OOM #18 – Doctor X (1932)

Hello everyone! What a day guys, filled with sad and happy, like any normal day that one must live through. Here we are back again with another movie of horrific consequences and ghastly appearances, one to turn to bed and try to forget the horrors of the day and turn into an horror film, because at times they seem to be less horrible to the things that we have to go through in a day to day basis. Sorry, I’m a bit of in a gloomy mood today.

The movie today is a throwback, apparently the first color horror film, I guess that the sequences of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ (1925) don’t really count, and another horror film directed by Michael Curtiz, who also directed ‘The Walking Dead’ (1936), that I reviewed a few days ago on this own October Overlook Madness. You can see James Rolfe’s video review of this film, that prompted this watching, right here.

So, what are we expecting? Let’s see what this movie is all about!

Well, this is a personal surprise, after seeing so many negative and mixed reviews, I was ready to dismiss this film completely, but I ended up finding lots of things to like about it. It features this two-strip Technicolor way of doing color that was new in the 1930’s and that was used in seldom pictures that deserved it, and while this might not be among them, and it doesn’t really take advantage of the situation, the color system is among the most beautiful things that have ever graced the screen, and whenever I have the chance to see a movie like this, I marvel at the washed out colors, the mixture of green, red and yellow, how it all mixes up and brings together a picture of a memory that is half remembered in the midst of the world of cinema.

There is a treatise to be written about the two-strip color way of looking at things, and maybe there is one written but I’m too lazy to even go out and find one, but for the moment let’s say that it brings forward not  a more realistic picture of what was put on screen, at least when compared to black and white, as it brings forward a sense of strangeness, something that this movie thrives on, with all of its weird science going on. It’s fun to see the movies of the 30’s and this one with so many crazy scientists (with only one guilty, oh, but they all could be) that go to the outer boundaries of science, exploring things that many would call crazy or useless today.

The film is indeed beautiful in its set design, and while ridiculous in its plot, it has a heart, the character of the j0urnalist that tries to get the scoop can be annoying at times, but his quick rebuttals and the way that he wins Dr. Xavier’s daughter heart is just so lovely, maybe in the most screwball kinda way (before screwball comedy became a mainstream thing) that the film becomes lovely in every moment that passes. It’s also really scary at parts with the way that the lights go out or appear in the exact moments that they have. This is a movie to have a real good time and to have fun with, not much more. But, for that, it’s great.



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