Mysterious Doctor The (1943)
Directed by Ben Stoloff with an original screenplay by Richard Weil this tame almost comical B movie ‘thriller’-mystery is set in the moors of England during World War II. The residents of the small town of Morgan’s Head are a superstitious lot who fear the wrath of a long dead miner whose headless body is said to still haunt a local tin mine (e.g. as a ghost); this keeps them from working in the mine despite the needs of this metal by their military during the war.
John Loder plays Sir Henry Leland the town’s official whose council the rest of the community seeks when a stranger claiming to be Dr. Frederick Holmes (Lester Matthews) on a walking tour arrives out of the fog at about the same time that a German parachutist was reported to have landed in the area. Though the doctor is able to give some proof to back up his claims the owner of the Running Horse the town’s local pub-hotel Simon Tewksbury (Frank Mayo uncredited) decides to follow him to the abandoned mine the next morning. Simon wears a hood over his face that was scarred in a mine explosion accident … and most moviegoers will see where that can lead. Hugh Penhryn (Forrester Harvey) had regaled Dr. Holmes with the town’s history and ghost story which had interested him in exploring the mine.
Eleanor Parker plays Letty Carstairs Simon’s niece who has sympathy for the local yokel village idiot Bart Redmond (Matt Willis) who is relentlessly teased by the town’s children. She’s also dating a young Army Lieutenant ‘Kit’ Hilton (Bruce Lester) who appeals to the community’s patriotism over their fear of this supposed ghost even though newly headless corpses begin to turn up – anyone who goes near the mine! Overall it’s not very credible it played to the very real fears of infiltration by the Nazis during WW II but its action is adequate enough to hold one’s interest for most of its less than one hour running time.