Shock Treatment (1964)

94 mins | Mystery | 19 February 1964

Director:

Denis Sanders

Writer:

Sydney Boehm

Producer:

Aaron Rosenberg

Cinematographer:

Sam Leavitt

Editor:

Louis Loeffler

Production Designers:

Jack Martin Smith, Hilyard Brown

Production Company:

Arcola Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The 5 Jun 1961 DV announced Darryl F. Zanuck Productions’ purchase of motion picture rights for the 1961 novel by Winfred Van Atta. Zanuck’s son, Richard, was to produce. According to the 10 Aug 1961 DV, director Alfred Hitchcock was reportedly interested in collaborating on the project with the elder Zanuck. A news item in the 30 Jun 1961 DV stated that writer Wyatt Cooper was adapting the novel. Nearly a year later, the assignment went to Bernard Wolfe, as reported in the 19 Jun 1962 issue, and finally to screenwriter Sydney Boehm. Aaron Rosenberg had since taken over as producer. Boehm told the 8 Sep 1963 NYT that his screenplay was a “considerable rewrite” of the source novel, which he described as “unbelievable.” While Boehm admitted that his version also lacked credibility, he claimed it had better commercial prospects. The writer made several visits to mental hospitals, including two overnight stays in patient wards, as part of his research.
       A news brief in the 1 Mar 1963 DV stated that Anthony Perkins was a candidate for a lead role, as were Bette Davis and Susan Hayward, according to the 3 Jun 1963 and 27 Jun 1963 issues of DV, respectively. Meanwhile, the 26 Jun 1963 LAT indicated that Rosenberg was considering a wide array of major actresses, including Barbara Stanwyck and Katharine Hepburn. The role eventually went to Lauren Bacall.
       The 21 Jul 1963 NYT noted similarities in plot and title between Van Atta’s novel and the upcoming release, Shock ... More Less

