Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Return of Doctor X (1939)

The Return of Doctor X (1939) was an American science fiction-horror film directed by Vincent Sherman (making his directorial debut) and starred Wayne Morris, Rosemary Lane, and Humphrey Bogart.  The film was based on the short story "The Doctor's Secret" by William J. Makin.  Despite its name this film is not a direct sequel to Michael Curtiz's Dr. X. (1933). The film involves a modern day vampire (played by Humphrey Bogart) who terrorizes a major city. Boris Karloff was to star as Dr. X but that role went to Humphrey Bogart instead.

This film low budget thriller featured Bogart in his only horror movie but it failed miserably at the box office in its initial release. However, after Bogart's successes in The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Casablanca (1942), the motion picture was reissued by Warner Bros as a second feature and became moderately successful.
Humphrey Bogart was not at all enthusiastic about The Return of Doctor X (1939).  Bogart reportedly said of this film:

"This is one of the pictures that made me march in to [Warner Bros. studio chief Jack L. Warner] and ask for more money again. You can't believe what this one was like. I had a part that somebody like Bela Lugosi or Boris Karloff should have played. I was this doctor, brought back to life, and the only thing that nourished this poor bastard was blood. If it had been Jack Warner's blood, or Harry's, or Pop's, maybe I wouldn't have minded as much. The trouble was, they were drinking mine and I was making this stinking movie." 

Bogart never liked to talk about The Return of Doctor X (1939) which he felt was among his worst films.

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