Dr. Robert Ordway (Warner Baxter) decides to take a vacation. He heads out into the country to do some fishing and hunting. He’s contacted a man named Jeremiah Dobbs (Eddy Waller) who runs the general store in Brook Falls. Dobbs has secured a place for Ordway to stay with the local doctor, Dr. Sam Millerson (Griff Barnett) and his wife, Emma (Sarah Padden).
Millerson is an old-style country doctor and a bit cranky. It appears that there has been an illness going around town that the locals call Summer Complaint. The local barber, Ward Beechy (Trevor Bardette) is the latest to fall ill. Millerson gives Ward some homemade elixir.
The state determines that the summer complaint is actually typhoid fever. The county health department quarantines the town and sends Doctor Wickersham (Addison Richard) and Doctor Prescott (Robert Kellard) from the county clinic to vaccinate the entire town. Ordway gets drafted into helping give the residents the vaccine. Many of the residents are up in arms about the vaccines but they don’t have a choice. The state mandates the vaccines and everyone, although they grumble, complies.
The county believes that there were eleven illnesses and three deaths from the epidemic. Ordway discovers that one of the deaths, Ward Beechy, was actually murder. The cause of death is determined to be poison. Doc Millerson is the logical suspect since the medicine he gave Beechy was homemade, and he was upset that Beechy went to the county clinic the last time he was sick instead of calling him.
The list of suspects takes a giant leap when it is learned that Beechy was the local womanizer and has had affairs with several women in town. Now there are irate husbands and jealous other lovers to look at. Not to mention Beechy’s wife and son, who are not happy with Beechy’s past times. Ordway delves into many of the town’s secrets to find out who, of the many suspects, is angry enough to kill.
“The Millerson Case” was released in 1947 and was directed by George Archainbaud. It is a crime mystery and the eighth of ten crime doctor films based on the Crime Doctor Radio series. All ten films starred Warner Baxter as the main character.
The crime doctor movies are just a little bit different than your normal who-done-it from the forties. Baxter, as Dr. Ordway has a way of easily sailing through mysteries in a matter-of-fact way. There’s nothing hard boiled about him. Instead, he’s suave as he smoothly analyzes a crime and reveals the killer. Occasionally, as in this case, he does get into a fist fight with the killer.
The plot was a little involved and had a couple red herrings. There was also a plot devise where Dr. Wickersham gets shot at, but the reason why was never explained. Still, it was an enjoyable little film despite the slightly over done back wood characterizations of some of the characters.