DOCTOR X (1932) B/W-C 77m dir: Michael Curtiz
w/Lionel Atwill, Lee Tracy, Fay Wray, Preston Foster, Arthur Edmund Carewe, John Wray, Harry Beresford, George Rosener, Leila Bennett, Robert Warwick
In this German-influenced horror film, a full-moon killer keeps striking out in a lunar pattern. The cops can't figure out why it's happening, or why a freaky scientist is smearing himself with synthetic flesh.
From The Movie Guide: "A rare excursion into horror for First National (later Warner Bros.), DOCTOR X became one of the great 'lost' films after its initial release and developed a reputation as a masterpiece of early talkie horror during the 30 years it went unseen. When a black-and-white print of this two-color Technicolor landmark was finally discovered, however, some found the film a disappointment. Now that enough time has passed and viewers can forget all those long-cherished expectations, the film proves to be a delightful product of its period. ...
"Talented studio craftsman Curtiz (CASABLANCA) shapes the material well, showing particular flair for his semi-expressionistic handling of the haunted house trappings of the story. If he doesn't have quite the flair for grotesquerie or black humor of James Whale [director of FRANKENSTEIN, etc.], he does use the wisecracking of Tracy and the glowering of Atwill to good effect. Atwill especially shines when called upon to casually discuss topics from cannibalism to depravity. Several scenes, from the unexpected animation of a skeleton to the recreation of the final murder, where the killer puts in an unexpected guest appearance, are genuinely eerie. Fay Wray, as Dr. Xavier's daughter, also gets to scream as only she can.
"Finally, the two-color Technicolor techniques (involving the processing of two negatives rather than the three that became standard after 1935) are extremely effective. The rather slack and hokey 1939 film, THE RETURN OF DOCTOR X, is not a sequel, but it does contain Humphrey Bogart's only horror movie appearance."