Simon Cordier is a well-respected magistrate who visits a condemned prisoner, Louis Girot, just before the man's execution. Girot again pleads his innocence insisting that he has been taken... See full summary »
Reginald Le Borg
Dr. Cross, a psychiatrist, is treating a young woman, Janet Stewart, who is in a coma-state, brought on when she heard loud arguing, went to her window and saw a man strike his wife with a candlestick and kill her. As she comes out of her shock, she recognizes Dr. Cross as the killer. He takes her to his sanitarium and urged by his nurse/lover, Elaine Jordan, gives Janet an overdose of insulin. But he can't bring himself to murder her in cold blood and asks Elaine to get the medicine to save her. She refuses, they argue, and he strangles her. He saves Janet's life, but now faces two murder charges. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Psychiatric villainy in an old-dark-house sanitarium, starring evildoers Price and Bari
At first, Shock looks like it should be assigned to the `Oneiric' Wing of forties film noir, but soon comes to occupy a niche in the Evil Psychiatry Wing instead. Anabel Shaw checks into a San Francisco Hotel awaiting her serviceman husband. Bad weather has delayed him, so, instead of curling up with a cozy mystery, she witnesses a murder from the balcony of her suite. Next morning, her husband finds her in a state of complete catatonia. A psychiatrist (Vincent Price) is summoned, who turns out to be none other than the murderer.
Checking sight angles from the balcony to his apartment across the way, Price realizes that Shaw's trancelike state no doubt stems from her seeing him take a candlestick to his older, inconvenient wife. He whisks her off to that chamber of horrors, his Private Sanitarium, to find out what she remembers. He and his accomplice/mistress Lynn Bari devise a scheme to make Shaw, and everyone else, think she's delusional that she views everyone as a murderer. Meanwhile, however, a fluke of circumstance leads the police to reopen the case of Price's wife, whose death had been contrived to look accidental. Next, Price and Bari escalate their therapy to dangerous insulin-shock treatments....
Price glides through his role with the disdainful urbanity that was his trademark in the morning of his career; interestingly, though, the plot turns on his having some shreds of conscience, or at least professional ethics, after all. The same can't be said of Bari as the Lady Macbeth of the piece; what can be said is that there should be more of her. She hits her peak during a violent nocturnal thunderstorm, when a menacing patient slips out of his room and into Shaw's. It really does turn the sanitarium into a chamber of horrors.
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