The Shrike (film)

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The Shrike
The Shrike (film poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by José Ferrer
Produced by Aaron Rosenberg
Written by Ketti Frings
Based on The Shrike
by Joseph Kramm
Starring José Ferrer
June Allyson
Joy Page
Music by Frank Skinner
Cinematography William H. Daniels
Edited by Frank Gross
Universal Pictures
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • June 16, 1955 (1955-06-16) (United States)
  • July 7, 1955 (1955-07-07) (New York City)
Running time
88 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Shrike is a 1955 American drama film based on Joseph Kramm's play of the same name.[1] José Ferrer directed and starred in Ketti Frings' screenplay adaptation.[2]


Successful stage director Jim Downs (Ferrer) is driven to a mental breakdown by his domineering wife Ann (June Allyson). Institutionalized, he confides in Dr. Bellman (Kendall Clark) and Dr. Barrow (Isabel Bonner), and he finds a kindred spirit in Charlotte Moore (Joy Page).



Reviewing for The New York Times, A.H. Weiler wrote:

José Ferrer, the director and star of the play, again is portraying the Broadway director who struggles to be released from the confines of the psychiatric ward even though it means a return to a hateful marriage. And, in making his debut as a film director, Mr. Ferrer proves that he is as expert behind the camera as he is across the footlights. Since he obviously is no stranger to his source material, his performance is at once polished, powerful and moving. And many of his principals, who are re-enacting the roles they created on stage, forcefully enhance the stark vista of life in a mental ward... As our sorely beset hero relates in flashback to probing psychiatrists, it was a happy union at first, full of love and companionship. It deteriorated slowly but inexorably, as did his career, when her insatiable yearning for the life of an actress and her meddling in his affairs reached a point of no return... Backstage and hospital sequences have a documentary authenticity heightened in effect by Mr. Ferrer's portrayal. His scenes in the nightmarish world of the mental ward and his climactic session with the psychiatrists as he tearfully and desperately agrees to return to his wife, is acting of a rare order... Although The Shrike has changed its tune it still is an unusual and immensely interesting film drama.[3]


Much of the film was shot on location at Bellevue Hospital and around Times Square in New York City.

The music score was by Frank Skinner. Ferrer composed "Conversation (The Shrike)", recorded by Pete Rugolo on his 1955 album New Sounds (Harmony HL7003).[4] The opening title sequence was created by Saul Bass.

See also[edit]



External links[edit]