Doctor X (1932)

77 or 80 mins | Horror | 27 August 1932

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Cinematographers:

Ray Rennahan, Richard Towers

Editor:

George Amy

Production Designer:

Anton Grot

Production Company:

First National Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

FD credits Ray Rennahan with Technicolor photography. Modern sources add the following information: Black and white prints were shipped to small towns and to foreign markets, while color prints were reserved for major cities. The film was one of the last made using the two-strip Technicolor process and it was the first horror film to be shot in color. The color version of the film was thought to be lost untilthe 1970s. Warner Bros. decided to make the film to complete their contract with Technicolor, since the two-strip process had not proved popular with the public. The studio bought the rights to the play for $5000. According to some modern sources, Michael Curtiz shot the film late at night after other units had left the studio and told ghost stories to the cast in order to create the proper atmosphere. Others maintain that Curtiz shot fifteen hours a day in order to impress studio head Jack Warner with his efficiency, but that he did not shoot exclusively at night. The love scenes between Fay Wray and Lee Tracy were shot at Laguna Beach. Technical advisor Dr. C. E. Warriner worked at the Glendale Bureau of Biological Research. This was Wray's first horror film, closely followed by the Warner Bros. film The Mystery of the Wax Museum which was also shot in two-strip Technicolor (see below). Modern sources list the following additional credits: Spec photo eff Fred Jackman; Asst dir Al Alborn, Marshall Hageman; Makeup Perc Westmore, Ray Romero; Hair Ruth Pursley; Props Limey Plews; Grip Owen Crompton; ... More Less

FD credits Ray Rennahan with Technicolor photography. Modern sources add the following information: Black and white prints were shipped to small towns and to foreign markets, while color prints were reserved for major cities. The film was one of the last made using the two-strip Technicolor process and it was the first horror film to be shot in color. The color version of the film was thought to be lost untilthe 1970s. Warner Bros. decided to make the film to complete their contract with Technicolor, since the two-strip process had not proved popular with the public. The studio bought the rights to the play for $5000. According to some modern sources, Michael Curtiz shot the film late at night after other units had left the studio and told ghost stories to the cast in order to create the proper atmosphere. Others maintain that Curtiz shot fifteen hours a day in order to impress studio head Jack Warner with his efficiency, but that he did not shoot exclusively at night. The love scenes between Fay Wray and Lee Tracy were shot at Laguna Beach. Technical advisor Dr. C. E. Warriner worked at the Glendale Bureau of Biological Research. This was Wray's first horror film, closely followed by the Warner Bros. film The Mystery of the Wax Museum which was also shot in two-strip Technicolor (see below). Modern sources list the following additional credits: Spec photo eff Fred Jackman; Asst dir Al Alborn, Marshall Hageman; Makeup Perc Westmore, Ray Romero; Hair Ruth Pursley; Props Limey Plews; Grip Owen Crompton; Sd rec Bob Lee, Stills Charles Scott Welborn; Contr to scr const George Rosener; Exec prod Darryl Zanuck , Hal Wallis; Technicolor 2nd cam W. Howard Greene; Technicolor asst cam Thad Brooks, Floyd Lee; Second cam Carl Guthrie; Cam Ellsworth Fredericks, Ernest Haller, William N. Williams, W. Robinson. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
8 Jul 32
p. 22.
Motion Picture Herald
11 Jun 32
pp. 29, 30
New York Times
4 Aug 32
p. 17.
Time
15 Aug 32
p. 26.
Variety
9 Aug 32
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
MUSIC
Vitaphone Orch cond
MAKEUP
Mask eff by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Terror by Howard W. Comstock and Allen C. Miller (New York, 9 Feb 1931).
DETAILS
Release Date:
27 August 1932
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 3 August 1932
Copyright Claimant:
First National Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
12 July 1932
Copyright Number:
LP3147
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
77 or 80
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

Reporter Lee Taylor watches as three men visit the morgue to examine the sixth body in a series of "moon murders:" strange murders involving cannibalism that always take place under the full moon. One of the men, Dr. Xavier, pronounces the murders to be the result of a fixation. Because the murders all occurred in the vicinity of his medical academy, Xavier asks the police for permission to conduct his own investigation and they reluctantly give him forty-eight hours. The residents of the academy are Xavier's daughter Joan; Dr. Wells, a student of cannibalism; Dr. Haines, who might have engaged in cannibalism when he was shipwrecked; Dr. Rowitz, who was shipwrecked with Haines; and Dr. Duke, Rowitz's assistant, and a student of the effects of lunar rays. Only Wells appears to be beyond suspicion because his missing arm makes it impossible for him to strangle anyone. Snooping outside the academy, Lee meets Joan. When he calls on her the next day, she tells him that his news stories have made it impossible for her father to conduct his experiments there. They all leave for Cliff Manor at Blackstone Shoals, Long Island, and Lee follows them. During Xavier's first attempt to find the murderer, the lights go out and Rowitz is killed. Joan volunteers to participate in the second experiment. This time, all the men except Wells are chained to their chairs. He secretly attaches synthetic flesh to his arm and face, which enables him to attack Joan, but he is stopped from killing her by Lee, who sets him on fire and pushes him out the window to ... +


Reporter Lee Taylor watches as three men visit the morgue to examine the sixth body in a series of "moon murders:" strange murders involving cannibalism that always take place under the full moon. One of the men, Dr. Xavier, pronounces the murders to be the result of a fixation. Because the murders all occurred in the vicinity of his medical academy, Xavier asks the police for permission to conduct his own investigation and they reluctantly give him forty-eight hours. The residents of the academy are Xavier's daughter Joan; Dr. Wells, a student of cannibalism; Dr. Haines, who might have engaged in cannibalism when he was shipwrecked; Dr. Rowitz, who was shipwrecked with Haines; and Dr. Duke, Rowitz's assistant, and a student of the effects of lunar rays. Only Wells appears to be beyond suspicion because his missing arm makes it impossible for him to strangle anyone. Snooping outside the academy, Lee meets Joan. When he calls on her the next day, she tells him that his news stories have made it impossible for her father to conduct his experiments there. They all leave for Cliff Manor at Blackstone Shoals, Long Island, and Lee follows them. During Xavier's first attempt to find the murderer, the lights go out and Rowitz is killed. Joan volunteers to participate in the second experiment. This time, all the men except Wells are chained to their chairs. He secretly attaches synthetic flesh to his arm and face, which enables him to attack Joan, but he is stopped from killing her by Lee, who sets him on fire and pushes him out the window to the cliffs, where he burns to death. +

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

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