Watch Calling Dr. Death
- 1 hr 2 min
In the movie Calling Dr. Death (Inner Sanctum Mystery), released in 1943, Lon Chaney Jr. stars as a talented but troubled psychiatrist, Dr. Mark Steele, who is haunted by the strange death of a patient under his care. The mystery surrounding the death consumes Steele, and he becomes increasingly erratic, fearing that he may have played a part in the patient's demise. Meanwhile, his wife Maria (Patricia Morison) grows increasingly distant, suspecting that her husband is hiding something from her.
The film opens with a shot of a room filled with fog, suggesting the unseen forces that are at work in Dr. Steele's life. As the movie progresses, the fog and atmospheric lighting become recurring motifs that add to the suspenseful tone of the film.
Dr. Steele's angst-ridden character is revealed through his strained relationships with those around him, including his wife Maria, his colleague Dr. Lynn Harper (J. Carrol Naish), and his patients. Lon Chaney Jr. carries the film with his powerful performance, bringing both intensity and vulnerability to the character of Dr. Steele.
One of Dr. Steele's patients, Mrs. Von Sturm (Ramsay Ames), provides a major plot point in the movie. Mrs. Von Sturm is a wealthy and beautiful woman who turns to Dr. Steele for help with her recurring nightmares. Dr. Steele becomes obsessed with her and begins to see her outside of their therapy sessions. When Mrs. Von Sturm is found dead, Dr. Steele becomes the prime suspect in her murder.
The film takes numerous twists and turns, keeping the viewer guessing until the end. The supporting performances by Patricia Morison and J. Carrol Naish are also admirable, adding depth to the story and serving as tools to reveal critical information.
The film's style is very much in line with the classic '40s noir mystery genre, featuring a moody score and shadowy lighting. The shots and angles are creative, reflecting the film's undeniably artistic bent.
Despite its age, Calling Dr. Death remains an impressive and well-crafted movie that holds up well today. It's a tense, atmospheric thriller packed with memorable performances, creative shots, and rich atmosphere that still manages to feel fresh and engrossing almost 80 years after its debut. For anyone who loves a good mystery or classic cinema, this movie is not to be missed.
In conclusion, Calling Dr. Death is a tense, atmospheric thriller that keeps the viewer guessing until the end. Lon Chaney Jr. delivers a stunning performance as the troubled psychiatrist Dr. Mark Steele, with compelling supporting roles by Patricia Morison and J. Carrol Naish. The film is a masterful example of the '40s noir mystery genre, featuring creative shots, shadowy lighting, and a rich, moody score that creates a palpable sense of dread throughout. For fans of classic cinema or mystery, Calling Dr. Death remains a must-see nearly 80 years after its release.