Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


CALLING DR DEATH (1943). Director: Reginald LeBorg.

Universal studios' first "Inner Sanctum" mystery should have put paid to the series. Although it runs a little over an hour, it seems to be three hours long. Lon Chaney (Jr.) is a doctor whose wife (Ramsay Ames) is murdered. Chaney thinks he must have done it, but there are other suspects, including one of the wife's boyfriends, as well as his disabled wife. The solution is almost obvious from the start. J. Carroll Naish is fine as a policeman, and Patricia Morison does a nice turn as Chaney's nurse. Chaney is only adequate, however, and his whispered thoughts heard on the soundtrack can bring on somnambulance. Ramsay Ames' terrible performance as Stella, Chaney's worse half, pretty much explains why little more was heard of her, although she was in such films as The Mummy's Ghost and others in later years.

Verdict: Could help if you're having trouble getting to sleep. *

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