Political Allegory (includes spoiler).
- Shock Corridor review by Steve
Political allegory from Sam Fuller is straight melodrama but typically original and incisive. Hot shot journalist Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck) goes in pursuit of the Pulitzer Prize by faking insanity, which will allow him access to a mental hospital and potentially discover who committed the murder of one of its patients.
Only once admitted, Johnny's real mental frailties start to betray him. The film adopts the notion that madness is a reasonable response to an abnormal circumstance. This is what has driven the three witnesses to the killing to their own sickness. And Johnny begins to conform to the insanity of his environment.
He uncovers the killer, but exposure to the hospital liberates his own schizophrenia. Fuller deploys the corridor where the residents congregate as a metaphor for America. He asserts that the country has become deranged by ignorance and prejudice and inevitably when people conform to its rules, they become irrational themselves.
Though boldly sensationalist, Shock Corridor is a clever and convincing film produced to good effect on a single studio interior. Its budget must have been minuscule, but typically Fuller gives it plenty of visual clout, particularly in the scene when we see the corridor awash in the torrential rain that terrorises Barrett when in his psychotic state.
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