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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
INNER SANCTUM "Face of the Dead" 1954
INNER SANCTUM was a television series that ran for 40 episodes during 1954. It was based on the long running radio program (1941-1952) of the same name. It presented various mystery, terror and thriller stories. (There was also a b-film series released by Universal Studios in the 40's)
In this one, we have a man pulling a pistol out and shooting Everett Sloane, then staggering out of the room. The viewers do not get to see the gunman's face. The next scene has a Police Detective, Jack Klugman in an early role, standing over the mortally wounded Sloane. Sloane is well known to the Police as he is a local crime boss.
Klugman asks who shot him, not really expecting an answer. Sloane does respond and tells Klugman that it was number one henchman. Sloane had found out that his wife, Gloria McGehee has been stepping out with said henchman. Sloane had just beaten the man up and destroyed his face before getting shot. Sloane then smiles and dies.
Now the story cuts to a shady plastic surgeon's office. In the waiting area is Miss McGehee and minor thug, Harry Bellaver. The surgeon exits his operating room and says that his patient is a mess. It will take 4-5 days to fix the damage and create a new face. The doc wants to head out to get some air, but a pistol stuck in his ribs ends that idea. Back to work is the implied suggestion.
Several days later the doc is finished with his work. The man he has operated on has his face completely bandaged. The man staggers out and is hugged by McGehee. He then turns on the surgeon and pulls a gun. The surgeon, John McGovern, says that he was expecting a move like this. He says that the last laugh will be his as he is shot dead.
Bellaver and McGehee load the bandaged man into a car and they head for San Francisco. The plan is to hide out for a while so the bandaged man can heal up. They are then going to take a boat to warmer climes.
When the bandages come off all are in for a rude shock. The doc has indeed had the last laugh, he has given man the face of his murdered boss, Everett Sloane. This needless to say turns Miss McGehee right off any idea of a south-seas trip. Of course we all know this is going to end up with more dead bodies.
Considering that the whole production was filmed in just two rooms, it works rather well. Old pros Sloane and Bellaver are quite good here. Sloane was on the big screen and television from 1941 till 1965. Bellaver some will recall from his 136 episode run on the top flight (1958-63) cop show, NAKED CITY. He also had bits in various film noir like, KISS OF DEATH, SIDE STREET,NO WAY OUT, THE BROTHERS RICO and SLAUGHTER ON TENTH AVENUE.
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