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Strange Confession (1945)

Approved | | Crime, Horror, Drama | 5 October 1945 (USA)
A scientist who is working on a cure for influenza is victimized by his unscrupulous boss, who releases the vaccine before it's ready, resulting in the death of the scientist's young son.



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Cast overview:
Jeff (as Lon Chaney)
Brenda Joyce ...
Addison Richards ...
Dr. Williams
Mary Gordon ...
Mrs. O'Connor
George Chandler ...
Gregory Marshall ...
Tommy (as Gregory Muradian)
Wilton Graff ...
Francis McDonald ...
Jack Norton ...
Christian Rub ...
Mr. Moore


A distraught Jeff Carter arrives at a renowned lawyer's home with a mysterious bag and a confession he desperately wants heard. Jeff was an underpaid chemist working for unprincipled pharmaceutical tycoon Roger Graham, who takes the profit, as well as the credit, for Jeff's discoveries and hard work. When Graham prioritizes profits over safety, Jeff resigns and is blacklisted by his boss. A chastened Graham is later forced to relent and rehires Jeff under the latter's terms. He presses him to release an unproven influenza drug, but Jeff refuses and asks to go to South America to perfect the formula. The unscrupulous Graham uses the opportunity to release the drug as well as romance Jeff's attractive wife. When Jeff returns and finds that his son has died from the effects of the untested drug, he decides to take revenge. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1020@aol.com)

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Crime | Horror | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

5 October 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Missing Head  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Due to a rights dispute(being an unauthorized remake of 1934's "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head"), this film was not released to television with the other "Inner Sanctum" features. It was the fifth of the six entries, filmed February 1-14, 1945, and released October 5. After its theatrical reissue using the title "The Missing Head", the film vanished until its video release in the 1990s. See more »


Followed by Pillow of Death (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

Universal remake of "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head"
22 February 2014 | by (Youngstown,Ohio) – See all my reviews

As the fifth of Universal's six 'Inner Sanctum' mysteries, 1945's "Strange Confession" has the distinction of being the only one not included in the popular SHOCK! package of classic horror films issued to television in the late 50s. Out of circulation since its rerelease under the title "The Missing Head," it still hasn't made the television rounds to this day, but has been easily available with the other series entries on VHS and now DVD. The reason for its suppression is that this was an unauthorized remake of Jean Bart's unsuccessful play (a measly 28 performances) "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head," previously filmed by Universal in 1934, featuring 'Invisible Man' Claude Rains recreating his stage role opposite villain Lionel Atwill. Streamlined and updated for its star Lon Chaney, "Strange Confession" actually improves on its source, the Chaney protagonist, Jeff Carter, an impoverished chemist working for an unscrupulous boss, Roger Graham (J. Carrol Naish), who takes all the credit for himself; in the original, Rains was a too mild mannered pacifist writer mercilessly used by his employer (Atwill) to advance his warmongering agenda. Without the lengthy antiwar backstory, the remake flows much quicker, and Chaney's family has a charming little son (Gregory Muradian) rather than an insufferable little brat of a daughter, played by 'Baby Jane' (a LONG way from Shirley Temple). Roger Graham is just as ruthless as his inspiration, his company rushing formulas into production regardless of whether or not they actually succeed in curing the patients, and when Jeff Carter's wife (Brenda Joyce) discovers that Graham's 'miracle drug' failed to save her son from an influenza epidemic, she turns on him far more forcefully than Joan Bennett ever did. Among another solid supporting cast are Lloyd Bridges as a good sidekick, ubiquitous Milburn Stone as a bad one, and equally ubiquitous Addison Richards as a doctor, with Mary Gordon and Jack Norton playing neighbors. Lovely Brenda Joyce had just begun her five picture reign as Jane in RKO's 'Tarzan' series, only concluding with her final film in 1949, "Tarzan's Magic Fountain," opposite new Ape Man Lex Barker and former Universal starlet Evelyn Ankers. Brenda's other genre work included "Whispering Ghosts" (John Carradine), "Pillow of Death" (opposite Chaney again), "The Spider Woman Strikes Back" (Gale Sondergaard, Rondo Hatton), "Little Giant" (Abbott and Costello), and "Danger Woman" (Patricia Morison, from "Tarzan and the Huntress"). As for Chaney himself, this was perhaps his best showcase since "Man Made Monster" or "The Wolf Man," not an innocent man accused of murder (as in previous series entries), but a brilliant researcher driven to justifiable homicide by forces beyond his control. Contrary to the numerous naysayers, he is convincing in this role, thanks to a script seemingly tailor made for his personality, not exactly suave, just an all around decent family man; the final 'Inner Sanctum,' "Pillow of Death," found him wallowing in a weak film and bad script, concluding with him as the surprise killer, undeserving of sympathy. The non horror "Strange Confession" never looked better, arguably the best of the half dozen series titles.

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