Doctor X (1932)




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Fay Wray screams when she first lays eyes on Lionel Atwill in Doctor X, but don't let that fool you. Atwill plays Fay's father this time around, and he may very well not be the diabolical "Moon Murderer" whom the police are seeking. Dr. Xavier (Atwill) maintains a research lab in a remote Long Island estate. The police suspect that one of Xavier's assistants--all "second-chancers" whose previous misdemeanors range from botched experiments to cannibalism!--is the mysterious murderer who strikes only when the moon is full. Newspaper reporter Lee Tracy sneaks into the estate to get a swell scoop, whereupon he falls in love with Fay. In trying to help the authorities, Xavier stages an elaborate trap for the Moon Murderer, with his daughter as the willing bait. The killer (we won't tell you who it is, but you'll figure it out anyway) reveals himself by coating his body with "synthetic flesh", which gives him supernatural powers. Based on a play by Howard C. Comstock and Allen C. Miner, Doctor X was originally filmed in two-color Technicolor; available for years only in black and white, the film was restored to its full tinted state in the 1970s.
Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MGM Home Entertainment

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Lionel Atwill
as Dr. Xavier
Fay Wray
as Joanne Xavier
Harry Beresford
as Dr. Duke
Robert Warwick
as Police Commissioner Stevens
Lee Tracy
as Lee Taylor
John Wray
as Dr. Haines
Mae Busch
as the Madame
Tom Dugan
as Sheriff
Leila Bennett
as Mamie, Dr. X's Housekeeper
Thomas E. Jackson
as Detective O'Halloran
Willard Robertson
as O'Halloran, Stevens' Assistant
George Rosener
as Otto, Dr. X's butler
Harry Holman
as Policeman
Preston S. Foster
as Dr. Welles
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Critic Reviews for Doctor X

All Critics (7)

O technicolor de duas cores e a influência clara do expressionismo alemão criam belas imagens e uma boa atmosfera, mas a trama é ridícula e o personagem de Tracy é irritante e parece ter saído de um cartoon.

November 22, 2006
Cinema em Cena

Disappoints as it plays like your average Charlie Chan crime thriller with some rather lame comic relief, a hardly puzzling mystery story and mostly stilted acting.

Full Review… | November 1, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews is the film's dark, shadowy look, an obvious carryover from the German Expressionism of the previous decade, that contributes most to its effectiveness.

Full Review… | October 5, 2006
Movie Metropolis

Not the most frightening or memorable horror film to come out of the 1930s, but inventive in its early and idiosyncratic use of color and in its remarkable set design.

Full Review… | October 6, 2004
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Over-the-top in its own right, and it's all wrapped in German Expressionist sets and shadows enhanced by the otherworldly look of early two-color Technicolor.

Full Review… | December 29, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Quote not available.

Full Review… | April 24, 2012
Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review Database

Audience Reviews for Doctor X

This is cannibalism A serial killer is on the loose and a local physician, Doctor Xavier, believes he can solve the mystery but he doesn't want his efforts getting out to the public. A local news reporter discovers the physician's involvement in the case and sneaks around his house trying to uncover clues. Will the killer take out the reporter and doctor before they can stop him? "I want to show you a new type of brain cell." Michael Curtiz, director of White Christmas, Casablanca, Mildred Pierce, The Adventures of Robin Hood, We're No Angels, The Vagabond King, and Yankee Doodle Dandee, delivers Doctor X. The storyline for this picture is very interesting and contains an element of who done it, comedy, and horror all mixed together. The script is fairly clever and the acting is very good. The cast includes Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Lee Tracy, and George Rosener. "What do you think about the incision at the base of the brain?" Doctor X is a movie I DVR'd off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) during a Lionel Atwill marathon. It seemed like a great movie for this holiday season and it lived up to my expectations. The make up at the end was awesome and the use of the cadavers was a fresh and innovative manner for a villain. I strongly recommend catching this movie at least once. "Synthetic flesh!" Grade: B

Kevin Robbins
Kevin Robbins

Not high grade horror, but a good spook fest none the less. Would have liked to see more of the make up effects through out the movie as a whole very much wasted in the short time they are used. The nice mix of spooky and mystery based with the that one comic relief and romantic formula that was expected of the time. The two strip color gives a nice touch to the lab equipment.

Joe Sicari
Joe Sicari

This Pre-Code film featured a masturbation joke early-on. This film is listed as the first color horror. There is a series of murders that lead the police to investigate a local medical research institute. A journalist is also secretly following this story, and learns that the police let the head of the academy do his own investigation before the officials are let to do their own investigation. The Dr is a able to deduce at least one of his colleagues is guilty, so he uses his super lie-detector machiney thing. There are some cool graphics with the creepy synthetic flesh which at part looks like the Grandpa in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There is also a clitoris joke (or at least thats how I took it!).


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