Much has been written about legendary director Michael Curtiz. I mean, his filmography speaks for itself: Casablanca, White Christmas, Yankee Doodle Dandy and The Adventures of Robin Hood. Very few directors bring quite the ability to jump across the decades and genres… yet each of these films are most certainly considered classics. In fact, these aren’t just classics, they are essentials of Hollywood cinema of the studio era.
However, there’s one genre (which the director also excelled in) which doesn’t get quite the same love, horror. This year, TCM is turning their attention to this blindspot with a brand new two color Technicolor restoration of Curtiz’s 1932 feature Doctor X. The film stars Lionel Atwill, the legendary Fay Wray and the (in my humble opinion) under-appreciated gem Lee Tracy in a story about murders at a medical school.
The mini documentary The Horror of Michael Curtiz airs after Doctor X. Follow along with film scholar, historian and Curtiz biography Alan K. Rhode as he gives an overview of the must-see that is the director’s horror work: Doctor X, Mystery of the Wax Museum and The Walking Dead.
The documentary is a mere morsel (six minutes) meant purely to wet your whistle to something a number of viewers might not be familiar with. Rhode’s insights to Curtiz’s career are numerous and in terms of Curtiz scholars, there is no one better. If you’re up late enough to check out Doctor X— or even DVR-ing it, make sure you check out The Horror of Michael Curtiz. Maybe you’ll have some new movies to add to your list.
Doctor X airs on Turner Classic Movies at 1:30am EST on Friday May 7th. Stay tuned after the movie for The Horror of Michael Curtiz.
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Podcaster, film historian, and general lover of all things classic film and television. Studying the contributions of women behind the camera in classic television.
You can find me on Twitter @kpierce624!