Sunday, October 25, 2015

Shock (1946)

Director: Alfred L. Werker
Starring: Vincent Price, Lynn Bari, Frank Latimore, Anabel Shaw, Stephen Dunne, Reed Hadley, Renee Carson, Charles Trowbridge

At a city hotel, Janet (Shaw) waits for her husband (Latimore) to return for some well deserved time away from the pits of the War. During a nightmare, she awakens to see a man (Price) murder his wife with a candlestick holder which pushes her into a deep comatose state. After the authorities, a local psychiatrist turns up who turns out to be the killer himself.

Gothic tale is more than meets the eye, especially after a long hated history where critics accused the film misinterpreting the role of psychologists and their work with soldiers after the War. As an historical piece, Werker and company have much more to say about the position psychologists had, but as a film its atmosphere is what makes it truly succeed.

Price is his typical nuanced self and the banter he has with his on-screen mistress, played by Bari, is terrific. John Davidson, a bit-time supporting actor, has a spooky role as a crazed patient at the psych asylum. It's also worth noting the cinematography filmed jointly with Joseph MacDonald (The Young Lions) and Glen MacWilliams (Lifeboat). The film is one of several that has been lost in the public domain.


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