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Behind Locked Doors (1948)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 411 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 14 critic

A well-known judge has become a fugitive from the police, with a large reward on his head. A reporter believes that the judge is hiding in a private sanitarium, so she seeks out a private ... See full summary »

Director:

(as Oscar Boetticher)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lucille Bremer ...
Kathy Lawrence
...
Ross Stewart
...
Larson
Ralf Harolde ...
Fred Hopps
Thomas Browne Henry ...
Dr. Clifford Porter (as Tom Brown Henry)
Herbert Heyes ...
Judge Finlay Drake
Gwen Donovan ...
Madge Bennett
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Storyline

A well-known judge has become a fugitive from the police, with a large reward on his head. A reporter believes that the judge is hiding in a private sanitarium, so she seeks out a private investigator and asks him to pretend to be insane, so that he can get inside the sanitarium and look for the judge. The investigator is admitted to the asylum, and encounters many dangers while trying to prove that the judge is there. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

judge | fugitive | reporter | asylum | police | See more »

Taglines:

MURDER was the ONLY way out!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 September 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Human Gorilla  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Dr. Clifford Porter: Larson! How many times have I told you not to abuse the patients?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do That (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Short but sure-fire old dark asylum thriller from Budd Boetticher
16 February 2003 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

In the noir cycle, if you were looking for sinister skulduggery, you needn't have searched any farther than the closest mental institution. Creepy snake-pits were the setting, in whole or in part, of (just to name a few) Strange Illusion, Spellbound, Shock, The High Wall and Shock Corridor. But maybe the scariest asylum of them all was La Siesta, in Oscar (later, Budd) Boetticher's Behind Locked Doors.

You'd have to be crazy to go there, because while its name promises cozy afternoon naps, what it delivers is apt to be the big sleep. Private eye Richard Carlson doesn't want to go either, but he up and falls for a reporter (Lucille Bremer) who persuades him to do the inside legwork on a story she was after. (A corrupt judge has vanished, and his girlfriend has been making nocturnal visits to La Siesta, where she's ushered in through a side door.) So they fool a doctor in giving Carlson a diagnosis of manic depression, and he becomes an inmate.

Inside, Carlson uncovers a web of secrets and lies, enforced by sadistic attendant Douglas Fowley with the help, as a last resort, of a punch-drunk prizefighter who's kept in a cage-like cell (Tor Johnson, who also graced Plan 9 From Outer Space). The intrigue centers around the judge, who's paying off the head of the hospital to hide him. But, when suspicions are raised by a deliberate act of arson, Carlson becomes the top item on the hit list....

At barely more than an hour, the movie doesn't have any time to waste, so Boetticher moves at a pretty fast clip (only the ending seems rushed). He lays on the shadows, too, with characters ominously silhouetted against walls and doors. More of an old dark house story, really, than a more freighted and ambiguous noir, Behind Locked Doors sets its sights modestly but achieves them handily.

Note: The plot summary of this movie in the `bible' – Silver and Ward's Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style – is hopelessly garbled, as though two different films had become confused.


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