Shockproof

Shockproof ★★★★

(Fairly vague spoilers ahead!)

Another great entry into the woman's picture/noir sub-genre!

The major theme here is corruption. Not corruption in a business, like how some noirs choose to display the seediness of the genre, but instead corruption of the human spirit, and corruption of morals. Gangster moll Jenny goes to prison for killing a man in an act that saved her boyfriend's life. Only issue is, her boyfriend's a no good two bit guy. There we see the first element of corruption in the story, a gangster corrupting a woman, buying her love and loyalty with gifts, and allowing her to go to jail for something she did for him. On parole, she finds herself falling for her parole officer Griff, and after another desperate crime is committed, Griff and Jenny go on the run, with him abandoning his morals as a man of the law. This is where we see the chain of corruption expand, swallowing Griff just like it swallowed Jenny. The film gets a bit wobbly and unsteady during their fugitive run, but the unexpected ending was one filled with a surprising optimism for a noir, and I kinda loved it. Corruption may ensnare many a good person, but there are ways out of it for everyone.

Cornel Wilde and Patricia Knight make a lovely on screen couple (they were married during the filming!) and Douglas Sirk and Samuel Fuller make a lovely behind the scenes duo. Fuller brings the pulp, and Sirk brings the melodrama and gorgeous set design, and their styles mesh seamlessly. Melodrama and noir often mix well, especially for me, and Shockproof was no exception!

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