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directed by Lew Landers
USA 1948


The film's most horrifying moment is its very first: A man (Charles Russell) stabs a woman on a railroad siding and dumps her body like a sack of meal on the observation platform as the train pulls out. Alas, a bratty little boy (Dale Belding) is hanging around the tracks this stormy night and witnesses some of this; since Russell doesn't know how much, he tries but fails to silence the kid with a crowbar.

The storm has washed out roads and bridges in the Pacific Northwest, so Russell hitches a ride to a town so little that there's no hotel, only a rooming house where it turns out the meddlesome boy lives with his harried mother (the wonderful Lee Patrick, midpoint between The Maltese Falcon and Caged). Another resident, Mary Beth Hughes, spots that rarity, an unattached slab of male flesh, and comes at him in sections, to get him to take her away to San Francisco. But Russell, like a cunning beast of prey, only has eyes for the kid....

In its crummy look (the sets consist of the railroad siding, the boarding house, and a back-lot park) and creepy story, as well as in its ultimate surrender to an all-powerful and malevolent Fate, Inner Sanctum most resembles Edgar G. Ulmer's
Detour of three years earlier. But Lew Landers doesn't quite have Ulmer's touch (or, for that matter, Ann Savage). The movie also recalls Detour in that it seems to have been cobbled into coherence from footage already shot once the meager budget ran out.

Excerpt of review from Bill McVicar at located HERE


Theatrical Release: 15 October 1948 (USA)

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DVD Review: Alpha - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:01:56

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.50 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Alpha

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Alpha Video DVD Catalog

DVD Release Date: January 27th, 2004
Keep Case

Chapters 6



Inner Sanctum is a tight little noir from Film Classics that is not to be confused with Inner Sanctum Mysteries from Universal Studios. Despite some reviewers quoting 52 minutes if running time, the film is actually a bit over one hour - a normal running time for these B pictures from Poverty Row Studios. Charles Russell is menacing enough as a killer on the loose and Mary Beth Hughes is gorgeous as a babe that wants to get out of this rut with the first decent-looking fella that comes along.

This is better than what we usually see from Alpha, but still not major studio material. The transfer is interlaced and has a video tracking at the bottom of the frame throughout the film. There is also some damage and marks on the print, originally sourced from 16 mm. Image is somewhat soft and fuzzy at times, but it's still a watchable presentation all things considered (negative is likely lost forever and who know if 35 mm print exists anywhere). The sound has its own bouquet of issues. There are no extras except an Alpha Video DVD Catalog on a few screens. Detour this is not, but still worth a look either on this unimpressive disc or for free online.

  - Gregory Meshman


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