For Reel

Weird Woman (1944)
July 5, 2017, 1:00 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Reginald Le Borg
3 Stars
Weird Woman.jpgThis second film in the Inner Sanctum Mystery series was adapted from a novel by Fritz Lieber, and with that competent foundation it is superior to its predecessor. As in Calling Dr. Death, Lon Chaney stars as a tortured man whose anxieties are often demonstrated through hushed voiceovers. This internal narration is the driving gimmick of the series, and fortunately this installment finds Chaney’s dilemmas more complex. Whereas all he had to consider in the first film is what he may or may not have done, here his whole logical, reasonable way of looking at the world is threatened by his wife’s continued dalliances with witchcraft and the “coincidences” that result from it. The wife is played by Anne Gwynne, who is as wholesome and innocent as it gets and yet is bizarrely cast as a woman who is wrought with an air of mystery and danger around her. The dissonance between actress and part only adds more to the bizarre tone, and director Reginald Le Borg indulges in a number of moody dream sequences and super-impositions that set a genuinely unsettling tone. As nice as it is to see Chaney in a role that affords him more authority, he is hardly convincing as the ultra-charismatic professor, while the female cast (including Evelyn Ankers and the striking Elizabeth Russell) is uniformly excellent.

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