Writers: Eugene Ling (screenplay); Albert deMond (story); Martin Berkeley (additional dialogue)
Producer: Aubrey Schenck
Cinematographers: Joe MacDonald, Glen MacWilliams
Music: David Buttolph
20th Century Fox; 70 min; B&W
Vincent Price (Dr. Richard Cross), Lynn Bari (Nurse Elaine Jordan), Frank Latimore (Lt. Paul Stewart), Anabel Shaw (Mrs. Janet Stewart), Michael Dunne (Dr. Stevens), Reed Hadley (District Attorney O'Neill), Renee Carson (Miss Hatfield - Head Nurse), Charles Trowbridge (Dr. H.J. Harvey)
In his first top-billed role, Price plays Dr. Richard Cross, who kills his wife during an argument over an impending divorce. His deed is witnessed from a neighbouring hotel window by Mrs. Janet Stewart (Anabel Shaw). Already in a weakened mental state, she is discovered by her husband the following morning in a catatonic state. As coincidences in film noir would have it, she is treated by Cross himself, who has her committed to his own sanitarium in an effort to convince her that she is truly insane, having only imagined the murder scene.
According to the highly enjoyable but typographically challenged book Vincent Price Unmasked (by James Robert Parish and Steven Whitney), Shock received some bad notices upon its initial release for its negative portrayal of psychiatrists! Well, such controversy has receded over the years, but time hasn't been kind to this little film due an early, laughably bad dream sequence early where Janet is hearing the voice of her long-lost husband, and dashes to a giant doorknob (how Freudian): she is clearly seen running on one spot!
|ABOVE: Vincent Price, Lynn Bari|
More interesting is the relationship between Cross and his lover, Nurse Elaine. After five decades of roles in which Vincent Price commits many ghastly, vengeful acts onscreen, it is refreshing to see that this lead role features him not as a monster, but rather a remorseful man who nonetheless attempts to cover up his fatal mistake. However, he still has a moral center dictating to what measures he will carry out his deeds: "There is a limit beyond which even I can't go". It quickly becomes clear that Elaine is pulling his strings, convincing him to perform even more insidious things like shock therapy to drive Janet beyond the brink.
|ABOVE: Vincent Price, Anabel Shaw|