Corridors of Blood
Directed by Robert Day
Written by Jean Scott Rogers
Amalgamated Productions/Producers Associates
First viewing/Netflix rental
Boris Karloff brings class to a late role. This is also notable for co-starring two famous Frankenstein monsters, Karloff and Christopher Lee.
It is 1840 and London is mired in Dickensian squalor. Dr. Bolton (Karloff) is a famous surgeon, altruist, and researchers. His most valued asset is the speed with which he can finish his operations. This is because his patients must be strapped down and held by several strong men due to the excruciating pain involved. In the evenings, Bolton experiments with various gases he believes may become useful as anesthetics. Unfortunately, all of his experiments are performed on himself.
Bolton also spends one day a week attending to charity patients. He gets called out to a bawdy house called Seven Inns and tricked into signing a death certificate. Resurrection Joe (Lee) had previously dispatched the patient and does a thriving business selling corpses for dissection.
Bolton finally thinks he is ready to demonstrate a pain-free procedure using nitrous oxide. His patient goes berserk in the operating theater and his reputation is badly damaged. Undeterred, Bolton starts experimenting with stronger and stronger mixtures, now containing opiates, His concoctions send him into dreamlike states that always seem to lead him back to the Seven Inns. Worse, he becomes an addict and his hands aren’t as steady as they once were.
This has a little bit of everything – gruesome surgeries, mad scientists, body snatchers, and Jeckyll and Hyde. It was filmed on the MGM lot and the production values are quite good. Lee is interesting as the affable, soft-spoken villain. Karloff had this well-intentioned but ultimately doomed scientist nailed by his 69th year.
IMDb had this listed as 1959 when i put it on my list. Now it is shown by most sources as being a 1959 film. The Criterion Collection DVD has an interesting commentary by the producer and a horror film expert.