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For Shockproof (mechanics), see Shock (mechanics).
Shockproof Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Douglas Sirk
Produced by
Screenplay by
Music by George Duning
Cinematography Charles Lawton, Jr.
Edited by Gene Havlick
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • January 25, 1949 (1949-01-25) (United States)
Running time
79 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Shockproof is a 1949 American film noir directed by Douglas Sirk, and starring Cornel Wilde and Patricia Knight.[1] Wilde and Knight were husband and wife during filming. They divorced in 1951.


Griff Marat (Cornel Wilde), is a parole officer who falls in love with a parolee, Jenny Marsh (Patricia Knight). Marsh had gone to prison in order to protect Harry Wesson (John Baragrey) a gambler with whom she was having an affair.

Warned to steer clear of Harry permanently, Jenny disobeys, still feeling loyal to him. A raid on Harry's bookie joint while Jenny is there costs her the job Griff has found for her. Out of concern for her welfare, Griff hires Jenny as a caretaker for his blind mother (Esther Minciotti).

Griff has political ambitions that Harry would like to ruin, so Harry encourages Jenny to accept Griff's romantic advances. They get married. But they couple flees to Mexico one night after Harry is found shot. Griff takes a job in an oil refinery, willing to do anything to keep Jenny from going back to jail. A photograph reveals their true identities, but upon their return, Harry swears that the shooting was an accident, clearing Jenny's name.



The director of Shockproof, Douglas Sirk, said he took the assignment because the film dealt with one of his favorite themes: the price of flouting taboos.[2]

In Samuel Fuller's original script, the film ended with a violent rebellion by Marat against the system that kept him and Marsh apart. The studio had National Velvet scriptwriter Helen Deutsch step in to pen a soft-suds rewrite.

A number of Fuller's screenplays, including The Naked Kiss, The Baron of Arizona, House of Bamboo, Forty Guns, The Big Red One and this film, featured a lead character called Griff.


A New York Times writer, Matt Zoller Seitz, discussed the significance of the film during a recent exhibition in New York: "But while Shockproof will inspire more groans than gasps, it's essential viewing for fans of Mr. Fuller and Mr. Sirk — and that's why the Two Boots Pioneer Theater and an online film discussion group teamed up to give this critically and financially unsuccessful movie its first New York run. The lurid setup and obsessive-loner-versus-the-system mechanics are pure Samuel Fuller. Mr. Sirk's personality is expressed in the film's affection for its screwed-up characters, in the poetic deployment of mirrors, windows and stairways, and in the low-angled wide shots of Griff's house, a space that seems both nurturing and oppressive."[3]


  1. ^ Shockproof at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Zoller Seitz, Matt. The New York Times, film review, "A Maleficent Obsession? Could Be More Than Heaven Allows", January 24, 2007. Accessed: July 12, 2013.

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