Directed by Lew Landers; produced by Samuel Rheiner and Walter Shenson
On a train, a mysterious man (Fritz Leiber) strikes up a conversation with a bored passenger (Eve Miller), and tells her a story. It’s about a man (Charles Russell) who accidentally kills his girlfriend. Panicking, he deposits the body on a departing train and hides in a boarding house in a small town, trapped there by a flood. Then, events start to close in on the inadvertent criminal, as he tries to buy time until the flood recedes and he can flee.
In a vein similar to the popular radio anthology series of the same name, Inner Sanctum may have been appealing as a later 1950s television programme. Unfortunately, this movie would have been one of its less successful episodes. The set-up is interesting with Dr Valonius, a less than creepy (actually rather benevolent) seer, who re-appears in the last couple of minutes (which constitute the best sequence of the film). The other characters are very ordinary. One, a boy (Dale Belding), starts off rather dense but becomes smarter later on, putting together clues in a way that would do justice to a professional detective.
There is some humour, which is at least entertaining, but which is misplaced in the context of the film. The dialogue is good, and the acting is competent. The story is the main culprit. One expects more of a twist to the principal story-line and, though a surprise comes at the end, it doesn’t redeem the bulk of the tale, or the movie in general. I have a suspicion that the ‘book-ends’ to the movie were the justification for the rest of it - a version of a writer or producer thinking a good premise is as satisfactory as having a good plot. The direction is pedestrian and doesn’t help matters.
While Inner Sanctum’s actors do a good job, there is nothing really here to hold the viewer after the beginning grabs him.