Samuel Fuller, 1963, 101 min., NOT RATED
Introduction by assistant curator Deborah Sorensen.
Inspired by the exhibition Architecture of an Asylum: St. Elizabeths 1852-2017, the Museum is partnering with the American Film Institute (AFI) Silver Theatre and Cultural Center to present Shock Corridor. In the film, the psychiatric hospital setting is not a therapeutic site designed for healing but a bleak trap, symbolic of American society at large.
Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck) has himself committed to catch a killer—and hopefully win the Pulitzer Prize. In the hands of director, and former newspaperman, Sam Fuller, this low-budget exploitation picture is transformed into a bare-knuckled allegory of American madness—in the form of racism, bigotry, and atomic warfare. As Barrett obsessively pursues the truth, his mental health is steadily chipped away by countless traumas while “on the inside,” from an attack by nymphomaniacs to exposure to electroshock therapy.
Cinematographer Stanley Cortez (The Night of the Hunter, The Magnificent Ambersons) crafts 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), making what Bosley Crowther deemed a “movie descent into madness.”
Tickets may be purchased at the AFI box office or online.
Location: AFI Silver Theatre
8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Maryland. Metro: Red Line to Silver Spring
$9.50 AFI members (2 star level & up) and National Building Museum members (must present membership card at Box Office)
$13.00 General Admission$10 Seniors (65+), Students (with valid ID), and Military
$8 Children (12 and under)
Special thanks to the AFI Silver for its collaboration, including Director of Programming Todd Hitchcock.