Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, The (1938): Litvak’s Crime Drama, Starring Edward G. Robinson, Claire Trevor and Humphrey Bogart

Anatole Litvak directed The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, a crime film starring Edward G. Robinson, Claire Trevor and Humphrey Bogart.


Theatrical release poster


It was written by John Wexley and John Huston, based on “The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse,” the first play written by Barré Lyndon, which ran on Broadway with Cedric Hardwicke.

Dr. Clitterhouse (Edward G. Robinson), a wealthy society doctor in New York City, decides to research the behavior of criminals by becoming one of them. He begins a series of daring jewel robberies, measuring his own blood pressure, temperature and pulse, but he yearns for a larger sample for his study.

He learns from his patient, Police Inspector Lewis Lane (Donald Crisp), the name of the fence in the city, Joe Keller. But when he goes to meet Keller to sell what he has stolen, he finds out that “Joe” is actually “Jo” (Claire Trevor).

The doctor impresses Jo and a gang of thieves headed by ‘Rocks’ Valentine (Humphrey Bogart) with his exploits, so Jo invites him to join them.

Caught by Inspector Lane and placed on trial, the doctor insists that he did everything for scientific reasons and claims that it is “impossible for an insane man to write a sane book.” His determination to demonstrate his sanity, and thus willing to face death penalty, convinces the jury to rule that he is not guilty by reason of insanity.

Edward G. Robinson as Dr. Clitterhouse
Claire Trevor as Jo Keller
Humphrey Bogart as ‘Rocks’ Valentine
Allen Jenkins as Okay
Donald Crisp as Police Inspector Lewis Lane
Gale Page as Nurse Randolph
Henry O’Neill as Judge
John Litel as Mr. Monroe, the prosecuting attorney
Thurston Hall as Grant
Maxie Rosenbloom as Butch
Burt Hanlon as Pat ‘Pal’
Curt Bois as Rabbit


Directed by Anatole Litvak
Screenplay by John Wexley, John Huston, based on The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (play, 1937) by Barré Lyndon
Produced by Gilbert Miller, Robert Lord
Cinematography Tony Gaudio
Edited by Warren Low
Music by Max Steiner

Production and distribution:Warner

Release date: July 20, 1938 (NYC); July 30, 1938 (US)

Running time: 87 minutes