Wednesday, January 24, 2007



Don’t get lost in the gimmickry of Shockproof. The 1949 noir is a cinematic ventriloquist act. Although directed by Douglas Sirk—still a few years away from crafting his trademark Technicolor melodramas—the conflict bears a crunchier bite than the suburban dissatisfaction later found in Imitation of Life and other Sirk classics—due to Samuel Fuller’s solo credit on the screenplay. Fuller penned a tragedy tracking ill-fated love between a parole officer and his client, the sort of hardboiled formula that the filmmaker would eventually perfect. He sold the script to a producer and the project landed in Sirk’s lap. The two men didn’t meet, and it seems that Fuller never even caught the final product (“I didn’t see Doug Sirk’s film—is he a good director?” Fuller asked an interviewer in 1967). The finished work contains recognizable flourishes from both contributors, but it turns to a sloppy blend.


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