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In this 1934 per-code film with the selling and using illegal drugs driving the plot, a Doctor Crosby is found dead in the street, apparently run over by an automobile, but it is discovered that he was actually murdered---shot in the back by a 38-calibre bullet. But by who? And why?Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Passable little crime drama that is a titular remake...
... with the original "The Crosby Case" being a completely different movie made in the very early talkie era. The only thing they have in common is that both are murder mysteries.
The film opens on a man stumbling into the street and being hit by a careless cabbie, played by Warren Hymer. When the cabbie sees the man is dead he drives away, thinking he killed him.
Meanwhile the homicide detectives, headed by Police Inspector Thomas (Alan Dinehart), is trying to solve the murder of Dr. Crosby, who apparently was shot before the cabbie hit him. Whoever shot him must have been in a hurry because that person threw the gun on Crosby's desk. In Crosby's apartment the police find a single bedroom slipper....with a name on it? So pretty soon the police have rounded up the last patient to see Crosby alive based on an appointment book (Edward Van Sloan), the woman belonging to the bedroom slipper (Wynne Gibson), a random small time crook (John Wray), and the man who according to their records owned the gun that killed Crosby (Onslow Stevens). Each of these persons has something that they are trying to hide that has nothing to do with the murder, and so each is acting terribly guilty. So who did it? Watch and find out. It is briskly paced at only sixty minutes, and everybody does a good job. There are just some issues as to direction and police procedure that are weird.
When the police find out Crosby was shot, not just run over, they put his body back in his office. Do they plan to do the autopsy there? They mention Crosby is a "shady physician" known for malpractice more than practice, yet they never say what is meant by that. It might have been a more compelling drama if Crosby was not a corpse for the entire film. Finally there is some reporter hanging around in the inspector's office, so at home he puts his feet on the inspector's desk, yet he doesn't seem to want to scoop the murder and plays no part in solving the mystery at all. After the murder is solved he is STILL hanging around. That's pretty poor use of Skeets Gallagher, who was great with the clever biting quips over at Paramount.
What did I get about the era of 1934 by watching this film? First, police don't seem to use search warrants and have no problem with recording private conversations with no court oversight and nobody seems to care that they don't. Oh, and if you go blind in 1934, with no social safety net, some people at that time might think that they are better off dead. Shocking but true.
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