Dr. Crosby is dead. Someone shot him and he staggered out in front of a taxi and got run over. The taxi driver, Sam Collins (Warren Hymer), takes off. The doorman Mike Costello (J. Farrell MacDonald) calls the cops. When the cab driver is called downtown for something else the doorman recognizes him. The cops investigate the doctor’s apartment and find a slipper belonging to Lynn Ashton (Wynne Gibson). She is also found and taken downtown.
The last known patient of Dr. Crosby was Professor Franz Lubeck (Edward Van Sloan). Police bring him in too. The gun that was used to shoot Crosby had the serial number filed down. The police manage to raise the number and find it belonged to Francis ‘Scotty’ Graham (Onslow Stevens). The police want to have a chat with him as well. The last person on the list of suspects is Willie McGuire (John Wray). He is a small-time safe cracker and weasel who has been seen hanging around the Doctor’s place. Five suspects are questioned, and everyone says they are innocent.
Adding to the facts at hand we find out that Ashton and Graham know each other. They used to be lovers before Graham spent two years in jail. During that time Ashton and Dr. Crosby were an item. When the police home in on Graham, Ashton decides to do a little detecting herself to try to help clear him. She's tenacious.
Police inspector Thomas (Alan Dinehart) has to sort through the alibis and lies to get to the truth. When he focuses in on one person in particular, he needs the help of some of the other suspects.
“The Crosby Case” was released in 1934 and was directed by Edwin L. Marin. The movie was produced by Carl Laemmle Jr. and Universal Pictures. It is a pre-code film. The shady dealings of the doctor, in particular, the selling of drugs, and Ashton’s relationship with two men, give evidence to the pre-code plot elements.
The movie has garnered fame due to the subtle allusion to an illegal abortion, another pre-code plot element. After watching the movie, a couple times, I have to say that if abortion was alluded to it was very subtle because I didn’t catch it.
It’s not a bad little film, but don’t expect it to be titillating because it’s pre-code. Everything bad is so cloaked that, unless you are specifically looking for it, you may miss the references all together.
The film is only about an hour long, so it moves at a brisk pace. With lots of “B” movie character actors, it is well done and not too hard on the attention span. Sorting out who’s who is not hard. There are flashbacks and back stories, but they are neat, and to the point.