Shock (1946 film)

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Shock movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Alfred L. Werker
Produced by Aubrey Schenck
Screenplay by Eugene Ling
Martin Berkeley
Story by Albert DeMond
Starring Vincent Price
Lynn Bari
Music by David Buttolph
Cinematography Joseph MacDonald
Glen MacWilliams
Edited by Harmon Jones
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • January 10, 1946 (1946-01-10) (United States)
Running time
70 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $350,000[1]

Shock is a 1946 American film noir directed by Alfred L. Werker[2]


The film tells the story of a psychiatrist, Dr. Cross (Vincent Price), who 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. It also stars Lynn Bari as Dr. Cross's nurse/lover, Elaine Jordan.

As Stewart comes out of her shock, she recognizes Dr. Cross as the killer. He then takes her to his sanitarium and at Elaine's urging, gives Janet an overdose of insulin under the pretense of administering insulin shock therapy. He can't bring himself to murder her in cold blood, though, and asks Elaine to get the medicine to save her. Elaine refuses, they argue, and he strangles her. A colleague of Dr. Cross, Dr. Harvey, saves Janet's life and Dr. Cross is taken into custody by a lawyer from the District Attorney's office.



The film was originally to be directed by Henry Hathaway.[1]


Critical response[edit]

Above and beyond the typical characteristics of the horror film genre, reviewer Bosley Crowther of The New York Times took particular offense to the film's treatment of Price as a psychiatrist who attempts to do away with his patient, a woman who has lost her mind after witnessing the murder her own doctor had committed. Coming in the wake of World War II, in which so may people had suffered shock and could benefit from treatment of their anxieties, Crowther asked the "critical observer to protest in no uncertain tones" the movie's "social disservice" in its fostering "apprehension against the treatment of nervous disorders", deploring the lack of consideration for those in need of treatment evidenced by producer Aubrey Schenck and distributor Twentieth Century-Fox.[3]

Philip K. Scheuer of the Los Angeles Times took no such offense, calling the film a "nominal 'B' feature", which screenplay author "Eugene Ling and Director Alfred Werker have imbued... with a grade-A suspense".[4]

More recently, film critic Dennis Schwartz applauded the work of Vincent Price, writing, "As always, Vincent Price is suited to be a fine villain. It was made before Price reached stardom in horror films. This eerie tale has features of both the horror and noir genres, but with the strong characterization of the femme fatale nurse by Bari--I would count it in the film noir listings."[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Tom Weaver, It Came from Horrorwood: Interviews with Moviemakers in the SF and Horror Tradition McFarland, 2000 p 271
  2. ^ Shock at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  3. ^ Crowther, Bosley. "The Screen; Bad Medicine", The New York Times, March 9, 1946. Accessed July 2, 2009.
  4. ^ Scheuer, Philip K. "'Shock' Joins Procession of 'Psychos'", Los Angeles Times, March 7, 1946. Accessed July 2, 2009.
  5. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, January 13, 2005. Accessed: July 9, 2013.

External links[edit]