The 5 Jun 1961 DV announced Darryl F. Zanuck Productions’ purchase of motion picture rights for the 1961 novel by Winfred Van Atta. Zanuck’s son, Richard, was to produce. According to the 10 Aug 1961 DV, director Alfred Hitchcock was reportedly interested in collaborating on the project with the elder Zanuck. A news item in the 30 Jun 1961 DV stated that writer Wyatt Cooper was adapting the novel. Nearly a year later, the assignment went to Bernard Wolfe, as reported in the 19 Jun 1962 issue, and finally to screenwriter Sydney Boehm. Aaron Rosenberg had since taken over as producer. Boehm told the 8 Sep 1963 NYT that his screenplay was a “considerable rewrite” of the source novel, which he described as “unbelievable.” While Boehm admitted that his version also lacked credibility, he claimed it had better commercial prospects. The writer made several visits to mental hospitals, including two overnight stays in patient wards, as part of his research.
       A news brief in the 1 Mar 1963 DV stated that Anthony Perkins was a candidate for a lead role, as were Bette Davis and Susan Hayward, according to the 3 Jun 1963 and 27 Jun 1963 issues of DV, respectively. Meanwhile, the 26 Jun 1963 LAT indicated that Rosenberg was considering a wide array of major actresses, including Barbara Stanwyck and Katharine Hepburn. The role eventually went to Lauren Bacall.
       The 21 Jul 1963 NYT noted similarities in plot and title between Van Atta’s novel and the upcoming release, Shock Corridor (1963, see entry), hinting that the author might have been plagiarized. Five weeks later, the 28 Aug 1963 DV reported that the advertising campaign for another new release, The Caretakers (1963, see entry), which featured the slogan, “The screen takes a shock treatment,” prompted Rosenberg to briefly contemplate a new title for his production.
       Principal photography began 22 Aug 1963, according to that day’s DV. Prior to filming, the 21 Aug 1963 DV stated that cast members Carol Lynley and Roddy McDowall had presented director Denis Sanders with a strait jacket. The 6 Sep 1963 edition noted that Sanders hired 110 background actors for that day’s filming. Other castings included Edric Connor (26 Jul 1963 DV) ; restaurateur Mike Romanoff (29 Aug 1963 LAT) ; veteran actor Stuart Holmes, after whom star Stuart Whitman was reportedly named (29 Sep 1963 LAT) ; Paul Langton and John Dennis (23 Aug 1963 DV) ; Maureen Jantzen, Arnold Lupin, Art Salter, George Allen, Jayni Mann, Eunice Pollis, Ric Tobin, and Rusty Burrell (26 Aug 1963 DV) ; Hugh Lawrence, Barton Heyman, Paul Lukather, Ed Deemer, and Geraldine Wall (9 Sep 1963 DV) ; Sheila Rogers (12 Sep 1963 DV) ; Simon Scott (17 Sep 1963 DV) ; William Douglas, son of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas (19 Sep 1963 DV) ; Red West (20 Sep 1963 DV) ; John Gilmore (24 Sep 1963 DV) ; Olan Soule (26 Sep 1963 DV) ; and Jay Jostyn (7 Oct 1963 DV). The 22 Jul 1963 DV listed Hal Herman as second assistant director. A news item in the 24 Sep 1963 issue stated that the executive corridor of Twentieth Century-Fox Studios in Los Angeles, CA, was used as the “insane asylum” hallway in the picture. An item in the 3 Oct 1963 DV noted that actor Ossie Davis had recently completed his role. Months later, the 19 Feb 1964 issue announced a “15-point shock exploitation and merchandising campaign” to promote the film.
       Shock Treatment opened 19 Feb 1964 in Los Angeles, and 22 Jul 1964 in New York City to negative reviews, with the 23 Jul 1964 NYT criticizing “the general tone of bland sensationalism.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
5 Jun 1961
p. 1.
Daily Variety
30 Jun 1961
p. 4.
Daily Variety
10 Aug 1961
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Jun 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
15 Jan 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
1 Mar 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
3 Jun 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
27 Jun 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
23 Jul 1963
p. 10.
Daily Variety
26 Jul 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
21 Aug 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
22 Aug 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
23 Aug 1963
p. 11.
Daily Variety
26 Aug 1963
p. 7.
Daily Variety
28 Aug 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
6 Sep 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
9 Sep 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
12 Sep 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
17 Sep 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
19 Sep 1963
p. 8.
Daily Variety
20 Sep 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
24 Sep 1963
p. 2, 12.
Daily Variety
26 Sep 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
2 Oct 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
3 Oct 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Feb 1964
p. 3.
Daily Variety
20 Feb 1964
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
26 Jun 1963
Section D, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
29 Aug 1963
Section C, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
29 Sep 1963
Section D, p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
15 Dec 1963
Section B, p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
4 Feb 1964
Section C, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
21 Feb 1964
Section C, p. 16.
New York Times
21 Jul 1963
p. 73
New York Times
8 Sep 1963.
---
New York Times
23 Jul 1964
p. 19.
Variety
28 Oct 1964
p. 11.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
Hairstyles
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Dial coach
Key grip
Gaffer
Stills
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Shock Treatment by Winfred Van Atta (New York, 1961).
DETAILS
Release Date:
19 February 1964
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 19 February 1964
New York opening: 22 July 1964
Production Date:
22 August--late September 1963
Copyright Claimant:
Arcola Pictures
Copyright Date:
19 February 1964
Copyright Number:
LP27600
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
94
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
20608
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Gardener Martin Ashley kills his wealthy employer and surrenders to police. Psychiatrist Edwina Beighley testifies at his trial and through her testimony Ashley is committed to a mental hospital for observation. The estate's executor, Manning, believes that Ashley is faking insanity and that he had hidden the million dollars the dead woman kept at the mansion. Manning hires actor Dale Nelson to get himself committed and find out from Ashley the location of the money. Nelson obtains admission to the hospital, eventually making friends with Ashley and falling in love with Cynthia, a young manic-depressive. Dr. Beighley, however, is suspicious of Nelson, and she orders an investigation of his background. Under hypnosis Ashley has told Dr. Beighley that he has a great deal of money. The doctor, desperate for research funds, tries to extract from him information as to the money's whereabouts, but she is unsuccessful. As Nelson's true purpose becomes known, Dr. Beighley subjects him to experimental injections which delay his impending discharge by putting him in catatonic states. He finally escapes, however, and, after finding that Manning has died, rushes to the burned mansion where he comes across Ashley and Dr. Beighley digging up the money. The discovery that the cache contains the ashes of burned currency unhinges the doctor's mind and provokes Ashley into an attempt on her life. In the ensuing fight Ashley is killed. The doctor is then committed to her own institution as Cynthia is ... +


Gardener Martin Ashley kills his wealthy employer and surrenders to police. Psychiatrist Edwina Beighley testifies at his trial and through her testimony Ashley is committed to a mental hospital for observation. The estate's executor, Manning, believes that Ashley is faking insanity and that he had hidden the million dollars the dead woman kept at the mansion. Manning hires actor Dale Nelson to get himself committed and find out from Ashley the location of the money. Nelson obtains admission to the hospital, eventually making friends with Ashley and falling in love with Cynthia, a young manic-depressive. Dr. Beighley, however, is suspicious of Nelson, and she orders an investigation of his background. Under hypnosis Ashley has told Dr. Beighley that he has a great deal of money. The doctor, desperate for research funds, tries to extract from him information as to the money's whereabouts, but she is unsuccessful. As Nelson's true purpose becomes known, Dr. Beighley subjects him to experimental injections which delay his impending discharge by putting him in catatonic states. He finally escapes, however, and, after finding that Manning has died, rushes to the burned mansion where he comes across Ashley and Dr. Beighley digging up the money. The discovery that the cache contains the ashes of burned currency unhinges the doctor's mind and provokes Ashley into an attempt on her life. In the ensuing fight Ashley is killed. The doctor is then committed to her own institution as Cynthia is discharged. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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