Strange Confession (1945)

61-62 mins | Mystery | 6 October 1945

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HISTORY

Universal had previously adapted Jean Bart's play in 1934 as The Man Who Reclaimed His Head , starring Claude Rains and Joan Bennett and directed by Edward Ludwig (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.2724). According to modern sources, Universal failed to note that its contract with Bart made provisions for only one film version of the play. Consequently, Strange Illusion remained entangled in legal problems for years. This film was the fifth entry in Universal's "Inner Sanctum" series, and was re-released in 1953 as The Missing Head. (For more information on the series, consult the Series Index and see the entry above for Calling Dr. Death .) Modern sources indicate that Harry Jones worked on the film as an assistant director and John Martin as a camera operator. In addition, modern sources include Leland Hodgson, Wheaton Chambers, Edward Mahler, Carl Vernell, Beatrice Roberts, Jack Perrin, William Desmond, Arthur Thalasso, Charles Jordan, Jody Gilbert, Eric Mayne, Ella Ethridge, Jack Davidson, James Carlisle, Broderick O'Farrell, Tony Santoro, Carlyle Blackwell, Jr., Lois Austin, Ann Lawrence, Dorothy Reisner, Gene Garrick and Sam Wolfe in the ... More Less

Universal had previously adapted Jean Bart's play in 1934 as The Man Who Reclaimed His Head , starring Claude Rains and Joan Bennett and directed by Edward Ludwig (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.2724). According to modern sources, Universal failed to note that its contract with Bart made provisions for only one film version of the play. Consequently, Strange Illusion remained entangled in legal problems for years. This film was the fifth entry in Universal's "Inner Sanctum" series, and was re-released in 1953 as The Missing Head. (For more information on the series, consult the Series Index and see the entry above for Calling Dr. Death .) Modern sources indicate that Harry Jones worked on the film as an assistant director and John Martin as a camera operator. In addition, modern sources include Leland Hodgson, Wheaton Chambers, Edward Mahler, Carl Vernell, Beatrice Roberts, Jack Perrin, William Desmond, Arthur Thalasso, Charles Jordan, Jody Gilbert, Eric Mayne, Ella Ethridge, Jack Davidson, James Carlisle, Broderick O'Farrell, Tony Santoro, Carlyle Blackwell, Jr., Lois Austin, Ann Lawrence, Dorothy Reisner, Gene Garrick and Sam Wolfe in the cast. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 Oct 1945.
---
Daily Variety
28 Sep 45
p. 4.
Film Daily
21 Dec 45
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 1945.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 45
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Feb 45
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Sep 45
p. 5.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 May 45
p. 2454.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Oct 45
p. 2669.
New York Times
8 Nov 45
p. 17.
Variety
14 Nov 45
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Dir of sd
[Sd] tech
Re-rec and eff mixer
Mus mixer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Man Who Reclaimed His Head by Jean Bart (New York, 8 Sep 1932).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Missing Head
Release Date:
6 October 1945
Production Date:
1 February--mid February 1945
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 September 1945
Copyright Number:
LP13512
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
61-62
Length(in feet):
5,559
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
10825
SYNOPSIS

As the bells of midnight chime across New York City, chemist Jeff Carter shocks his old college classmate, prominent attorney Brandon, by opening his valise to reveal a disembodied head. Jeff then tells his friend how he became a murderer: Although he is a brilliant chemist, the idealistic Jeff lives on a tight budget with his wife Mary while his employer, Roger Graham, gets the credit and riches from Jeff's discoveries. When Roger insists on marketing an untested drug, however, Jeff finally quits. Unable to get another research job because of Roger's blacklisting, Jeff is forced to work as a pharmacist at a small drugstore. Years later, the struggling Roger goes to the chemist's home and offers to give Jeff back his old job, with complete control and greater financial rewards. Jeff turns Roger down, but when Mary rages that she is tired of living sparsely and reminds him that he has his son Tommy's welfare to take into account, Jeff accepts the position. Later, while working on a new drug called Zymurgine, Jeff informs Roger that he must go to South America to test the mold of a rare plant. Roger readily agrees, hoping to court Mary while Jeff and his assistant, Dave Curtis, are out of the country. When a flu epidemic strikes New York, Roger immediately begins manufacturing and marketing Zymurgine, using one of Jeff's discarded formulas. Meanwhile, Jeff successfully concludes his experiments in South America and sends the perfected formula to Roger, but the drug manufacturer refuses to stop production and continues to sell the defective version. Tommy soon catches the flu and becomes another victim of Roger's greed when ... +


As the bells of midnight chime across New York City, chemist Jeff Carter shocks his old college classmate, prominent attorney Brandon, by opening his valise to reveal a disembodied head. Jeff then tells his friend how he became a murderer: Although he is a brilliant chemist, the idealistic Jeff lives on a tight budget with his wife Mary while his employer, Roger Graham, gets the credit and riches from Jeff's discoveries. When Roger insists on marketing an untested drug, however, Jeff finally quits. Unable to get another research job because of Roger's blacklisting, Jeff is forced to work as a pharmacist at a small drugstore. Years later, the struggling Roger goes to the chemist's home and offers to give Jeff back his old job, with complete control and greater financial rewards. Jeff turns Roger down, but when Mary rages that she is tired of living sparsely and reminds him that he has his son Tommy's welfare to take into account, Jeff accepts the position. Later, while working on a new drug called Zymurgine, Jeff informs Roger that he must go to South America to test the mold of a rare plant. Roger readily agrees, hoping to court Mary while Jeff and his assistant, Dave Curtis, are out of the country. When a flu epidemic strikes New York, Roger immediately begins manufacturing and marketing Zymurgine, using one of Jeff's discarded formulas. Meanwhile, Jeff successfully concludes his experiments in South America and sends the perfected formula to Roger, but the drug manufacturer refuses to stop production and continues to sell the defective version. Tommy soon catches the flu and becomes another victim of Roger's greed when Mary, against the advise of her personal physician, Dr. Williams, gives him the commercial version of Zymurgine. Armed with a gun, Mary goes to Graham's apartment intent on murder, but he easily disarms her. Jeff then arrives and, having gone temporarily insane upon hearing of his son's death, grabs a knife off the wall and hacks off Roger's head. Mary and the police arrive as Jeff finishes telling Brandon his story. As the chemist is taken into custody, Brandon promises Mary that he will defend Jeff in court and do everything he can for her husband. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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