The Return of Dr X (1939)

What is it with old films and the letter X, as if the letter encompasses every unknown, theoretical possibility, every horror you could imagine and every scientific breakthrough, we’ve got Dr X building a creature, Planet X is just so strange and lets not even talk about Algebra, solving for X is just insane, X should solve it’s own maths problems.

Have you ever watched a film just because the premise gripped you?
That isn’t why I had to watch this, the idea was far simpler, the idea of famed film noir detective Humphrey Bogart starring in a horror film was just too much to pass up.

The premise is simple, a reporter finds an actress dead but by the time the police turn up, the body has vanished and no one believes him, the next morning the actress appears in the office at the newspaper, the reporter teams up with a friend who happens to be a Doctor, and together they track down the reason for the growing list of dead bodies, some weird blood that defies all logic and Humphrey Bogart.

As you can see this film is pretty damn old, probably predate anything you’ve seen, and it’s not really that long, you can take an hour out of your day to see the film that Humphrey Bogart regrets filming and the reason why is a little… strange, I can’t imagine Bogart was low on money as he had filmed five other films in 1939, and he has been known to remark that this seems much more of a Bela Lugosi film, he didn’t seem in love with the film either so… I just don’t get it.

As a film, it is pretty obvious, there’s no real build up or suspense, the bad guy is pretty obvious but what do we expect? We had yet to see everything, it was still possible in 1939 for someone to be pale and suspicious but innocent, or maybe it didn’t matter if everyone knew that the bad guy was staring them right in the face.
The Return of Dr X doesn’t hold up by any means, but if you have a soft spot for old films and an hour to kill, it is interesting to watch just for view of where films have come from, but to me it is definitely a film to put on in the background while you’re doing something else, not something that requires an excessive amount of brain cells to follow.


I am Silent, part time programmer and full time narcissist, gamer, geek and man on a mission.

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