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Mária Tasnádi Fekete
Jenny Marsh, still dangerously attractive after 5 years in prison for killing a man in defense of her shady lover Harry, clashes at first with parole officer Griff Marat, who's determined to make Jenny go straight. For lack of other prospects Griff finds Jenny a job in his own home, and his objectivity about her wavers, while Jenny continues to meet Harry secretly. However, when Jenny transfers her affections from Harry to Griff, the situation becomes even more dangerous... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director Douglas Sirk signed to make this film on the basis of Sam Fuller's original screenplay, which was called "The Lovers" and ended in a shoot-out. Co-producer Helen Deutsch rewrote the script and added a cop-out ending Sirk disliked. Sirk later said Deutsch's script changes ruined the film by depriving it of the sense of doom in Fuller's original story. See more »
They say it's the journey, not the destination, that usually counts with stories. In the case of Shockproof it's good to just focus on the journey, in all its B-movie-ness and, yes since it is Douglas Sirk, melodrama, because the destination kind of stinks. The film's story concerns a beautiful blonde parolee played by Patricia Knight who is put into the watchful eye and soon enough loving arms of her parole officer, Cornell Wilde. She's been wanting to get back together with her former lover, a gambler-hustler named Harry Wesson, who by the look of the guy is sleazy but perhaps not too bad a shake for a 'dame' like Knight plays. But the parole officer wants a better life for her, and that she knows it too. Soon she does, after some persistence, fall for Griff, but at a price when another character gets (preumably) murdered after a gunshot.
It becomes a lovers-on-the-run story, and, not to quote Harry's own line about the melodrama I mention above, this twist does bring some melodrama with it as the characters try to evade the law, cross into Mexico, go back into the states and Griff becomes an oil-drill worker. But the main problem of being on the lam catches up to them, and finally a decision is made. It's around here, in just the last few minutes, that the film really crumbles into predictability (and, to be fair, it wasn't Fuller's idea as the producer rewrote the script before filming). The acting and the script up until that point, however, does deliver on the promise of a simple premise. There's nothing terribly special about the story, but it works on its own terms as a tale of a love-triangle gone awry. We know the situation might be different if a character did something smarter, or did something more drastic or if, say, Harry went more into an actual criminal role and just ran off with Jenny to start with after she got out of prison.
But as it stands the performances are just fine- even the one-note crooning of the blind mother of Griff's who knows what she knows even without seeing, a real Fuller caricature if I ever saw one- and when it comes off like a real film-noir, with edge and believability, both of the legends Sirk and Fuller can get credit. It's no great shakes, but it passes 80 minutes by with some rich emotions and a, with a few exceptions in some scenes, solid dramatic turns and directions made by the characters.
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