Friday, June 3, 2016

The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938)

Director: Anatole Litvak

Writers: John Wexley, John Huston, Barre Lyndon

Composer: Max Steiner

Starring: Edward G. Robinson, Claire Trevor, Humphrey Bogart, Allen Jenkins, Donald Crisp, Gale Page, Henry O'Neill, John Litel, Thruston Hall, Max 'Slapsie Maxie' Roesnbloom, Bert Hanlon, Curt Bois, Ward Bond, Vladimir Sokoloff, Billy Wayne, Robert Homans, Irving Bacon

More info: IMDb

Tagline: . . . a thunderbolt of thrills and intrigue

Plot: Dr. Clitterhouse is fascinated with the working of the criminal mind. His interest is so deep that he finds the best way to observe criminals in action is to become one himself! Whilst robbing a safe at an exclusive party he stumbles across an organized gang trying to the same thing. He teams up with the gang to observe them in action but one of the members, Rocks Valentine would like nothing better than to see Clitterhouse out of the way.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? YES!

Robinson is one of my favorite actors and he, along with James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart (also in this film) and Errol Flynn, are on my short list of wanting to watch their entire catalog.  This movie is loads of fun and it's due to the delightful performance by Robinson, the crisp, witty dialogue and the taut pacing. This picture is an awful lot of fun.  I couldn't get enough of Robinson's rapid fire jabs at Bogart (who took it but didn't like it).  for a film from 1938 this picture takes some unusually daring and mature steps.  Oh, and the ending really stunned me.  Considering how crime pictures were treated in the 30s and 40s, the fate of a certain someone will definitely surprise you.  It's definitely a solid Warner Bros. crime flick but the few laughs in it come from Dr. Clitterhouse's biting wit.  He's quick on his feet and this guy knows how to survive in the criminal world using only words.  Warner Bros. pretty much owned the crime genre throughout the 30s and 40s and I like seeing their films of this era that stand out from the standard crime picture that they also churned out.  This one is different and enjoyable as hell.  Warner Bros. gave this film the Warner Bros. Night at the Movies treatment which means you get goodies before the movie like a trailer (RACKET BUSTERS), a newsreel and some shorts.  You also get a commentary track from Dr. Drew Casper and Richard Jewell and two radio broadcasts of this story with Robinson, and the theatrical trailer.  It's a great disc and a no-brainer for fans of Robinson, Bogart or vintage crime pictures.

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