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Shock Corridor (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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The bizarre juxtaposition of intensity and immaturity, anger and pulp, outrageousness and illogic tells you that this is the work of a film maker who's not afraid to take chances. Fuller seems to be deliberately trying to rattle or irritate the viewer: a stripper sings a slow torch song and only partially disrobes, a nuclear physicist prattles like a six year old, a 300 pound man sings the same opera aria repeatedly to awaken another man. It's not hard to tell that the dialogue is defiantly pulpy, with emphasis on "defiant". Fuller was obviously enraged with the more destructive qualities of American culture and let his audience know it in no uncertain terms.
But with the pulp--and how much more pulpy can you get than the reporter's girlfriend being a stripper?--there's also startling power. A war veteran relates his dreams of living with South American primitives, brought shockingly to life with a rare color sequence. A black man spouts virulent anti-black racial epithets and dons a makeshift KKK hood, chasing another black man down a hallway. The reporter himself wonders why, at crucial moments, he's unable to speak.
A scathing attack on the relentless American drive for success, power, and acceptance, this movie, for all its frequently dated, semi-trashy dialogue, ranks as one of the best films of its time or any period in American history. The ruthless, downbeat ending--the murderer is discovered, but at a terrible price--is a fitting, bitter conclusion.
The fun really kicks into high gear when writer/director Samuel Fuller locks Breck inside what has to be the Movies' All-time Greatest Ward of Bad B-Actors. You'll drop your jaw when Larry Tucker, as a 300-lb. wife-killer, bellows operatic arias in our hero's face while the poor guy's trapped in bed; later, Tucker tops this bit with a scene where he actually force-feeds Breck chewing gum. You'll shake your head in disbelief, too, when shell-shocked James Best sets an early standard for Jack Nicholson-style over-the-top theatrics by Method-acting himself into delirium while reliving Civil War battles. And you'll cheer when the ward's bird-like schizo stares into the camera and socks over this immortal line: "I am impotent and I like it!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sam Fuller can do no wrong. A true American primitive filmmaker. Just wish I could afford HOUSE OF BAMBOO.Published 2 months ago by ohmemercylard
The film comes to life on Blu-ray. The doco about Samuel Fuller by Tarantino and Co. is a real treat, it's a shame it's only presented in SD.Published 13 months ago by T. Smith
Far too many of my movie mistakes have found homes on the shelves of public libraries. Fortunately for me, this process was reversed with Shock Corridor. Read morePublished 18 months ago by D. Hughes
This is a really dark movie to watch, it holds your interest from start to finish. James Best stole the show, he was scary good.Published 21 months ago by Mikaylalily
I liked the cool artwork on the box and in the leaflet, but the movie itself was quite boring and super predictable to me from the very beginning.Published on December 17, 2013 by Monica Penshorn
The setting for "Shock Corridor" serves as a metaphor for American society as a whole circa 1963. The film concerns a reporter(Peter Breck) who goes undercover in a mental... Read morePublished on October 18, 2013 by David E.Baldwin
Great film and an excellent transfer. This was my first Fuller film and I was very pleased with the outcome. If you like Fritz Lang's pre WWII stuff, you'll enjoy this movie. Read morePublished on June 11, 2013 by B. Kelley
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