Starring a young Vincent Price before he became a horror icon, Shock from 1946 is a fine little noir picture that finds our man as a doctor who has just murdered his wife. Unknown to him is that the entire thing was witnessed by a woman across the way, who is now in shock over the incident. Luckily for him and unluckily for her, he is called in for a consultation and immediately commits her to his care in the sanitarium. Drama takes place between Dr. Cross and his lover who conspired in the murder, with Janet’s life on the line and in the end; everyone gets what is rightfully coming to them.
Shock might not be the most engaging noir picture ever made, but it is a good one and it gives Price that little exposure needed to keep him in the public eye. Aside from the good performances from the cast and a decent script, there is little to really recommend this picture other than the fact that Price is in it. There is no mystery to solve as we already know what happened and it sucks a little bit of the suspense out of the film, but there is some tension present as you never know just what is going to happen to poor Janet as played by Anabel Shaw. Will Dr. Cross kill her with an insulin overdose, will he spare her? Letting her live sends him to jail and that is the thing he wants least in his life at the moment. The best thing that this movie does is give Price’s character a conscious which he wrestles with throughout the movie. Even though he does murder his wife, he feels bad about it and cannot bring himself to kill the poor woman who saw it all from the comfort of her living room. The standout performer in the film is Lynn Bari who is the woman behind the man, the woman that Dr. Cross has an affair with and who wants Janet removed from the picture. She is a scheming devil and perhaps the real villain of the entire picture, Cross aside that is.
For a truly excellent piece of noir, Laura from 1944 which also stars Vincent Price is a much better film, but Shock, at the very least, is not a waste of time. It may not be as rewarding as some other films, but there is still entertainment to be found within and it provides a look at an actor in a time before he would hit his stride.
3 out of 5