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Inner Sanctum
Inner Sanctum
Actors: Charles Russell, Mary Beth Hughes, Dale Belding, Billy House, Fritz Leiber
Director: Lew Landers
Genres: Mystery & Suspense
NR     2004     1hr 2min

Studio: Gotham (dba Alpha) Release Date: 01/27/2004

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Movie Details

Actors: Charles Russell, Mary Beth Hughes, Dale Belding, Billy House, Fritz Leiber
Director: Lew Landers
Creators: Allen G. Siegler, Fred R. Feitshans Jr., Richard B. Morros, Samuel Rheiner, Walter Shenson, Jerome T. Gollard
Genres: Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 01/27/2004
Original Release Date: 10/15/1948
Theatrical Release Date: 10/15/1948
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 2min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Inner Sanctum
Steven Hellerstedt | 07/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

A know-it-all seer (Fritz Leiber, Sr., Shakespearean actor and father of the sci-fi writer) on a train performs a couple of cheap parlor tricks (tells time without looking at a watch, foretells when the train is about to reach a curve in the track), creeping out the beautiful, dark-haired stranger sitting next to him. The low rent Nostradamus drags the movie into a flashback when he begins to tell her about a brutal railroad murder committed by Harold Dunlap (Charles Russell.) Deftly told in as a nifty, wraparound flashback, INNER SANCTUM was directed by the prolific Lew Landers and features a cast of competent and undistinguished actors. It's a Poverty Row production from 1948 that relies on psychology and character interaction to provide the thrills and chills.
After the curtain raising murder Dunlap dumps the body on the rear car of the departing train and backs into the tall shadows of the desert station. Practically deserted, that is. There's someone else there, someone who likes to watch the trains pass by at night and who may, or may not, have seen Dunlap do the foul deed. Before Dunlap has a chance to crush the skull of this maybe witness they're called away. Dunlap attempts to hitchhike as far away from the scene as possible, but there are heavy rains and bridges are washed out. Before the night is out Dunlap is renting a room at a local boarding house in this small burg in the Pacific Northwest. Dunlap finds himself, inevitably, boarding in a house filled with well-realized characters, including the maybe witness from the train station.
INNER SANCTUM is very similar to Orson Welles' "The Stranger" and Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt." As in those movies, a weak and relatively powerless character learns a terrible secret about an accepted member of the community, a secret they can't reveal and one that puts them in grave danger. Unlike those other movies, though, INNER SANCTUM doesn't lift the hood on its killer and examine his engine. Russell is good as the mysterious stranger, but a little less mystery might have served this one better. Late in the movie we sort of find out why he killed the woman on the train, but the revelation is too late and otherwise unsatisfying. If the dialogue doesn't shimmer, a gem burbles up to the surface now and then - `You're pretty... when your lips aren't moving' is a decent enough tough guy line. By restricting the sets to boarding house, park, train, train station and a few other minor locales, and shooting a lot of night scenes, Landers effectively disguises the movie's low budget ambience. INNER SANCTUM is a diverting little crime thriller that probably could have been better and certainly could have been a lot worse.

Even in a small town, there is Inner Sanctum.
James McDonald | Southern California | 09/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Inner Sanctum Mysteries" was a popular radio program in January 7, 1941-October 5, 1952. The stories were surreal and eerie about people and situations that happen every day, but "Inner Sanctum" had a twist.
This "Inner Sanctum" film is truly based upon the radio program of the same name. It is from 1948 and will give you goosebumps. There are no monsters, no red blood, just a good eerie story about fate. I won't give away any of the plot, but the film starts with a woman on a train and a nice older gentleman sitting next to her tells her exactly what will happen next, but simply tells her as a gentle warning. He is always right and can tell what time it is without a watch. He has no need for such contrivances. The nice man proceeds to tell the woman a real story about a woman coming off a train.
In the cast: Charles Russell, Mary Beth Hughes, Billy House, Dale Belding, Fritz Leiber, Nana Bryant, Lee Patrick, Roscoe Ates, Eddie Parks and Eve Miller.
This film is truly an insomniacs weird dream. The film is highly interesting to watch and only runs 62 minutes long so you can get back to bed to sleep...if you dare.

Prior "Inner Sanctum" movies:
Calling Dr. Death (1943)
Weird Woman (1944)
Conjure Wife (1944)
Dead Man's Eyes (1944)
Strange Confession (Original Title: The Imposter [1945])
The Frozen Ghost (1945)
Weird Woman (1945)
Pillow of Death (1945)

Note: An "Inner Sanctum" tv series was made in 1954.

There are two films and one tv-movie that uses the title "Inner Sanctum", but they are not of the above genre. They are late-night adult films, "Inner Sanctum" (1991) and "Inner Sanctum 2" (1994).
Seduction: Three Tales from the "Inner Sanctum" (1992-TV).

You have been warned!"
Heed the warning:Do not get off the train!
Tonya | USA | 10/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Don't pass up this masterpiece of a classic thriller! Filled with suspense . Buy it you won't be disappointed. I also recommend "Nightmare Alley" also a wonderful movie filled with suspense and mystery!"
"You're very pretty...when those lips aren't moving."
Dave | Tennessee United States | 03/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This neglected noir gem from 1948 is one of the better Alpha dvds I've purchased. I'm surprised that I'd never heard of Charles Russell before watching this film. He gave an incredible performance given the limitations of a 62 minute movie.

Russell plays Harold Dunlap, a man who's just murdered his unfaithful wife at a train station. What he doesn't know is that a young boy sees him dumping her body on the departing train. He tries to flee the small town, but because of a bad flood all the bridges are destroyed. He's then forced to go to the only motel in town, but unfortunately for him the boy who spotted him dumping his wife's body lives upstairs!

Dunlap then tries different ways to get rid of the suspicious brat (trust me, this kid is one of the ugliest brats in the history of cinema!) while avoiding the temptations of a sexy young blonde (Mary Beth Hughes) who also lives in the building. This well-directed and well-scripted film noir makes the most of its low budget and is suprisingly very entertaining. Both the picture and sound quality are pretty good (all things considered). Highly recommended for fans of the genre."