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Shock Corridor (1963)

Not Rated | | Drama, Mystery | 11 September 1963 (USA)
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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
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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Medical Jungle Doctors Don't Talk About!

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

11 September 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Straightjacket  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Ryder Sound Services)

Color:

| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

In a shot change during the fight scene in the kitchen, a bent table leg is abruptly straight, the pots and pans on the stove in the background and the position of the unconscious orderly change as Johnny pulls Wilkes across the prep counter. See more »

Quotes

Johnny Barrett: Nymphos!
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Connections

Featured in The Men Who Made the Movies: Samuel Fuller (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bigotry for breakfast, ignorance for dinner
2 May 2005 | by (Copenhagen, Denmark) – See all my reviews

This is one experience I'm not likely ever to forget, it is truly unsettling. One of the most ferocious, savage and disturbing films I have ever seen, and brilliant cinematic art on top of it.

Ambitious reporter has himself admitted to a mental hospital in order to solve a murder there. He poses as an incestuous brother to his 'sister' and real-life stripper girlfriend, and once inside gets to talk to all three witnesses to the murder. Gradually, though, his own mind starts to disintegrate ...

Was there ever an asylum like Samuel Fuller's? Hope not. One of the inmates is singing the Factotum Aria from 'Barber of Seville' around the clock, another savours the words "I am impotent and I like it", but they are the sanest ones. Of the three witnesses one imagines himself to be a general at Gettysburg but suddenly shifts and claims to be a Communist in reaction to "my folks (that) fed my bigotry for breakfast and ignorance for dinner" in a long pathetic virtuoso solo by actor James Best. One, a young black man, dresses as a Ku Klux Klan member, advocating white supremacy, expressing his loathing for blacks ("Oh, they're alright as entertainers, but ..."), and the third, a Nobel prize winner, has retreated into infantilism.

'Shock Corridor', which obviously turned out to be a cult favourite, directed by maverick independent filmmaker and former journalist Samuel Fuller, makes no excuses for itself, and its style is swaggeringly confident, blending pulp and downright tawdriness with high melodrama and noir, in unforgettable, dramatically lit images. Sometimes it's plain silly in its excessive irony, at other times searing in its empathy, and probably the most funny moments are those when the reporter (a wonderful Peter Breck) once more asks his increasingly absurd and irrelevant question, "Who killed Sloane in the kitchen?", and when he finally learns who, he forgets about it immediately! I cannot recommend this film enough, it is one of the great works of art of American cinema. No less.


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