Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Joseph Kramm's Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play The Shrike was brought to the screen by its original director/star, Jose Ferrer. Most of the film takes place in a state hospital, where theatrical director Jim Downs (Ferrer) is convalescing after a suicide attempt. Downs' wife Ann (June Allyson) visits every day, ostensibly to offer support and comfort to her husband. In truth, Ann is the "shrike" of the title, tearing into Downs and mercilessly berating him for his lack of success. To the rest of the world, however, Ann is a self-sacrificing saint, because that's the side of her personality that she prefers to display. Unless Jim can escape Ann's harangues, he will be driven completely over the edge. The script, by Ketty Frings, adds all sorts of motivations for Ann's abusive behavior, thereby softening the misogynism of the original play. June Allyson does as best as she can in a most atypical role, though one would liked to have seen the original "shrike", Judith Evelyn, whose talents were never sufficiently utilized by Hollywood.
insanity, marital-problems, husband, play [drama], play [recreation]