The warden of a California prison suspects that a New York gangster who is about to complete his sentence and be released is in reality a double for the real criminal, despite fingerprints and evidence that prove otherwise. The detective assigned to the case, aided by a girl reporter, ultimately establish the correctness of the warden' suspicions, following some adventures, misadventures, a couple of killings and some light romance along the way. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
A nonhorror item in Universal's SHOCK THEATER package
1941's "Sealed Lips" was a George Waggner production during a stellar year which included "Man Made Monster," "Horror Island," and his greatest triumph, "The Wolf Man," all of which ended up together in Universal's popular SHOCK! television package issued in 1957. This being one of the infrequent nonhorror titles, it has understandably gone under the radar ever since. John Litel does double duty here, as imprisoned Fred M. Morton, shortly due to be released, and lookalike killer Mike Rofano, casually roaming free despite his many crimes, because he's been looking after Fred's lonely wife Mary (Anne Nagel), who hopes that by cooperating she will eventually be reunited with her real husband. Although the villains are played by such fine character actors as Russell Hicks and Charles Lane, they get shortchanged in screen time, with the investigators receiving most of the footage. The dependable William Gargan heads up the cast, but the dull June Clyde provides zero comic relief, so the most interesting character is the deaf Lips Haggarty (Ralf Harolde), no doubt the inspiration for the title, whose lipreading abilities help crack the case. Harolde usually played shifty gangsters, so this was a welcome change of pace for him, with solid support from Addison Richards, Mary Gordon, Joseph Crehan, and the unbilled Alan Bridge. The pretty Anne Nagel is always worth watching, and was coming off her two best known horror titles, "Black Friday" and "Man Made Monster." A victim of tragedy (husband Ross Alexander committed suicide in 1936), the unhappy actress became an alcoholic and died in 1966 at the youthful age of 50.
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