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Behind Locked Doors (1948)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 3 September 1948 (USA)
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 ...
...
...
Ralf Harolde ...
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

Taglines:

MURDER was the ONLY way out!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

3 September 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Human Gorilla  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

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

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

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User Reviews

 
He Must Have Been Crazy To Take A Job Like That!
30 April 2011 | by (North Texas sticks (see all my reviews)) – See all my reviews

That is, the private detective who agreed to pretend he was a nut case so he could get locked up in private loony bin where the pretty reporter who hired him suspects a corrupt judge on the lam from the law is hiding out. Only a beautiful dame and a healthy hunk of dough could entice a private eye to take on such a tough case. The dame was beautiful enough, if somewhat distant, and the ten thousand dollar reward was healthy enough. That's the plot of minor 1948 noir thriller Behind Locked Doors, and it works well enough in the hands of tough action specialist director Bud (billed Oscar) Boetticher. His taut direction, a tight script by Eugene Ling and Malvin Wald, and good work by the supporting cast, overcome low production values and lackluster leads.

Richard Carlson, the detective, was a competent actor, but if somebody gave an award for the blandest leading man of all time, he would be in the running. Lucille Bremer, the beautiful reporter, was indeed beautiful, but she was undoubtedly at her best as a dancer (she could keep up with Fred Astaire!). As an actress, her talents were suspect. She is not even at her best in Behind Locked Doors. Since she was set to marry a millionaire and retire from the screen, it is likely that this, her last picture, was just fulfilling a contract obligation. It shows in her unenthusiastic performance. The obligatory romance between her and Carlson is sort of like a cigarette lighter with a used-up flint -- no spark. Lucille is more convincing when she's resisting his advances in the early going than when eliciting them in the later reels.

No Matter. This is an action, suspense picture, and their is plenty of both. Solid support to prop up the flaccid leads is provided by Thomas Browne Henry as the troubled doctor in charge of the institution, Douglas Fowley as a sadistic warder, and the always interesting (in a bizarre way) Tor Johnson as a homicidal maniac. Shadowy cinematography by Guy Roe heightens the sinister mood of the story and no doubt at the same time covers up cheap sets. Boetticher's sharp direction keeps the pace snappy and the suspense taut with nary a wasted shot in this little 63 minute programmer.

Take a gander at the poster pitching Behind Locked Doors. Beautiful Miss Bremer is pictured apparently swooned and lying limp and seductive while being carried by menacing hulk Tor Johnson. Nothing of the sort happens in this picture! Hollywood didn't invent the art of deceptive advertising -- surely it goes back at least as far as the early Roman Empire -- but the movie studios of Old Hollywood were certainly among its top exponents. Lurid and often sexy "promo shots" bearing little or no relation to the actual content of the picture were standard fare for movie posters of the era.

Nevertheless, much does happen in a short time in Behind Locked Doors, much of it lurid, though none sexy -- except perhaps for those of the persuasion that gets a kick out of seeing a woman tied up. If you're looking for a short, filler type of movie, this well-made thriller will keep your attention for and hour and three minutes.


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