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Film / The Crime Doctor's Strangest Case

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The Crime Doctor's Strangest Case is a 1943 American mystery film directed by Eugene Forde and starring Warner Baxter, Lynn Merrick and Gloria Dickson. It is the second in a series of Crime Doctor films made by Columbia Pictures.

Psychiatrist Robert Ordway (Baxter) comes to the aid of former client Jimmy Trotter (Lloyd Bridges), whose new employer, Walter Burns, is found poisoned. Having cleared Jimmy of a similar charge earlier, Ordway investigates. When the Burns family cook is revealed as an impostor, Ordway hypnotizes the housekeeper to unearth a complex web of family and business connections, revolving around the disappearance 30 years earlier of Burns' partner, and the theft of $50,000.


The Crime Doctor's Strangest Case contains examples of:

  • Chain Pain: The killer hits Dr. Ordway over the head with a chain and knocks him out in the abandoned nightclub.
  • Clear Their Name: Jimmy Trotter comes to Dr. Ordway to clear his name after he is accused of murdering his employer.
  • Creepy Housekeeper: The housekeeper Miss Patricia, who is an Ignored Enamored Underling and is very keen to cast suspicion on the victim's young and pretty second wife.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Everyone in Walter Burns' household has a motive for his murder: some more obscure than others.
  • Fat Suit: Evelyn Cartwright wears a very convincing one when she is undercover as the cook Mrs. Keppler.
  • Fresh Clue: When searching the abandoned nightclub, Dr. Ordway discovers that someone was there no more than 15 minutes before him because an oil lantern is still warm.
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  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Miss Patricia has been Walter Burns' housekeeper for 30 years, and before that was a dancer in his club. She has been in love for with him for that entire time and he never noticed. And then he gets murdered. Could unrequited love be a motive for murder?
  • It Works Better with Bullets: During Dr. Ordway's final confrontation with the killer, the killer attempts to shoot him only to discover that his gun has been unloaded.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: The rather plain housekeeper Miss Patricia reveals that she used to be lead dancer at Walter Burns' nightclub, and is shown in flashback to have been very attractive.
  • Pyromaniac: Mallory Cartwright admits to being 'careless with matches' and has a habit of setting fire to things; including, at the end of the movie, a police car.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: The bedbound Walter Burns is murdered by someone poisoning his coffee.
  • Tap on the Head: The killer raps Dr. Ordway over the head with a chain, knocking him out and causing him to drop his lantern. This, in turn, sets fire to the nightclub.
  • Tricked to Death: The bedbound Walter Burns is murdered by someone poisoning his coffee.