Dr. Robert Ordway (Warner Baxter) is on vacation in California when he is approached by Kathleen Carson (Hillary Brooke). Kathleen met Ordway a few years ago. She tells him that she just married the wealthy Gordon Carson (Stephen Crane). She invites him to dinner and asks him to observe her husband and determine if he is insane. She tells him that she received an anonymous letter telling her that the last two Mrs. Carsons died within a week of their marriage, from questionable accidents. The letter also said that he made a couple unsuccessful suicide attempts as well. She wants to know if she is married to a murderer.
When Ordway arrives, there are a number of other dinner guests already there. At dinner one of the servants turns out to be David Lee (Dennis Moore), the brother of Carson’s first wife. He believes that Carson murdered his sister and has been haunting him ever since. After making a scene Carson locks himself in the den and some of the guests leave. A shot is heard from the den. When the door is broken down Carson is dead on the floor, a gun is beside him. At first blush it looks like suicide.
When it is discovered that Carson was murdered the list of suspects is everyone who was at dinner. The list includes the grieving widow, her father, John Massey (Lloyd Corrigan), Bob Rencoret (Mark Roberts), a friend who is secretly in love with Kathleen, and a pair of Spanish dancers named Miguel (Anthony Caruso) and Dolores Bragga (Lupita Tovar), that some suspect as being vampires. But how did someone get into a locked room, kill Carson and get out again?
“The Crime Doctor's Courage” was released in 1945 and was directed by George Sherman. It is a crime mystery, and released in February of 1945, is the fourth of ten movies in the Crime Doctor series. The series is based on the radio program “The Crime Doctor” that aired between 1940 and 1947.
The story may not have been fancy, but there were enough layers to it to make it intriguing. It starts out with a man suspected of being a black widower that morphs into a locked room mystery. It then turns into a horror-esque gothic movie with vampires that have an exotic dance routine and with the ability to disappear. The whole vampire aspect came out of left field, but it made the movie a lot more fun.
Benedict Castle in Riverside, California was used as the exotic home the Braggas lived in.