Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


PILLOW OF DEATH (1945). Director: Wallace Fox.

Donna Kincaid (Brenda Joyce of Tarzan and the Amazons) lives with her mostly stern and unpleasant relatives in a creeky old house. Her Aunt Belle (Clara Blandick) heartily disapproves of Donna's relationship with her boss, Wayne Fletcher (Lon Chaney, Jr.), because he already has a wife. This becomes moot when Mrs. Fletcher is found murdered in her bed. Things get complicated when the murders continue, with the victims always found suffocated (hence the "pillow"). In addition to the already named, the suspects include the medium, Julian (J. Edward Bromberg of The Mark of Zorro); the poor relation and servant Amelia (Rosalind Ivan of The Corn is Green); old Uncle Sam (George Cleveland); and creepy next-door neighbor Bruce (Bernard Thomas), who has a thing for Donna and is always puttering surreptitiously around the estate. Pillow of Death is decidedly one of the better "Inner Sanctum" mysteries, with an entertaining story, interesting characters, and a lot of plot twists, not to mention its quota of stupid moments along with a generous amount of suspense. The acting in general is quite good as well, with the character actors being somewhat more effective than the leads.

Verdict: Good "Inner Sanctum" mystery. ***.

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