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Thursday, May 29, 2008

THE RETURN OF DOCTOR X (1939)


1939 may be Golden-Age Hollywood’s banner year, but not for Humphrey Bogart who was either miscast or fourth-billed in support of Bette Davis, George Raft, Kay Francis or James Cagney. Here, he’s miscast in a part designed for Boris Karloff(!) as a back-from-the-dead anemic psychotic killer. The jokey musical background score allows little chance for real thrills and with Wayne Morris, the nominal lead, playing a tyro reporter the comic possibilities are dim. As the smooth surgeon who puts the puzzle together, Dennis Morgan comes off reasonably well and got bumped up to starring roles the next year. Bogie had to wait two.

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