Movie Diary 5/21/2018

The Brain Machine (Ken Hughes, 1955). A straight crime picture with an odd title – it refers to the EEG used by the protagonist-physicians. The movie’s got a strong portrait of a smart, independent female doctor (the sterling Elizabeth Allan) who leaves her loyal but workaholic husband (Patrick Barr); he’s also a doctor. She’s kidnapped by psychopath Maxwell Reed, who almost certainly has something wrong with his head. An enjoyable enough ticking-clock exercise, though a little less feminist in the end than it seems at the beginning. Screenplay by director Hughes, who ended up directing Sextette and the slasher flick Night School.

innersanctum

Inner Sanctum (Lew Landers, 1948). Connected, I guess, to the book and radio series of the same title, but it’s not one of the Inner Sanctum B-movies made by Universal earlier in the decade. Just a weird little indie with a very routine story about a killer (maybe accidental killer) holing up in a small-town boarding house for a night. Leading man Charles Russell is a drip, although Lee Patrick and Mary Beth Hughes provide some useful support. The only good thing is the wraparound story, where a spooky gent on a train (Fritz Leiber) tells our tale to a young woman, with big-time mysterioso results. One of the film’s producers, Walter Shenson, went on to produce A Hard Day’s Night and Help!

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