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Movie Critique – The Murder of Dr. Harrigan (Clue Club #6)

For review of all movies in the series, go here.

Stars: 5 / 5

Recommendation: Complete with romances, murder, mistaken identities, love affairs and betrayals, the movie could have been a film noir. Too bad it isn't considered one. 

The Murder of Dr. Harrigan is a 1936 American mystery film based on a story by Mignon G. Eberhart. This was the 6th film of the 12 Warner Brothers' Clue Club movies series that were released between 1935 and 1938.

On the day of the surgery of the head of a drug company, Peter Melady (portrayed by Robert Strange), the doctor supposed to operate on him, Dr. Harrigan (portrayed by John Eldredge), is killed and Melady mysteriously disappears. The case falls into the hands of Lt. Lamb (portrayed by Joseph Crehan). The police are on hunt of Dr. Carrigan and also solve the murder of Melady.

The writers of the plot have their humor in the story. Melady works owns a hospital, one of the goals of which is to alleviation of human suffering. The name Melady is so close to Malady meaning disease or ailment. There is all through a subtle humor all through the plot even though the murder investigation continues.

Movie carries the "A Clue Club Picture" logo in the beginning of the credits. Black Mask Magazine endorsed all the 12 movies - beginning with The White Cockatoo in 1935 and ends with The Mystery House in 1938. I might watch them sometime in future if I get a chance. 

Although the costumes were well designed, I couldn’t understand what this one particular character was wearing. Agnes Melady, portrayed by Anita Kerry, wears something like layers draped and pinned around her without a flow or movement, giving it a close resemblance to a straight jacket. 

Roberto Cortez's humor reflects in his role as Dr. George Lambert. Of course the chemistry between Kay Linaker's Nurse Sally Keating and Lambert is spot-on; also they form a duo of amateur medical doctor detectives trying to solve the case. Well, with everyone coming under suspicion of the police, what else could they have done. 

The entire film takes place in a hospital on a single day and night except for the one scene where the key characters go to the city morgue. A mere 67 minutes in its entirety the movie packed a punch. And if you missed a scene, you would definitely miss the flow.

Right about the time the killer was revealed, it gets apparent who that person is. Still it did leave a suspense to the viewers, especially about the accomplice. Complete with romances, murder, mistaken identities, love affairs and betrayals, the movie could have been a film noir. Too bad it isn't considered one. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Plot Reveals:

a. Malady hides the formula to his new anesthetic in a Lachrymatory bottle, a tear catcher bottle. Ancient Romans, Greeks, Egyptians and Victorians used this to store tears.

b. Don Barclay portraying as Johnson, the Drunk, sings The Lady in Red a cappella, with slightly modified lyrics. Original song was penned by Mort Dixon and composed by Allie Wrubel.

c. Kay Linaker, who played the role of Nurse Sally Keating debuted in this film. Although she ends up becoming a B movie actress, finally retiring in 1945 when she starts her second career as a successful writer for radio and tv shows. 

2) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

a. At one point when they show the nurse's call board, there are three calls waiting for nurses to answer - Rooms 3003, 322 and 327. In the very next scene when they show I again, the calls are different numbers even though no nurse had taken any. 


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