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Shock Corridor (Criteron Collection)


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Shock Corridor (Criteron Collection) + The Naked Kiss (The Criterion Collection) + Pickup on South Street (The Criterion Collection)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Breck, Constance Towers, Gene Evans, James Best, Hari Rhodes
  • Directors: Samuel Fuller
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: January 18, 2011
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0047P5FU4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,065 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • New video interview with star Constance Towers
  • Excerpts from The Typewriter, the Rifle and the Movie Camera-a 1996 documentary
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: Illustrations by cartoonist Daniel Clowes (Eightball, Ghost World)

  • Editorial Reviews

    In Shock Corridor, the great American writer-director-producer Samuel Fuller (The Naked Kiss, The Big Red One) 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 (The Naked Kiss) costars as Johnny’s coolheaded stripper girlfriend. With its startling commentary on race in sixties America and daring photography by Stanley Cortez (The Night of the Hunter), Shock Corridor is now recognized for its far-reaching influence.

    Customer Reviews

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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Miller VINE VOICE on January 20, 2011
    Verified Purchase
    I am familiar with who Samuel Fuller is but I'm not familiar with his films. This is only the second film I've seen by the man, having been intrigued by this film since hearing that it heavily influenced Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island. Now that Criterion has remastered and reissued the film, I felt it was time to give it a try. There doesn't seem to be a general consensus about this film; most people agree that it's good, but no one can decide if it's a campy B-movie, a socially conscious film noir, a hard-boiled pulp movie, or some combination of those. Watching Shock Corridor, a film that was released in 1963 I was struck by how ahead of its time it was.

    The film both begins and ends with the following quote:
    "Whom God wishes to destroy
    He first makes mad"
    -Euripides, 425 B.C.

    Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck) is a reporter for the Daily Globe who believes he can win the Pulitzer Prize by being committed to an insane asylum to solve a murder. His girlfriend Cathy (Constance Towers), a stripper, will pose as his sister and accuse him of "attempted incest." Cathy is opposed to the idea of having Johnny committed fearing the effects Johnny's stay will have on his psyche, but she's assured that everything will be fine. Johnny's act is convincing and he's committed to the asylum and housed in Ward B. The asylum is filled with some interesting patients (one male patient claims to be 5 months pregnant), not caricatures but not deeply rooted in reality either. Johnny finds a way of speaking with the patients that makes them return to sanity for a few moments, which is when Johnny can question them to get closer to the truth about the murder.
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    By David Baldwin on October 18, 2013
    Verified Purchase
    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 hospital to uncover a murder case. There were three witnesses to the murder and all have severely damaged psyches. A Southern farm boy (James Best) who under duress in Korea betrayed his country and now thinks he's a Confederate Army officer. A self loathing black man (Hari Rhodes) who was used as a guinea pig in integrating a Southern University and now thinks he's a Klansman. A formal nuclear physicist(Gene Evans) who worked on the Manhattan Project and now operates on a six year old level. They all have moments of clarity and it's up to the reporter to be there when they do to crack the case. The reporter is not without his own flaws. He has delusions of grandeur that his investigation will result in a Pulitzer Prize and he is also engaged in a relationship with a stripper (Constance Towers) that would hint at some form of sexual dysfunction. There's also a grossly obese character(Larry Tucker) who thinks he's Pagliacci who may be the sanest man in the room. Director Samuel Fuller abetted by cinematographer Stanley Cortez create a claustrophobic atmosphere that intensifies the drama that at times is unbearable. The film begins and ends with the quotation "Who God wants to punish he makes insane first". I'm still chewing on that one but it does offer food for thought. A note of trivia is that Tucker would later be a contributing writer for the Monkees TV series and collaborate with Paul Mazursky on the script for "Bob and Carol, Ted and Alice".
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    By mr. contrarian on September 13, 2012
    There are lots of tired 1950's devices to punch up the drama, including jarring distorted music (what a modern sound engineer would call "red lining.") However, there are a couple of very artistic scenes like the girlfriend's unusual dance and the famous "rain" scene. I'm afraid the workers and the inmates of the insane asylum seem stiff and boring now. This is that rare story that deserves a remake.
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    2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael B. Druxman on January 5, 2011
    In Samuel Fuller's SHOCK CORRIDOR, newspaper reporter Peter Breck, with the aid of his stripper girl friend (a miscast Constance Towers), fakes insanity in order to have himself committed to a state mental institution where he hopes to solve a the murder of a character (who we never meet) named "Sloane". Indeed, one of the screenplay's faults is that we never learn who Sloane was or why Breck, aside from coming up with a terrific story that might win him a Pulitzer Prize, has such a profound interest in him.

    Ultimately, Breck learns the identity of the killer, but his time among the "crazies" has taken its toll with his own sanity.

    The picture, quite shocking when it was first released in 1963, is slow going at first, and much of it is both over-written and, by today's standards, played over-the-top. Yet, the movie does have some powerful sequences and terrific performances delivered by Breck, Gene Evans, James Best and, in particular, Hari Rhodes, playing an African-American patient who believes that he is a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

    The Criterion release has received a new, restored high-definition digital transfer and is filled with exciting extras, including a one hour documentary about Fuller and 2007 on-camera interview with Ms. Towers.

    © Michael B. Druxman
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