Shockproof

Shockproof ★★★

A seemingly irreproachable parole officer and a newly released female ex-convict fall in love. It turns out she went to prison to protect the vainglorious gambler (a scene-stealing John Baragrey) she was involved with prior to her arrest. Following a series of questionable decisions and double crosses, the enraptured pair take it on the lam...jeopardizing his career and possibly their potential happiness together.

Man, does Patricia Knight have that femme fatale vibe down pat. Granted, her character's turn in this movie tries to stay on a moral and law abiding path, but she storms into this picture's early scenes with a command that warrants attention. Along with some of the dialogue, she's the best thing about this film for me. Which is saying something, considering the pedigree on display here. Knight's scenes with lead (and then husband) Cornel Wilde are tense and well played, but it was hard for me to outright root for Wilde's character, who comes off in a few scenes as something of a creep. I kind of found myself cheering for Baragrey's character (though that probably says something more about my own moral center). The beautiful location used for Wilde's home is a big plus, while the moments of visible boom mic shadows in other scenes are a clear minus. While I think Fuller and Sirk fans will find plenty to admire, this is hardly the best from either.

Highly melodramatic and yet somehow lightweight at the same time, the film is very watchable...but seems lesser than the other movies it makes me think of. (The home stretch reminds me of elements from the previous year's "They Live By Night", and would be echoed somewhat again a few years later in the underrated "Tomorrow Is Another Day".)

Studio interference and hobbled ending aside, it's a good film...and definitely a true curio for fans of Sirk and/or Fuller. Recommended.

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