Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Shock Corridor

(1963) ****

"Whom God wishes to destroy he first makes mad." -- Euripides

Being a little over 70% through the month of October (yes, I really did just calculate that), I'm finding myself re-evaluating many of the ratings of the films I've seen in the last twenty-two days. Some films get deducted half a star because they don't hold up over time since the first viewing. Shock Corridor got bumped up half a star compared to the twenty-something other movies I've watched since.

Johnny is an investigative journalist working with psychiatrists to pull off as a convincing sociopath lusting after his sister, with the ulterior motive to crack a murder case even the police won't attempt to solve. Whose story does one trust when the only witnesses are clinically insane?

He gets admitted, with surprising and terrifying consequences. The Euripides quote opened this very thoughtful movie. Johnny's burlesque dancer girlfriend Cathy is talked in to pretending to be his sister and going along with the charade, much against her will, with the prospect of furthering Johnny's career as a journalist. I felt sorry for her because despite standing by her values and voicing some very logical concerns to people in places of authority and profound academic standing, they were tossed along the wayside and dismissed as being solely driven by emotion. Shock Corridor was an alarming reminder to how adaptable -- and vulnerable -- the mind can be.


JPX said...

I love this movie! They showed us this film in graduate school a few times. Nowadays hospitals try to get patients out as quickly as possible because there are not enough beds for all the people that need help. This is a good double feature with The Snake Pit, another film they showed us in graduate school. Nice review!

Octopunk said...


I saw this years ago at the Thalia theater in New York (which, if I'm right, is gone now and, if I'm right, is the theater in the lobby of which Woody Allen schools that guy on Marshall McCluhan in Annie Hall).

Anyway, the nymphos line cracked everyone up.

Catfreeek said...

I have not seen this but it sounds outstanding.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Great observations Crystal! This movie is great, but frustrating. It did linger with me for a while. I'll save my thoughts for my review. (I loved The Snake Pit too!)

Trevor said...

Over 70%?!?

Ever since they moved daylight savings to November, October is just too short.

AC said...

jpx, where was i when they showed horror films? or was it your masters program? i'm jealous!