The Crime of Dr. Crespi (1935)

By Buster Crabbe | Classic Film Reviews | 19 Aug 2020

Starring: Erik von Stroheim, Harriet Russell

Director: John H. Auer (Hungary)

Genre: Horror, Mystery 

Availability: YouTube


Watch Quality   B

The video is a bit blurry and pixelated, but it doesn't interfere with the viewing. The sound is relatively clear.


Plot Summary

A vengeful and antisocial scientist uses an experimental drug to fake the death of his rival and bury him alive.  But his carelessness leads his subordinates to suspect foul play.


Star Power   C+

Perennial villain Erik von Stroheim plays a fearsome mad scientist.  His frequent and noticeable changes of demeanor inject some life into this dry film.  But there is a distinct lack of a hero.


Chill Factor   F

There is no love in this movie, no music, no human kindness at all.  It's about as offputting a film as you could find in the time before gory horror.  Not recommended for date night.


Mental Health Check   C-

The slow-moving film manages the rare feat of being disturbing and boring at the same time.  The movie will keep you awake more from anger than fear.


Overall Grade   D+

There are a few moments of directorial genius, such as the use of the baby skeleton.  On the whole, though, this film is poorly written and slow.  It claims to be an adaptation of a story by Edgar Allen Poe, though it bears little resemblance other than the idea of being buried alive.  This movie should perhaps stay buried. 

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Buster Crabbe
Buster Crabbe

As a classic film enthusiast, I'm here to bring you all the content you've been waiting for since the 1920s. My favorites are 1950s science fiction, 1940s horror, and 1930s comedies. Old-time cinema lives on!

Classic Film Reviews
Classic Film Reviews

Join me in my love of classic cinema, focusing on the 1930s through 1960s.

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