The Mad Doctor of Market Street (1942)

Genres - Drama, Horror  |   Run Time - 61 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Considering the fact that it was the only Universal horror film directed by cult favorite Joseph H. Lewis, it's a shame that Mad Doctor of Market Street isn't better than it is. Lionel Atwill dominates the proceedings as Dr. Benson, an addlepated medico obsessed with the notion of restoring the dead to life. After his experiment on the unfortunate William Saunders (Hardie Albright) goes awry, Benson escapes from the authorities by boarding a passenger ship. When the vessel sinks during a storm at sea, Benson and several survivors manage to pull ashore on a remote tropical island. Here the mad doctor wows the natives with his scientific knowhow, and before long he is appointed king of the tribe. In this capacity, he hopes to marry helpless heroine Patricia (Claire Dodd) and to use the rest of the shipwreck survivors as guinea pigs for his experiments. The main problem with Mad Doctor of Market Street is the inclusion of youthful Una Merkel as the heroine's aunt, a role obviously intended for an older, less prominent actress. Obliged to radically alter and "beef up" Merkel's part, the screenwriters were forced to shortchange the rest of the picture, and as a result Mad Doctor of Market Street is nowhere near as frightening or atmospheric as it should have been. Still, the film is worth the price of admission for its chilling closing sequence alone.

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Keywords

shipwreck, stranded, survivor, suspended-animation, doctor/nurse, island, maniac, native