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In an effort to relieve the suffering of surgery patients, Dr. Thomas Bolton painstakingly develops an opium-based anesthetic, to which he gradually becomes addicted. In order to provide a continual supply of chemicals to continue his experiments and support his addiction, he falls in with a den of murderers who use his signature to sell cadavers to the local hospital. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
Boris Karloff gives a decidedly compassionate performance as a London surgeon madly trying to develop a gas of some kind to use in operations to relieve his patients of the inevitable pain that comes with surgery. The film chronicles much of the trial and error, ridicule from colleagues, and unfortunate reliance on opium based gas that surrounds Dr. Bolton, Karloff's character. Karloff walks in two circles: the first is at the hospital where he works with his son and is surrounded by other doctors and students - the second is a very poor part of the city where he helps the poor and is taken advantage of by a section of thieves and killers led by Black Ben(nice performance by Mr. De Wolf) and Resurrection Joe(played in a characteristically eerie fashion by Christopher Lee). Lee and De Wolf have a side business of killing wayward drunks and selling their bodies to the hospital. All they need is a signature from a doctor...that is where Karloff comes in. Although the film is not a "horror" film, it has some horror elements. Karloff really gives a nice, in-depth portrayal of a man destined to find a new way. The film has a great cast of British stalwarts such as De Wolf, Lee, Finlay Currie and Nigel Green. Production values are low, but the quality of film based on the budget used is exceedingly good.
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