movie reviews: Shock / Mirage

Hello, it’s been a while. I took a week from posting on here during the election and as I type nothing is settled. I ended up watching a lot of old movies in the last week as well, so I figured I should type a little about them. Here’s two movies about amnesia and psychosis.

SHOCK (1946)

Janet Stewart is a newlywed waiting for her husband to come back from the army. She rents a hotel room, stands out on the balcony, and hears arguing. She witnesses a murder across the way and goes into a catatonic state. Janet’s husband arrives and finds her in bed, completely unresponsive. He calls for help and the hotel calls for Dr. Cross, who lives nearby. Across the way.

What luck!

Janet comes out of her state and tries telling everyone that she saw Dr. Cross murder someone, and even though she’s specific everyone’s like “naaaah Dr. Cross says you’re upset over something and your very specific details of a murder across the street in his apartment. Be nice to him, he’s having a hard time because his wife mysteriously died this week. Take this to be knocked out further and his mistress nurse will look over you.”

This goes on for a while because Dr. Cross is a convincing guy and is able to keep people from believing Janet’s very descriptive “hallucinations” about a man she never met before she sees in front of her as having murdered someone the day before. Cross’ mistress is all in on murder, and these are very awful medical professionals. As everyone starts to get suspicious, the mistress decides to kill Janet, and Dr. Cross stops her by killing her. Janet is saved from a medical overdose and Dr. Cross gives himself up.

That’s pretty much it. The highlight & focus is Dr. Cross, who is played by Vincent Price, years before he was a horror icon. It’s more of a melodrama thriller, a doctor torn by his duty to care versus HE KILLED TWO WOMEN, with Janet’s husband becoming more suspicious. It’s kinda fun to watch the husband politely show his own suspicions as Cross keeps feeding everyone bs. It’s only 70 minutes and it’s 70 minutes of a debonair Vincent Price torn by guilt and love until we know him as a sinister voice who has planned out all kinds of horrors for everyone else on screen.

MIRAGE (1965)

Gregory Peck realizes he can’t remember anything about himself for the last two years, while he is trying to report a crime that happened to him during the first reel of the film. He had earlier been caught in an elevator in a skyscraper when the power went out, and walked down the stairs with a young lady who claims to remember him from somewhere else. On the street is a scene of an accidental death – someone in the same building had fallen to his death. When Peck gets home, he’s accosted by a goon who tells him to pack his bags for an overseas trip. Everyone references The Major.

Peck shoos away the goon. He manages to get a session with a psychiatrist, who flips out at Peck, claiming that Peck can’t have amnesia, it’s not a real thing, at least not for two years. Peck hires a private eye, Walter Matthau, who is the comic relief in this movie. Matthau walks him through some of the places Peck has been in the last day, and things have been altered since he had last been there. One place has an armed goon, who shoots at them, and Peck knocks him out.

Peck has some odd flashbacks until he comes to the realization he knows the man who fell out the window and The Major – Peck is a scientist who has figured out a way to remove radiation from fallout, which The Major is after for evil military purposes. This has cold war fear all over it. The goons who chase Peck are silly until one kills the other just to get a clear shot at Peck. There’s a lot of interesting shots, starting with watching the skyscraper go dark at the beginning, and the various brief flashbacks Peck has as he tries to remember everything. Not sure where you can see it online, but it’s a neat albeit sometimes slow moving thriller.

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