7.5/10
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Shock Corridor (1963)

Not Rated | | Drama, Mystery | 19 June 1964 (Italy)
Bent on winning a Pulitzer Prize, a journalist commits himself to a mental institution to solve a strange and unclear murder.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Boden
...
Stuart
Hari Rhodes ...
Larry Tucker ...
Paul Dubov ...
Chuck Roberson ...
Neyle Morrow ...
John Matthews ...
Bill Zuckert ...
'Swanee' Swanson (as William Zuckert)
John Craig ...
Lloyd
Philip Ahn ...
Dr. Fong
Frank Gerstle ...
Lt. Kane
Rachel Romen ...
Singing Nympho
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Storyline

Johnny Barrett, an ambitious journalist, is determined to win a Pulitzer Prize by solving a murder committed in a lunatic asylum and witnessed only by three inmates, from whom the police have been unable to extract the information. With the connivance of a psychiatrist, and the reluctant help of his girlfriend, he succeeds in having himself declared insane and sent to the asylum. There he slowly tracks down and interviews the witnesses - but things are stranger than they seem ... Written by David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>

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Taglines:

The Medical Jungle Doctors Don't Talk About! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

19 June 1964 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Straightjacket  »

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Sound Mix:

(Ryder Sound Services)

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| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the initial scene in the psychiatrist's office, Dr. Fong has on his wall portraits of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. See more »

Goofs

When talking to the police near the beginning of the movie, when shot from the back, Cathy's coat collar is up, but when we see her from the front, her collar is down. See more »

Quotes

Cathy: [Appearing in John's dream] All of the men want me, Johnny. But I want you. And you - you want the Pulitzer Prize.
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Connections

Spoofed in Batman Forever (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
This truly is shocking!
2 July 2002 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

A journalist, determined to expose a murder, gets himself thrown into the mental hospital in which it occurred. While there, he has to fight to retain his sanity. This exposé and the murder, they're McGuffins. The film's biggest flaw is that these McGuffins are left so untouched (does Barrett actually believe that anything he might prove by interviewing mental patients will stand up in court?), which makes the allegorical part of the film stand out a bit too much. Fortunately the allegory is powerful and is well done. Amazingly, these major criticisms of American society, delivered in monologues by three very good performers, exist in this film, made in 1963. The tightness of the post-WWII generation was weakening a bit at the time, but the kind of things that are expressed here, exposing the paranoia and bigotry and the belligerence of the American hoi polloi, it's daring. I suppose it was allowed because this was obviously meant to be an exploitative B-movie and play to a small audience. Shock Corridor is probably most famous for its style, and that fame is very much deserved. The harsh lighting is gorgeous, as is all of the cinematography, in general. The choppy editing, probably influenced by the French New Wave that was taking place at the time, is also rather good. The acting is adequate. It's certainly not an actors' film, and the leads are easily forgettable. However, some of the inmates give good performances. Hari Rhodes as Trent is probably the most memorable. He plays the first black student at a Southern university (not the historical one, but a fictional composite). He was driven insane by the bigotry around him, and now he thinks he's a Grand Dragon of the KKK (and he thinks he invented it). The film does fall into that mental hospital movie of giving all the inmates wacky problems. I don't know of any earlier mental hospital movies offhand, so maybe this set that trend. In this film, it's not nearly as annoying as it is in movies like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which was, despite Shock Corridor, the parent of movies like Girl Interrupted and The Princess and the Warrior. 9/10.


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