Shockproof ★★½

Films I Watched On TV While I Was 'Working'

I knocked off a whole star for the ending to Shockproof, but it's so bloody awful that it really deserves to have them all taken away.

This is my first Douglas Sirk film and I've seen it suggested in a couple of places that this is very much a 'Sirk-esque ending'. If that's the case then me and him are not going to get on because there's no excuse for a single film in history to have an ending as terrible as this.

If it's one that's been bunged on the end by the studio looking for a happy ending to a film that patently shouldn't have one, then I'll forgive him and feel very sorry for him. Because it's a shocker. Aside from being completely and totally unbelievable on several fronts, it's such a sudden rush-job of a climax that I almost blinked and missed it. In fact, I wish I had blinked and missed it.

Aside from that, the rather dopily titled Shockproof is a solid and enjoyable crime melodrama which mostly works due to the duplicity of Patricia Knight. Knight's excellent and nuanced performance is what keeps this film going for its first two-thirds, mainly because I really didn't have any idea whether she was going to play Cornell Wilde for a sap, which I sort of wish she had done because he's a bit of feeble-minded git when it's all said and done.

Her smarts in outwitting him every step of the way really did set this film up for something interesting in its final third before it settled for a rather more dull 'couple on the run' idea that itself lost the film half a star - it's just a predictable and not especially believable route for this film to take. I just couldn't buy that Knight's character would opt for a life of scraping together an existence on the road, nor that Wilde would chuck away his career for such a life.

On his side of things it was perhaps slightly more believable because he seems to fall for her at first glance. But she never seemed into him enough to go for this. Even so, Sirk throws in a couple of memorable and outstanding moments - a splendid suicide that sees a bloke chuck himself several storeys to his doom into what looked like a fairly soft landing, actually. Not that I would try it, honest doctor. Plus the shooting of a major character just over halfway through looks as though it's going to be a great moment until it's ruined by the shitty ending.

Basically, turn it off with about 5 minutes left and act out a better ending yourself and Shockproof is really not bad.