Shockproof 

Directed by Douglas Sirk


The first of hopefully many revival runs programmed at Two Boots in response to a prompt from the online auteurist discussion group a_film_by, Shockproof is unsurprisingly an object lesson in the rewards and pitfalls of auteurist film readings. A 1949 programmer directed by a for-hire Douglas Sirk from a heavily re-written Samuel Fuller script, it’s a game of spot-the-thumbprint: how much of the story — starring Cornel Wilde as a parole officer obsessed with rehabilitating, and then in love with, ex-con Patricia Knight — reflects Fuller’s signature tabloid-font morality tales and midcult social science, and how much was dictated by convention? Do Sirk’s frame-within-the-frame compositions point towards the Baroque expressiveness of his emblematic later works? And why, despite the sublimated presence of two visionaries, does it most resembles Joseph H. Lewis’s The Big Combo — similarly starring Wilde as a straight-arrow lawman in an increasingly quixotic psychological rescue fantasy romance with a good-girl-gone-bad played his then-wife? Let’s suss this one out on the message boards, I suppose…

Opens January 24 at Two Boots

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