As the fifth of Universal's six 'Inner Sanctum' mysteries, 1945's "Strange Confession" has the distinction of being the only one not included in the popular SHOCK! package of classic horror films issued to television in the late 50s. Out of circulation since its rerelease under the title "The Missing Head," it still hasn't made the television rounds to this day, but has been easily available with the other series entries on VHS and now DVD. The reason for its suppression is that this was an unauthorized remake of Jean Bart's unsuccessful play (a measly 28 performances) "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head," previously filmed by Universal in 1934, featuring 'Invisible Man' Claude Rains recreating his stage role opposite villain Lionel Atwill. Streamlined and updated for its star Lon Chaney, "Strange Confession" actually improves on its source, the Chaney protagonist, Jeff Carter, an impoverished chemist working for an unscrupulous boss, Roger Graham (J. Carrol Naish), who takes all the credit for himself; in the original, Rains was a too mild mannered pacifist writer mercilessly used by his employer (Atwill) to advance his warmongering agenda. Without the lengthy antiwar backstory, the remake flows much quicker, and Chaney's family has a charming little son (Gregory Muradian) rather than an insufferable little brat of a daughter, played by 'Baby Jane' (a LONG way from Shirley Temple). Roger Graham is just as ruthless as his inspiration, his company rushing formulas into production regardless of whether or not they actually succeed in curing the patients, and when Jeff Carter's wife (Brenda Joyce) discovers that Graham's 'miracle drug' failed to save her son from an influenza epidemic, she turns on him far more forcefully than Joan Bennett ever did. Among another solid supporting cast are Lloyd Bridges as a good sidekick, ubiquitous Milburn Stone as a bad one, and equally ubiquitous Addison Richards as a doctor, with Mary Gordon and Jack Norton playing neighbors. Lovely Brenda Joyce had just begun her five picture reign as Jane in RKO's 'Tarzan' series, only concluding with her final film in 1949, "Tarzan's Magic Fountain," opposite new Ape Man Lex Barker and former Universal starlet Evelyn Ankers. Brenda's other genre work included "Whispering Ghosts" (John Carradine), "Pillow of Death" (opposite Chaney again), "The Spider Woman Strikes Back" (Gale Sondergaard, Rondo Hatton), "Little Giant" (Abbott and Costello), and "Danger Woman" (Patricia Morison, from "Tarzan and the Huntress"). As for Chaney himself, this was perhaps his best showcase since "Man Made Monster" or "The Wolf Man," not an innocent man accused of murder (as in previous series entries), but a brilliant researcher driven to justifiable homicide by forces beyond his control. Contrary to the numerous naysayers, he is convincing in this role, thanks to a script seemingly tailor made for his personality, not exactly suave, just an all around decent family man; the final 'Inner Sanctum,' "Pillow of Death," found him wallowing in a weak film and bad script, concluding with him as the surprise killer, undeserving of sympathy. The non horror "Strange Confession" never looked better, arguably the best of the half dozen series titles.