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Calling Dr. Death

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Calling Dr. Death (1943), starring Lon Chaney Jr., J. Carrol Naish, Patricia Morison

Synopsis of Calling Dr. Death

Losing his memories for the last few days, neurologist Dr. Steele is told his wife has been brutally murdered. Aware of his wife’s infidelity he believes he may have been the killer and enlists the aid of his pretty nurse to hypnotize him.

Review of Calling Dr. Death

Calling Dr. Death is one in a series of the Inner Sanctum Mysteries movies, all starring the handsome Lon Chaney Jr.  Here, he plays a successful doctor, using hypnosis to treat his patients.  But his wife is an unrepentant adulteress, who refuses to divorce him.  She’s murdered, and her current lover is suspected by the police.  Although the lover is arrested and convicted, one determined police detective suspects Chaney.  Can Chaney prove his innocence with hypnosis?  Will his nurse help him?  Is something else going on? Do you need to ask?

Calling Dr. Death (1943), starring Lon Chaney Jr., J. Carrol Naish, Patricia Morison

In short, Calling Dr. Death is a very enjoyable murder mystery.  There’s no actual horror element, which we’ve come to suspect with Lon Chaney Jr.  But it’s definitely an enjoyable movie, available as part of the Inner Sanctum Mysteries collection as well.

Editorial review of Calling Dr. Death courtesy of

Calling Dr. Death: An unhappy marriage and secret feelings for a co-worker are the catalysts for murder in this tale of a man unconsciously led by the voices in his head. Strange Confession: A brilliant mind can be capable of the most evil things. Lon Chaney, Jr. portrays a chemist who is developing a cure for influenza. Not wanting to wait for the last key ingredient, his greedy boss releases the profitable drug into society with disastrous results.

The cast of characters in Calling Dr. Death

  • Doctor Mark Steele (Lon Chaney Jr.The Wolf ManMy Favorite Brunette).  A respected neurologist who treats his patients with hypnosis.  After the death of his cheating wife, and a memory loss about the time of her death, he suspects himself.
  • Maria Steele (Ramsay AmesThe Mummy’s Ghost).  Dr. Steele’s unfaithful wife.  Serially unfaithful, but she enjoys the social status of a successful doctor’s wife.  She is murdered brutally.  But who did it?
  • Robert Duval (David BruceThe Mad GhoulSergeant York).  Maria’s most recent lover, who is accused of her murder.  And waiting for execution on death row, unless last-minute evidence saves him.
  • Stella Madden (Patricia MorisonDressed to Kill).  Dr. Steele’s nurse, who attempts to use hypnosis to help him recover his memories.  But the session’s interrupted by Inspector Gregg.
  • Inspector Gregg (J. Carrol NaishHouse of FrankensteinSahara).  The police inspector investigating Maria’s memory, and pursues Dr. Steele.  But is he guilty?

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