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Graham (J.Carrol Naish) is a greedy pharmaceutics manufacturer while
Jeffrey (Lon Chaney jr) is his idealistic but naive head scientist who
doesn't even mind that his bossgets all teh credits for his developments -
however, he repeatedly refuses to put medicines on the market that are not
thoroughly tested, even if that gest him into conflict with his boss.
Eventually, Graham lays his eyes on Mary (Brenda Joyce), Jeffrey's
wife, and has the excellent idea to send Jeffrey to South America for further
researches, and he plans to keep him there, indefinitely if need be.
Then influenza hits the town, and Graham decides to put an old, yet
unfinished flue remedy Jeffrey still has in development on the market just
to cash in on the epidemic ... while Jeffrey in South America successfully
finishes his research on an actually working flue remedy, but too late to
go into mass-production for the current epidemic.
Eventually, Jeffrey's and Mary's son Tommy (Gregory Marshall) catches
the flu, and Mary treats him with what she believes is Jeffrey's finished
remedy - not knowing that it's merely the earlier version ... and wouldn't
you know it, Tommy dies. Mary then packs a gun and pays a visit to Graham,
who hoped for a romantic evening but suddenly finds himself on the wrong
side of a gun ... Mary though can't shoot ...
But wait, Jeffrey has in the meantime arrived back home, and he is so
shattered by the news of his son's death that he cuts off Graham's head,
just like he claims that Graham has stolen his head. Then he givs himself
up to the authorities ...
Within the Inner Sanctum series of films, this is
probably one of the best films - which isn't saying much considering the
overall quality of teh series. Still, the film has a steady (if at times
too slow) build-up of tension and a finale with a decidedly macabre twist.
It might be no classic, but at least it's ok entertainment.
By the way, the play by Jean Bart Strange Confession is based on was
previously filmed in 1934 by Edward Ludwig as The
Man who Reclaimed his Head with Lionel Atwill and Joan Bennett and
Claude Raines in the Lon Chaney jr role - who was incidently Lon's father
in The Wolf Man ...