Sunday, March 06, 2011

Shock Corridor - Superbly Acted 1963 Drama

This classic black and white drama directed by Sam Fuller is still powerful and moving. Its productions like "Shock Corridor" that keep me reaching back to the silver screen era of my parents to quench my thirst for tasty movie watching.

Here's my review for this classic:


Black Man Convincingly Plays Role Of Racist Southerner

This review is from: Shock Corridor - Criterion Collection (DVD)

This movie just may be too "Shocking" for many viewers, even nearly fifty years after its release. Director Sam Fuller touches on many American taboos as usual, with the main theme being mental illness. When I saw Fuller's controversial movie "White Dog," its 1982 release of which was suppressed by paramount pictures, I knew him to be a man marching to the beat of his own drum.

In Shock Corridor, Fuller uses a sane journalist to expose the insane issues that haunt America's past, present and future. He accomplishes this by placing the undercover journalist inside a mental institution, faking insanity while trying to find a killer inside the place. While tactfully gathering evidence from mental patients about the killing, the journalist gets acquainted with the men and the societal issues that led to their being committed to the "hospital."

The humor in this movie is one that makes you laugh to keep from bursting out in tears. A forerunner to "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest." To see a Black man so damaged by society's racism that he insanely believes himself to be a southern White racist, is so sad and yet so convincing in the directorship of Sam Fuller. Watch this movie for that performance if for no other, simply because you'll never see it anywhere else. You'll learn how thin the thread of sanity is and how easily it can snap under pressure.

A great movie that will hopefully one day get its full share of masterpiece recognition.

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