Shock (1946)

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Directed by Alfred L. Werker
Written by Eugene Ling and Martin Berkeley; story by Albert DeMond
1946/USA
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
First viewing/Netflix rental

 

Lt. Paul Stewart: Well, if you give Janet this insulin, how certain can you be it’ll help her?

This is really pretty bad but this noirish shocker might appeal for its interesting premise and Vincent Price’s hammy but fun performance.

Janet Stewart (Anabel Shaw) arrives at a San Francisco hotel for a reunion with her released POW husband, whom she had long thought dead.  She is overcome with anxiety when it is early in the morning and he has not yet arrived.  Then she overhears a loud argument between the couple in the room next door and sees the man beat his wife to death with a candlestick.  By the time her husband finally arrives the next day, poor Janet is catatonic with shock.

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Lt. Stewart calls the house doctor, who refers him to a noted psychiatrist resident in the hotel.  This is the smooth-talking Dr. Richard Cross (Price).  Dr. Cross rapidly assesses the situation and recommends that Janet be taken immediately to his country sanitorium for peace, quiet and treatment.  It develops that the good doctor and his sexy nurse Elaine Jordan (Lynn Bari) have ample reason to ensure Janet does not recover too quickly … or ever.

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Anabel Shaw’s is not the only over-the-top performance in a film that milks each situation for maximum melodrama.  That does not prevent the movie from having a certain fascination for lovers of B cinema and/or Vincent Price.

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