In Shock Corridor, the great American writer-director-producer Samuel Fuller masterfully charts the uneasy terrain between sanity and dementia. Seeking a Pulitzer Prize, reporter Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck) has himself committed to a mental hospital to investigate a murder. As he closes in on the killer, madness closes in on him. Constance Towers costars as Johnny’s coolheaded stripper girlfriend. With its startling commentary on race in sixties America and daring photography by Stanley Cortez, Shock Corridor is now recognized for its far-reaching influence. —The Criterion Collection
Noted for his tabloid-influenced storytelling style, breathless camera work, and extreme close-ups, Fuller was a pugnacious, tough-as-nails man whose movies reflect a uniquely personal vision; obsessed with themes of falsehood and deception, his films illuminated the cultural divisions at the heart of American society, depicting a grim, immoral world far removed from the placid surface typically on display in more mainstream fare. Celebrated as a genius by his fans, and denounced as a sensationalist by his detractors, Fuller was a deeply patriotic man quick to criticize his country’s flaws, as well as a raw, anarchic filmmaker capable of moments of inexpressible beauty; such contradictions fueled and ultimately defined both him and his body of work, which continues to exert tremendous influence over such prominent filmmakers as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and Jim Jarmusch. Samuel Michael Fuller was born August 12, 1912, in Worcester, MA, and raised in New York City; at the age… read more
High-class hokum, a whodunnit thriller with rather half-baked messages. It is most interesting when dealing with the odd relationship between Johnny and Kathy; the hallucinogenic sequence of her dancing near the start of the film seems to presage David Lynch. The real star of the show is Stanley Cortez's fantastic, trademark hard-edged cinematography.
Big Fuller fan, but this is one of those dreadful message movies with good intentions. Stanley Cortez is tops, but it seems to me that Fuller sat down with a list of American illnesses while penning the script. It never really stands on its own - something which most other Fuller films do effortlessly.
Also: Hoberman on It’s Halftime in America and the prospects for “an Obama-inflected Hollywood cinema.”
I had a rather unusual epiphany the other day. I was humming the theme to “Pinky and the Brain” when I got to the part explaining how" one is a genius, the other insane." I realized just then that… read review
Shock Corridor de Samuel Fuller est une énorme déception à mes yeux. Alors que je m’attendais à un grand film psychologique et une belle critique acerbe des USA, le cinéaste nous offre une oeuvre très… read review
“Whom God wishes to destroy he first makes mad.” -Euripides, 425 B.C.; quotes Sam Fuller in his opening and closing of Shock Corridor; a sentiment that surely could have been the mantra of Fuller’s… read review