Shock (1946): The Killer Shrink from Frisco!

Shock (1946)

Shock is a perverse b-thriller noir from 20th Century Fox. So traumatised is a young married woman after surreptitiously witnessing a murder that she lapses into catatonia. The shrink charged with her care in the sanatorium is the killer. An enticingly preposterous story with a super-suave performance by a clean-shaven Vincent Price as the shrink, and a smouldering turn by a 30-something Lynn Bari as his girl-friend and erstwhile femme-fatale.  Atmospherically shot by Joseph MacDonald (The Dark Corner, Call Northside 777, Panic in the Streets, Niagara) with fluid direction by Alfred L. Werker (He Walked by Night).

The highlight is when a psychotic patient escapes from his room in the sanatorium on a stormy night and causes havoc. It is a brilliantly executed sequence with a bravado performance by a veteran uncredited bit-player from the silent era, John Davidson.

Shock (1946) Shock (1946)

A camp delight.

4 Comments

  1. Hi! Tony,
    What a very concise, detailed, and well written review
    of a film that I place in the category of a “campy film noir.”
    Btw, I think it’s one of the titles that I plan to send to Alexander.(20th Century Fox) has released this film on DVD.
    And thanks,for mentioning cinematographer Joseph MacDonald, work on film. Because I’am following the “cinematographers” not the detectives.

    Tks, dcd ;)

  2. Vincent Price as a sinister murderer can turn a pedestrian film in something half-way decent, and that’s just what happens here. I own the Fox Noir DVD and watched this not long ago. I completely concur that the story night sequence (brilliantly lensed by the distinguished Joseph MacDonald) was the film’s highlight, and very observant of you Tony to note Davidson. Most excellent capsule of an uneven film that’s at least worth one look-see.

  3. I was shocked myself when the DVD I made a copy of from the Netflix original. The scene with Edwards blundering into the woman’s room and trying to strangle her and then the nurse, is repeated as an endless loops five or six times. Someone made a major mistake in the original DVD or something shocking happened. As a result I’ve gone nearly berserk and will probably have to be confined to a strait jacket. I tell you I’m sane and you can’t talk me out of it. Price’s performance as a mustacheless shrink is so lame, I don’t think I’ll be able to recover.

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