STRANGE CONFESSION (1945)
Article #647 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 12-22-2002
Posting Date: 5-17-2003
A chemist explains to a lawyer the events that led up to him committing a murder.
What’s strange about it? Well, for one thing, about five minutes into the movie I started to get intense feeling of deja vu. It was more than the fact that this was an “Inner Sanctum Mystery” starring Lon Chaney Jr., or that it featured both J. Carrol Naish and Milburn Stone, both of whom had appeared in other Inner Sanctum mysteries as well. It was that the plot itself seemed extremely familiar, though not to the other movies in the series; instead, it bore a strong resemblance to THE MAN WHO RECLAIMED HIS HEAD. The similarity is more than coincidence; both movies were based on the same play; the main difference is that this one is somewhat shorter, and the profession of the main character has been changed from a writer to a chemist. Like the other movie, this isn’t really a horror movie; it’s a drama with marked horror elements during the denoument, so you shouldn’t go in expecting a horror movie throughout. The change of profession of the main character also adds a touch of science fiction not present in the original, as the plot at least partially revolves around a new drug designed to cure the flu, but the science fiction aspect of this idea may be too slight to be of any significance. It’s not really a mystery, either; there’s no search for a murderer, and everything is told in a very straightforward fashion. This is not to say the movie is weak; it may be one of the strongest of the Inner Sanctum movies, in fact. And though Lon Chaney Jr. isn’t quite as strong an actor as Claude Rains (the star of the original), he still does all right. And as this one is more readily available than the original, it might serve as a temporary substitute for those who have been frustrated in the search for the original.