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Dr. Crippen (1963)

TV-PG | | Crime, Drama, History | 3 June 1966 (Finland)
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?


Robert Lynn


Leigh Vance


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Pleasence ... Dr. Crippen
Samantha Eggar ... Ethel Le Neve
Coral Browne ... Belle Elmore
Donald Wolfit ... R.D. Muir (as Sir Donald Wolfit)
James Robertson Justice ... Captain McKenzie
John Arnatt ... Inspector Dew
Paul Carpenter Paul Carpenter ... Bruce Martin
Oliver Johnston ... Lord Chief Justice
John Lee ... Harry
Olga Lindo ... Mrs Arditti
Elspeth March ... Mrs Jackson
Geoffrey Toone ... Tobin
Edward Underdown Edward Underdown ... The Governor
Douglas Bradley-Smith Douglas Bradley-Smith ... Dr. Pepper
Hamilton Dyce Hamilton Dyce ... Dr. Rogers


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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Crime | Drama | History | Horror


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

3 June 1966 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Doctor Crippen See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Torchlight Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Regarded as the first criminal case where the suspect was apprehended through the use of radio communication. See more »


I'm Not a One Man Woman
Music by Ken Jones
Lyrics by Joe Roncoroni (as Dominic John)
See more »

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User Reviews

The notorious Crippen case
29 January 2020 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

I remember seeing Dr. Crippen in theaters way back in 1963 and have some vivid impressions. Seeing it again more than 50 years later confirmed those same impressions.

It's a simple but impressive work with three very sharp characterizations of the principals of one of Great Britain's most notorious murder cases/love triangle.

Donald Pleasance who was playing mostly villainous roles back in the day is the ill-fated Hawley Crippen, MD., one of London's most prominent physicians in Edwardian England. His success in his profession is not matched with a successful marriage.

But he's got certain joys on the side with young Ethel LeNeve, a typist in his office played by Samantha Eggar. He can hardly believe that this pretty young thing has fallen for a late forty something man who is hardly any kind romantic ideal.

But the performance that really riveted me back in the day was that of Coral Browne as Mrs. Crippen. I could not believe what an evil witch this woman was. You have to wonder what he saw in her back in the day to marry her. It was my impression of Browne that really made me remember the film, as it turns out exactly as I remember it. What a horrible human being Mrs. Crippen was.

The movie opens with the trial of Pleasence and Eggar with flashbacks to the events which include Browne's behavior, the affair of the two lovers and their escape to America which did not quite work out.

The questions about the Crippen case revolve around was her death deliberate or an accidental poisoning? Pleasence himself makes a confession of sorts, but the case is debated to this day by criminologists professional and amateur.

Pleasence and Eggar are fine in their roles and I consider this film to be one of Donald Pleasence's best performances. But Coral Browne got her best part in her career. You will remember her from this film most of all.

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