Public Domain Movie: Shock (1946)

Shock (1946): Review

Shock is a dark thriller starring Vincent Price and Lynn Bari. It’s not a bad movie, but it will never be one of my personal favorites. Perhaps because it contains more of the elements of a thriller than a horror—just not dark enough for my tastes, I guess. At the beginning of the movie, a young woman named Janet Stewart walks into a hotel and enquirers about the room she has booked. Unfortunately there has been a problem with the booking and the hotel is fully booked, leaving no room for Janet. The poor girl gets quite distressed on hearing this, because she is meant to go there and meet her husband, Paul. She has not seen him for four years, the last two of which he spent as a prisoner of war and, during that time, Janet thought he was dead.

In the end, a kindly hotelier manages to find a room for Janet and her husband, who has not arrived yet, but they must vacate it by noon the following day.

Once Janet is settled in the hotel room, and waiting for Paul, there is a rather surreal and, I thought, totally pointless dream sequence where Janet is rushing towards a closed door, and trying to reach Paul. The door keeps getting further away from her though, and when she does finally manage to reach it the doorknob is nearly as big as her head. It is a strange scene and just doesn’t seem to fit into the movie very well.

Janet wakes up a little later and goes to the window, where she witnesses an argument in the room opposite her own. The argument gets out of hand and the man murders his wife with a candle stick.

When Paul finally arrives at the hotel, he finds Janet sitting on the settee in a state of wide-eyed shock. The hotel doctor is called and recommends that a psychiatrist takes a look at Janet. Fortunately there is one staying in the hotel, Dr Cross (Vincent Price). Of course, when the Doctor walks into the hotel room it is none other than the wife-murderer himself – minus his candlestick naturally, and it doesn’t take Cross long to figure out what has sent the young lady into shock. It takes him even less time to convince Paul that his wife needs to have constant care and suggests his hospital, out in the country.

Croft’s mistress also works at the hospital. She is fully aware of what has happened and is truly his partner in crime. Together they try and convince Janet who recognizes Croft as the murder, that she did not see what she thought she did. When this fails they then try to convince her and everyone else that she is mad. As the police start closing in on the not so good doctor, though, he fears that there is only one option left to him. He must give Janet Insulin Shock Treatment and plans to administer an accidental overdose on the last session.


Additional Information

Director: Alfred L Werker

Cast

Vincent Price … Dr. Richard Cross
Lynn Bari … Elaine Jordan
Frank Latimore … Lt. Paul Stewart
Anabel Shaw … Janet Stewart
Stephen Dunne … Dr. Stevens
Renee Carson … Mrs. Hatfield
Charles Trowbridge … Dr. Franklin Harvey

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