Directed by Alfred L. Werker
USA 1946

Many will not succumb to the incredulous plot twists and matter-of-fact dramaturgy that Alfred L. Werker's 1946 Shock exports. On the good side it gives us the essence of Film Noir - generally normal people doing horrible things to get what they want - for the love of money or a woman. The plot is promising - Dr. Cross (Vincent Price), a psychiatrist, is treating a young woman, Janet Stewart (Anabel Shaw), who is in a coma-state, brought on when she heard loud arguing, went to her window and saw a man strike his wife with a candlestick and kill her. This becomes star-crossed with the momentary reunion of her husband - a 2-year prisoner of war. As she comes out of her shock, she recognizes that Dr. Cross is the killer. At his sanitarium and urged by his nurse/lover, and predator femme fatale, Elaine Jordan (Lynn Bari), contemplates the moral consequences of giving Janet and overdose of insulin - removing her as witness to his wife's murder.


The unfortunate part of the film is that it really doesn't work well - its greatest attribute are the noir atmosphere and plot base. I enjoyed it, as I often do with weak, but interesting, cinema, but don't expect the great writing and momentum-building pace of many of the 'dark cinema' of this era.

Gary W. Tooze

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Theatrical Release: January 10th, 1946

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DVD Review: 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Noir Spine # 20 - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:10:06 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.90 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by John Stanley

DVD Release Date: August 29th, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 16

 

Comments:

The image is of usual Fox standard for their Noir series. Acceptable sharpness, progressively transferred and strong contrast levels. Audio choices of original mono or 2.0 channel stereo and optional yellow subtitles in English or Spanish. 

John Stanley's commentary is quite humorous - his knowledge of minor stars of the film - their discovery, casting, careers and post careers is quite remarkable. He rarely discusses 'Shock' but he is informative, smooth and prone to excitement in his voice. Really this was refreshing - he appears to be a horror film buff (amongst other attributes) and hence focuses on Vincent Price. As the film is not really worthy of a lengthy discussion his divergent commentary is fast paced and honest. I enjoyed it.

Again, Fox has chosen second-tier noir but they present an incredibly reasonable package - one that fans will have trouble rejecting. If you aren't expecting much - the film may appeal to you as it did me.

Gary W. Tooze

 





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Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Noir Spine # 20 - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

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