Friday, 27 April 2007

Shock (1946)

Shock, made in 1946 and directed by Alfred L. Werker, is one of those B-movies that turns out to be a lot better than you expected. In fact it’s a highly entertaining little movie. I guess you could describe it as a film noir with a tinge of horror. A young woman witnesses a man killing his wife. She goes into shock, and a psychiatrist is sent for. The psychiatrist turns out to be the man she saw murdering his wife! This is not a spoiler – this all happens in the first few minutes. The psychiatrist then has to find a way to make sure the woman can’t give evidence against him.

Vincent Price plays the psychiatrist, and it’s an excellent Price performance, somewhat larger-than-life and flamboyant but definitely not hammy. He manages to be very sinister and rather charming. The rest of the cast are adequate. The cinematography is very film noir, with classic film noir lighting. There’s a scene during a thunderstorm where you only see what’s happening when the lightning flashes that is particularly well done. The plot is melodramatic but it works surprisingly well. You can pick this one up here in Australia for $5; I’m not sure how available it is elsewhere. It’s a rather well made and very effective little movie and it’s well worth checking out.

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