Inner Sanctum (1948 film)

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Inner Sanctum
Original film poster
Directed by Lew Landers
Written by Jerome T. Gollard
Produced by Richard B. Morros (executive producer)
Samuel Rheiner (producer)
Walter Shenson (producer)
Starring Mary Beth Hughes
Charles Russell
Cinematography Allen G. Siegler
Edited by Fred R. Feitshans Jr.
Music by Leon Klatzkin
Distributed by Film Classics
Release date
  • October 15, 1948 (1948-10-15)
Running time
62 minutes
CountryUnited States

Inner Sanctum is a 1948 American film noir directed by Lew Landers based on the Simon & Schuster book series of the same name and the Inner Sanctum Mystery radio series. A previous film series of the show had been produced by Universal Pictures until 1945. It is the first and only film of M.R.S. productions, the initials of Richard B. Morros, Samuel Rheiner and Walter Shenson.


Plot summary

The film follows a murderer who is on the run and hiding out in a small town. As the story progresses, a boy who is sharing his room with the stranger realises he has witnessed the man killing a woman.

The story begins on a train at night where an elegantly dressed woman (Eve Miller) meets another passenger, a mysterious stranger (Fritz Leiber, Sr.) She is fascinated when he is able to predict every shake and bump of the train, and every flickering moment of darkness, an instant before they occur, although he claims he has never ridden on this train before. He is evidently gifted with some sort of second sight. He offers to tell her a story about events that began at some unspecified time at the next station.

The scene then shifts to acting out this narrative, which starts with Harold Dunlap (Charles Russell) inadvertently killing a woman with whom he has had a violent fight on the station platform. He places her body on the open rear end of a departing train and then goes in search of a boarding house where he can hide out for a time. There he encounters a young woman, Jean Maxwell (Mary Beth Hughes), with whom he appears to fall in love, and the young boy who saw him at the station. He attempts to silence the boy, but is revealed as the murderer when the boy is rescued. Resigned to his fate, Harold waits with Jean until the police arrive to arrest him.

After the film returns to the present, it is revealed that the mysterious stranger has an immediate and compelling interest in telling the story, and warns the woman not to get off the train when it stops. Instead, she spots her former fiancé (Harold) and leaves the train, where they fight and he kills her, revealing that she was the murder victim of the stranger's story.



Inner Sanctum was preserved and restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. [1] Restoration provided by The Packard Humanities Institute. The restoration premiered at the UCLA Festival of Preservation in 2022. [2]

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  1. "The rare films you shouldn't miss at the 2022 UCLA Festival of Preservation". Los Angeles Times. May 15, 2022. Retrieved March 8, 2023.
  2. "Buzzy Boop at the Concert / Inner Sanctum | UCLA Film & Television Archive". Retrieved March 7, 2023.