"Harsh, grotesque, and violent – and, incidentally, brilliant in a very original way." – Dave Kehr, The Chicago Reader, on SHOCK CORRIDOR
Journalist Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck) gets himself committed to a mental institution to catch a killer — and hopefully win a Pulitzer Prize. In director (and former newspaperman) Samuel Fuller's hands, a pulpy exploitation picture becomes a bare-knuckled allegory of American madness — racism, bigotry and atomic warfare. Barrett's mental health is steadily chipped away by his obsessive pursuit of the truth and countless traumas while "on the inside," from an attack by nymphomaniacs to exposure to electroshock therapy. The film's low-to-no budget doesn't stop Stanley Cortez (THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER) from lensing a world of raw, expressionistic terror using exaggerated perspective in sets designed by French art director Eugène Lourié (GRAND ILLUSION, THE RULES OF THE GAME) in what Bosley Crowther deemed a "movie descent into madness." DIR/SCR/PROD Samuel Fuller. U.S., 1963, b&w/color, 101 min. NOT RATED
AFI Member passes accepted.
"Architecture of an Asylum"
Co-presented with the National Building Museum
Inspired by the National Building Museum's exhibition "Architecture of an Asylum: St. Elizabeths 1852–2017," AFI Silver presents two landmark films that depict mental health hospitals not as therapeutic sites designed to heal, but as bleak traps meant to symbolize American society at large. Each film is a masterwork of visual and narrative style, but both deploy similar stereotypes about psychiatric hospitals and the mentally ill — institutions are forbidding and cold, patients are violent, pathetic or funny, and staff is either abusive or indifferent. Produced during a period of widespread hospital shutdowns and reorganization, the films' simplistic characterizations did little to confront the stigma of mental health treatment, despite otherwise succeeding as fierce indictments of social control and dysfunction. "Architecture of an Asylum" is on view at the National Building Museum through January 15, 2018. More information at nbm.org.
SHOCK CORRIDOR Showtimes
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