PILLOW OF DEATH (1945)
Article #540 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 9-6-2002
Posting date: 1-30-2003
When a murder is committed, a detective finds himself reckoning with several suspects, including the woman’s husband, the crabby matriarch of an old house, and a medium.
This is the fourth of the Inner Sanctum mysteries that I’ve seen so far. At their best they are mildly entertaining; unfortunately, this is the worst of the batch so far. Though it dispenses with the usual premise of the series (most of the others concern a single suspect accused of a murder that he himself thinks he may have committed) as well as the opening introduction with the floating head in the crystal ball, it doesn’t put much in its place. It simply throws together an uninteresting murder mystery with an only slightly less uninteresting “old dark house” story. It doesn’t even try to make the two work together; the haunted house aspect of the story never dovetails with the murder, and this smacks of laziness. Another sign of laziness is the complete lack of atmosphere in the seance sequences; it was almost as if no one could be bothered to spice up this movie at all. About all this movie really has going for it is a nice set and some decent performances, and one moment that is actually quite funny involving an old man’s musing on another “character’s” resemblance to a deceased Uncle Ben. And couldn’t they have also come up with a better title?