Skip to content

The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938)

When Edward G. Robinson’s soft spoken scientist catches Humphrey Bogart off guard he is quick to note, “a magnificent specimen of pure viciousness.” That he is but as usual, it’s hard to take your eyes off if the man who continues to fascinate movie fans world wide.

The Amazing Dr_ Clitterhouse - hs 1938

While many would classify Eddie G. as an on screen gangster and perhaps rightly so, he quite often played characters who were of a gentle nature or with a decidedly satirical bent towards comedy. Films like Larceny Inc. or Our Vines Have Tender Grapes. For this Warner Brothers feature from Anatole Litvak, Eddie is a well known doctor in high society circles who is dabbling in crime to further his research into the criminal mind.

Thankfully he has Bogie, Allen Jenkins, Maxie Rosenbloom, Ward Bond and Claire Trevor at hand to enhance his criminal activities and on the job experience.

clitterhouse gang

Eddie has been sacking the safe’s of high society folks at swank parties. While emptying his latest cache of goods, he actually bumps into Bogie who is about to crack the same safe. Police are called in and Eddie walks out the front door with pal and local detective Donald Crisp who is trying to solve the high end thefts.

Bogie retreats to his gang and the ring leader, Claire Trevor.

Eddie meanwhile learns of possible fences from Crisp and makes his way to the Trevor hideaway and meets the gang. It’s Eddie’s best scene in the film as he does nothing but impress Ward Bond and the gang with his quick wit and fast maneuvering at embarrassing a detective who has crashed the gangs apartment. When the copper leaves hat in hand, Eddie is “in.”

Safe to say Bogie is far from happy as his strong arm tactics and aggressive authority are about to be severely challenged.

ca. 1938 --- Dr. T.S. Clitterhouse (Edward G. Robinson) and "Rocks" Valentine (Humphrey Bogart) shine flashlights on each other in a scene from the 1938 film . --- Image by © John Springer Collection/CORBIS

Robinson’s rather meek criminal is really a mastermind and even in the midst of a heist, he’s taking notes, pulses and checking pupils while taking notes the entire time. Naturally he too is getting swept up in the excitement of the caper. He’ll just have to watch his back as Jack Warner’s go to gangster is sure to attempt putting a knife squarely in the middle of it.

Things are about to take a turn when Eddie’s research is finalized and he tries to separate himself from the criminal element and Trevor who has clearly fallen for the classy Doc.

bogie and robinson

Can Bogie’s conniving ways get the upper hand and put him squarely back in the driver’s seat with Trevor on his arm? Check in with Eddie to see if he has a solution that works for his criminologist mind set.

Prior to his directorial breakout with The Maltese Falcon, John Huston was a noted scriptwriter and fixer. He is credited here along with John Wexley. If you give the opening credits a read through, there’s even a Dr. Leo Shulman receiving a technical advisor nod. Perhaps Eddie had a real life criminologist to guide him through the proceedings.

claire trevor

Bogie plays the same role more or less that he’d been saddled with since signing with Warner’s. King of the Underworld, Racket Busters, Crime School and Invisible Stripes are an example of titles he would appear in during the 38/39 years. That doesn’t make a bit of difference. He still causes you to focus clearly upon him when he’s on screen. This time with the gangland name, “Rocks Valentine”.

Joining in the fun is Gale Page, Vladimir Sokoloff, John Litel and according to the IMDB, Ronald Reagan voices a radio broadcast within.

On a final note, if your a fan of the 1955 Ladykillers, you’ll be quick to note the one scene early on when the gang arrives back at their apartment all carrying violin cases and when a knock on the door occurs, they all grab their instruments and fake their strumming to a record.

clitterhouse glossy

Our headlining trio would reunite for John Huston ten years later in the now classic Key Largo after Bogie’s star had risen to leading man status and Eddie was playing for me his greatest gangster role, Johnny Rocco. Miss Trevor would win herself an Oscar as Eddie’s one time faded paramour in the Bogie-Bacall favorite..

This comical tale makes for a worthwhile revisit or new discovery if you are so inclined.

3 Comments »

  1. This one’s been a fave since I saw it as a kid, but I was trying to get a friend to watch it on TCM recently and as soon as he heard that title, he lost it and was laughing his head off. Ah well… but he did like the movie a lot after all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lazarus' Lair

NOT Just another WordPress.com weblog

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking Deeper at The Best Classic Movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

Alfred Hitchcock Master

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

Ruth's Old Movie Reviews

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

movies galore

Lazarus' Lair

NOT Just another WordPress.com weblog

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

Talking Pulp

All things pulp and then some

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking Deeper at The Best Classic Movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

Alfred Hitchcock Master

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

Ruth's Old Movie Reviews

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

movies galore

%d bloggers like this: