Film noir, a classic film style of the ?40s and ?50s, is noted for its dark themes, stark camera angles and high-contrast lighting. Comprising many of Hollywood?s finest films, film noir tells realistic stories about crime... more », mystery, femmes fatales and conflict. This post-World War II suspense thriller sets off an emotional roller coaster after the psychologically fragile wife of a POW (Anabel Shaw) witnesses a brutal murder from a hotel window while waiting to be reunited with her husband (Frank Latimer). By the time he arrives, she?s nearly comatose with shock. The hotel?s psychiatrist (Vincent Price) is called in to help. But just as she begins to recognize him as the murderer she saw, he realizes she was a witness to his crime. So he arranges to take her to his private sanitarium where he and his nurse-mistress (Lynn Bari) can insure that no one takes the young woman?s ravings seriously and they can secretly administer enough "treatment" to silence her forever. Meanwhile, her husband and the police begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems and as they get closer to the truth, this complex mystery takes some unexpected twists!« less
Vincent Price, in the living room, with a candlestick holder
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 09/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"From the Fox Noir series comes Shock (1946), a dark, entertaining little film featuring Vincent Price (The Fly, The Tingler, The Abominable Dr. Phibes) and Lynn Bari (Charlie Chan in City in Darkness, The Amazing Mr. X). Directed by Alfred L. Werker (He Walked by Night), the film also features Anabel Shaw (Home, Sweet Homicide, Gun Crazy), Frank Latimore (The Razor's Edge), Stephen Dunne (The Dark Past), and Charles Trowbridge (Valley of the Zombies).
As the film begins we see a woman named Janet Stewart (Shaw) checking into a San Franciscan hotel with the intent on meeting her husband Paul (Latimore), a lieutenant in the military who's been missing for the past couple years, only recently rescued from a POW camp, or something like that. Anyway, while anxiously awaiting the arrival of husband (two years is a long time to go without any action, and I should know), Janet witnesses a murder from her balcony as a man across the way bludgeons his wife to death during a heated argument. When Paul finally arrives, he finds his wife in a state of shock, unable to move or speak, presumably brought on by that which she witnessed earlier. The hotel doctor is called in, but seeing Janet's condition as something out of his league, he refers her to another hotel resident, a specialist in this sort of thing, named Dr. Richard Cross (Price), who also happens to be the same man Janet witnessed clubbing his now dead wife. Richard, quickly realizing the cause Janet's catatonic state, recommends she be taken to his private sanitarium for further `treatment'. Upon their arrival at the sanitarium we meet a nurse in attendance, one named Elaine Jordan (Bari), who happens to also be Richard's girlfriend (and the cause of the spat between Richard and his now dead wife). After getting Elaine up to speed on current events (she seems unusually cool about everything), she and Richard begin making plans to not only take care of the body of Richard's now deceased wife, but to also deal with the only witness to the crime who ain't saying much in her current state, but represents a real threat that when the shock wears off, she'll most likely spill the beans.
I enjoyed this film a lot, especially the performances by both Price and Bari, both of which represented the main strength of the feature, in my opinion. I've always been a fan of Vincent Price, particularly his ability to take on a role and make it seem believable. I found it very easy to buy off on the pretense of his being an eminent physician in the psychiatric field, one who specialized in disorders of the mind. I'm generally used to his more garish and over-the-top performances as in his later, straight up horror features, so it was interesting seeing him in an early, more restrained role, comparatively speaking (either way he's fun to watch). I thought Ms. Bari, who's displayed more prominently than Price on the DVD case artwork, also did a wonderful job, and I'm not just saying that because I'm partial to spicy brunettes. Her character was a subtly wicked piece of work, along with being extremely easy on the eyes, and it was easy to see how someone might go to such extremes in an effort to maintain a relationship with her (I don't know that I'd commit murder for her, but I might consider maiming someone for her affections). One really interesting element with the two characters was how Richard often felt the pangs of remorse or regret for his `un-Hippocratic' behavior, only to find a certain amount of appeasement from Elaine, who was driven by only one, encompassing desire, to be with Richard free and clear, no matter what had to be done to ensure the safety of the relationship (further cementing my belief that women are truly evil). As far as Shaw and Latimore's characters, they start off well enough, but their characters quickly fall into the realm of one dimensionality once the screenplay properly introduces Price's character. I thought there were some real opportunities to make them into more that what they were, but it wasn't to be especially given the film runs a mere 70 minutes and it seems more or less a showcase for Price. Sometimes I gripe about a film running too long, containing extraneous and unnecessary material, but in this case I think it was the opposite. There seemed a number of areas that could have been more developed (a couple of the characters, the disposition of Richard's wife's body, the subsequent police investigation, the horror of being stuck in a mental institution run by someone who knows you witnessed them murdering someone else, etc.). All in all the production values were decent enough, the direction capable, the key performances wonderful, but the screenplay seemed less than it could have been, resulting in a moderately solid film that could have been a whole lot more. Regardless, it's worth checking out, especially if you're a fan of Price.
The picture, presented in fullscreen (1.33:1), comes across very clean and clear, and the Dolby Digital audio, available in both English mono and stereo and Spanish mono, sounds wonderful. As far as special features there's an entertaining commentary track by film writer and historian John Stanley, liner notes, subtitles in both English and Spanish, and trailers for other features including Boomerang! (1947), Fourteen Hours (1951), House of Strangers (1949), I Wake Up Screaming (1941), Laura (1944), Vicki (1953), and Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950).
A shock to the system
Daniel Lee Taylor | GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas United States | 08/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Another one of the mid 1940's film noir examples. Vincent Price play the doctor with evil intent. After murdering his wife, he has the chance to do in the only witness to his crime. Will he or not? This is not a classic by any means, but Vincent Price is always fun to watch. This is a good example to watch from the period if you are unfamilar with it. It is also good if you are familar because this is not all that well known. Either way it is worth a watch."
Vincent Price hoot
Karen Sampson Hudson | Reno, NV United States | 01/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am an unabashed fan of ALL Vincent Price films, as I enjoy tremendously the actor's campy romp through melodrama. "Shock", from 1946, displays Price in his glory as a killer psychiatrist in love with a ruthless nurse who eggs him on in his plot to silence a woman who was a witness to his crime. The woman's soldier husband, freshly home from WWII and familiar with the syndrome of soldiers suffering from "shock", accepts Price's self-serving diagnosis of his wife. As the plot grinds on, providing at least a laugh a minute, he slowly begins to believe his wife rather than her doctor. Truth prevails in the end of this satisfying film, which provides the viewer with "escape from reality" on several levels. Recommended!"
Fantastic story plot 4 stars terrible dvd transfer 0 stars
Tonya | USA | 01/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Loved the story!Excellent mystery and suspense thriller.An excellent plot about a woman witnessing a murder and has a break down and is commited to an asylum. I do not want to say no more it will spoil the surprise!!! The picture was dark and grainy and sound quality poor. I could not enjoy the picture. Lousy dvd transfer!! I agree with laurent burel's posting. Do not buy this dvd until a better transfer comes along!!!rent it!I give it 4 stars because I loved Vincent Price and good story plot 0 stars for quality of dvd!"
Moral Of The Story: Don't Get Romantically Involved With Vin
Robert I. Hedges | 08/30/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Shock" is a stark and creepy piece of moody melodrama from 1946, starring the wonderful Vincent Price as a psychiatrist caught in a snare of his own making.
The film opens with a young woman checking into a San Francisco hotel to meet her husband who is finally home from the war. While waiting she sees a man in an adjacent room kill his wife in a fit of rage. The woman promptly goes into shock. When the young soldier gets to the hotel, he finds his wife with wide eyes and unable to communicate. He rings for a doctor who refers the case to an eminent psychiatrist who happens to be the murderer.
Price admits her to his private sanitarium and sedates her while conditioning her to believe that what she saw was a figment of her imagination. He almost succeeds with the help of his mistress, but the soldier is very persistent in trying to help his wife. He enlists the help of another psychiatrist who, with the help of the police, is able to free the fragile, sedated wife. In the end Price also loses his temper with his mistress, and is ultimately led off to meet justice.
Certainly parts of the film are a bit contrived, but the acting is quite good, the script is tight (the film is only 70 minutes long), and the high-contrast black and white photography is excellent. My only complaint about the film is that the soundtrack is a bit muddled, and a few lines of dialogue are a bit difficult to understand.
This is an excellent example of mid 1940s film production, and I recommend it."