Not So Weird – Weird Woman (1944)

weird woman10
The second Inner Sanctum Mystery to hit the silver screen is a vast improvement over the first with a much stronger script taken from a novel by science-fiction stalwart Fritz Lieber and direction from a man familiar with the series as he directed the first film in Reginald Le Borg. Lon Chaney would once again return to star, much as he would the rest in the series and this time it would be as a professor of sociology. The film would find said professor come home from his travels abroad with a brand new wife, one also much younger than he and one who believes in the supernatural. That belief soon comes to clash with what realist Professor Reed knows to be true and yet when things happen that cannot be explained, what else can they be attributed to?

weird woman2This film, like Calling Dr. Death, sill employs a bit of voiceover though thankfully not to the great extent that the former film did. This film is even a little moodier and it holds your attention far more readily as well. A lot of what makes this movie successful can be attributed to its cast which would also include two beautiful women in Anne Gwynne as Reed’s new wife Paula and the villainous Ilona as portrayed by Evelyn Ankers. It would be Ankers who would capture your scrutiny as you see her scheme this way and that and all because she felt like the jilted lover. When Ilona’s machinations start to cause trouble and then eventually the death of one man the near-death of another, you know that it cannot be too long before she finally gets her comeuppance.

weird woman8While most would peg this film as a mystery or a thriller, it is more of a drama than anything else. There are thrills and suspense for sure, but there is little mystery present as you know exactly what is going on and everything is essentially shown. You know that it is Ilona who is behind all of it because the filmmakers tell you so and that is perhaps the one biggest fault that this film has is a case of mistaken identity. It tries to be one thing and to fit into one genre while it is clearly another. It might be called an Inner Sanctum Mystery and ultimately, it is a good film, but there is no real mystery present.

Despite what may be seen as a fault, and it is, the film never fails to entertain the viewer as Chaney and company really give it their all. Chaney is a little laid back at times, but he plays the aging professor that all the girls love quite well, though out of everyone, it is Ankers who steals the show. Weird Woman is not a perfect movie, but it is fun and it will pass the time if nothing else.

3 out of 5
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