Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: Shock Corridor (1963)

Samuel Fuller's Shock Corridor must've been quite a shock for the audience of its day: the in-your-face attitude of this hardboiled anti-thriller is baffling even to viewers of 2013. I just saw this recently for the second time (both times on big screen) and was again mesmerized, even more this time than the previous.

Shock Corridor is a sordid tale of a newspaperman who wants to get Pulitzer and thinks about doing it by being planted into a loony bin. He talks his girlfriend and his editor-in-chief into the plot and rehearses going crazy with a shrink, but the second he's in he notices he might be going insane himself. Or wait, he doesn't notice it, his girlfriend does, but can't do nothing about it.

The film is somewhere between downright trashy sleaze and avantgarde (as, as it feels sometimes, only the best art is) as Fuller doesn't shy away from using the most ridiculous stuff of the day's pulpy fiction, like the nympho patients of the female ward and the zombie-like lunatics manning the corridors of the asylum. The zany acting (especially of Peter Breck in the lead), the fierce rhythm of the editing, the harsh photography of Stanley Cortez and the dream sequences in colour, leftovers from Fuller's unfinished documentary projects all make this into a dynamite of a film. Here's Jonathan Rosenbaum on the subject.

I'm not sure whether there will be a compilation post of Overlooked Films. Could it be somewhere else than Todd Mason's blog?

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