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Dr. Crippen (1963)

The real-life story of Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen, who was hanged in London in 1910 for poisoning his wife so he could be with his young lover. But was he truly guilty of murder?

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Coral Browne ...
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R.D. Muir (as Sir Donald Wolfit)
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Captain McKenzie
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Paul Carpenter ...
Bruce Martin
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Lord Chief Justice
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Harry
Olga Lindo ...
Mrs. Arditti
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Mrs. Jackson
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Tobin
Edward Underdown ...
The Governor
Douglas Bradley-Smith ...
Hamilton Dyce ...
Dr. Rogers
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Storyline

A dramatization of Britain's notorious Crippen murder case. American-born Hawley Harvey Crippen (nicknamed "Peter"), a mild-mannered, middle-aged doctor who made his living in London selling quack remedies, was convicted and hanged in 1910 for poisoning his wife, Belle, dismembering her body and burying the remains in the coal cellar of their home before fleeing England with his mistress, Ethel Le Neve, only to be arrested aboard ship while en route to North America. The movie opens with the start of Crippen's trial in the Old Bailey; flashbacks provide a look at the misery of Crippen's marriage to the overbearing Belle, a failed music-hall performer with an eye for younger men, and how Crippen found true love in the person of his young secretary, until events reached their dreadful climax. That Crippen caused his wife's death, there is little doubt, but this movie wonders: Was it a deliberate act? Written by Eugene Kim <genekim@concentric.net>

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The crime of the century! Was he really guilty? See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

3 June 1966 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Doctor Crippen  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Robertson Justice receives a "guest star" credit. See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Not a One Man Woman
(uncredited)
Music by Ken Jones
Lyrics by Dominic John
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User Reviews

The Good 'Dr.'
30 June 1999 | by (Arlington, Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

A compact, modestly budgeted movie that looks perfectly at home on home video (which is how I saw it). "Dr. Crippen" boasts flavorful performances by Donald Pleasence as the not-so-good doctor, Coral Browne as the long-suffering as well as insufferable Belle, and a pre-"Collector" Samantha Eggar as Ethel Le Neve, every unhappily married middle-aged man's fantasy. Casting the British-born Pleasence and Australian native Browne as the American Crippens hardly seems to matter. Eggar may have been too beautiful to play Le Neve (who, judging from photographs, was still a darkly attractive young woman). The movie is, perhaps, too economical; although we do get to see Crippen and Le Neve disguised as father and son for their ill-fated ocean voyage, I wished other colorful details of the case had also been re-created, such as Crippen's recklessly escorting Le Neve to a charity ball shortly after his wife's disappearance. As for the movie's suggestion that Crippen wasn't truly guilty of premeditated murder, my reply is: perhaps - but that doesn't really explain why Crippen cut up his wife's body and buried the pieces in the coal cellar.

The real Ethel Le Neve was still alive when this film was first released (she died in 1967). One wonders if she saw it. One wonders what she thought if she had.


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