Saturday, June 30, 2012

Movie: The Murder of Dr. Harrigan



The Murder of Dr. Harrigan
Based on a story by Mignon G. Eberhart
(1936)


I have to admit that the notion of a mystery flick that takes place almost exclusively in a hospital didn’t really grab me. So this one lingered on my DVR for quite some time before I finally decided to take a look and ended up being pleasantly surprised. I don't think anyone would rank The Murder of Dr. Harrigan too highly in the annals of crime and detective cinema, but it's not a bad effort and at 66 minutes it doesn't tax your attention span.

It's obviously no spoiler to reveal that Dr. Harrigan is indeed murdered not too far into the proceedings. Which comes as no surprise since nearly all of the major characters here have some sort of beef with him. What throws a twist into the mix is that a wealthy patient who developed an experimental anesthetic Harrigan was planning to use has gone missing as well. Interestingly, Harrigan claimed the anesthetic was originally his formula and was stolen by said patient.

It was no great feat to figure out who did the killing though I wasn't able to divine the killer's motivation until it was revealed. Even though it was no great shakes as a whodunit I suspect that I found this one a bit more entertaining than a New York Times reviewer from back in the day.

As for writer Eberhart, she turned out a pile of novels in a career that lasted nearly sixty years. Here's a review of one of her books that's actually closer to a brief overview of her writing career.

3 comments:

  1. Looks like a lot of fun Bill - these titles rarely seem to be available in the UK (the version of TCM available here has virtually none of the content you get in the US) but I love Warner movies from the 1930s I hope to catch up with it sometime (somehow).

    Cheers,
    Sergio

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  2. Mystery flicks from that era seem to have a much higher "fun" quotient than later ones. I'm onto Haunted Honeymoon next, which I recorded without realizing that it was an adaptation of a Dorothy Sayers yarn.

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  3. Ah, now that one I have seen (as BUSMAN'S HONEYMOON)! Robert Mongtgomery isn't bad as Lord Peter Wimsey and as it was based on a stage play (which she later novelised) it makes for a pretty good talkie. Robert Newton is also great, as usual making a meal of his role!

    Sergio

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