
12 Jun 43
p. 1361.
New York Times
5 Jul 43
p. 11.
Variety
7 Jul 43
p. 8.
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
22 June 1943
Production Date:
25 March--13 April 1943
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
21 June 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12100
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
65-66
Length(in feet):
5,938
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9382
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

A man, who has been thrown from a speeding car, is found unconscious alongside Queens Road and is taken to a sanitarium by some passing college students. The nurses dub their unconscious patient "Ordway" because he is residing in a room endowed by the late philanthropist Robert Ordway. Consequently, when the man regains consciousness and discovers that he is suffering from amnesia, he takes the name of Robert Ordway. One day, while the recuperating Ordway is sitting in the hospital's solarium, a man approaches, calls him Phil and demands to know the location of "the valise." The man runs away when Ordway denies any knowledge of a valise and buzzes for help. Soon after, Ordway is released from the hospital and accepts the invitation of his physician, John Carey, to live at the doctor's house. When all avenues are exhausted and even his fingerprints yield no information about his identity, Ordway begins to indulge in self-pity. Tiring of his patient's self-destructive behavior, Dr. Carey challenges him to begin a new life, so Ordway decides to learn medicine and cure himself. Ten years later, Ordway has attained a degree in psychiatry and is in practice with Dr. Carey. Sensing he has an affinity for criminals, Ordway has devoted part of his practice to working within the prison system. When social worker Grace Fielding brings a prisoner to Ordway's office one day, the doctor and social worker become romantically involved. While at a nightclub with Grace, Ordway is recognized as gangster Phil Morgan by Joe Dylan and Nick Ferris, two members of Morgan's gang. Shocked, Nick accidentally cuts his hand and is treated ... +


A man, who has been thrown from a speeding car, is found unconscious alongside Queens Road and is taken to a sanitarium by some passing college students. The nurses dub their unconscious patient "Ordway" because he is residing in a room endowed by the late philanthropist Robert Ordway. Consequently, when the man regains consciousness and discovers that he is suffering from amnesia, he takes the name of Robert Ordway. One day, while the recuperating Ordway is sitting in the hospital's solarium, a man approaches, calls him Phil and demands to know the location of "the valise." The man runs away when Ordway denies any knowledge of a valise and buzzes for help. Soon after, Ordway is released from the hospital and accepts the invitation of his physician, John Carey, to live at the doctor's house. When all avenues are exhausted and even his fingerprints yield no information about his identity, Ordway begins to indulge in self-pity. Tiring of his patient's self-destructive behavior, Dr. Carey challenges him to begin a new life, so Ordway decides to learn medicine and cure himself. Ten years later, Ordway has attained a degree in psychiatry and is in practice with Dr. Carey. Sensing he has an affinity for criminals, Ordway has devoted part of his practice to working within the prison system. When social worker Grace Fielding brings a prisoner to Ordway's office one day, the doctor and social worker become romantically involved. While at a nightclub with Grace, Ordway is recognized as gangster Phil Morgan by Joe Dylan and Nick Ferris, two members of Morgan's gang. Shocked, Nick accidentally cuts his hand and is treated by Ordway. When Nick mentions that the doctor reminds him of Morgan, Ordway eagerly begins to question him, and Nick gives him a fake name and address. Outside the club, Nick and Joe are greeted by Emilio Caspari, another member of the gang, who has just been released from prison after serving a ten- year sentence. Emilio, who had visited Ordway at the sanitarium ten years earlier, is convinced that the doctor is Morgan and has been following him, hoping that he will lead him to a valise containing $200,000, which was stolen in a robbery. While visiting the prison one day, Ordway witnesses William Wheeler, an inmate and former military officer, trying to escape. Although he is warned by the warden that Wheeler is incorrigible, Ordway insists on interviewing the prisoner. In their meeting, Ordway convinces Wheeler that his leadership abilities can be positively employed to train his fellow prisoners. When Ordway's experiment proves a success, Wheeler is granted a parole and the doctor is appointed to head the parole board. Ordway's acceptance speech is broadcast throughout the state prison system. In the women's penitentiary, inmate Pearl Adams listens to the speech and recognizes Ordway's voice as that of Phil Morgan, her old boyfriend. Soon after, Emilio visits Ordway at his office and questions him about the missing $200,000. After Emilio leaves the office, Grace follows him to Frankie's Bar and threatens to have him arrested if he continues to harass the doctor. Uncertain whether Ordway is lying about his amnesia, Emilio decides to enlist Pearl's help in exposing the doctor. Following Emilio's suggestion, Pearl petitions for parole and at her hearing, she accuses Ordway of being Morgan. Stunned by her accusation, Ordway decides that the only way to regain his memory is to reenact the circumstances surrounding the robbery and decides that he must contact the gang. Directed by Grace to Frankie's Bar, Ordway finds Joe, Emilio and Nick there and asks their help in reconstructing the events that led up to Queens Road. The three then take Ordway to the room they fled to after the robbery. When Emilio accuses Ordway of cheating them and admits to throwing him unconscious from the car, the two men begin to fight and Ordway is struck on the head. His memory restored by the blow, Ordway seizes a gun, takes the gangsters prisoner and calls the police to return the money. Brought to trial for robbery, Ordway argues that his body houses two identities, that of the criminal Phil Morgan and of the innocent psychiatrist Robert Ordway. When the jury returns a guilty verdict with a recommendation for clemency, the judge suspends the doctor's sentence, allowing him to leave the courtroom as Robert Ordway. +

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

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