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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:
...
...
...
...
Thomas Browne Henry ...
Dr. Clifford Porter (as Tom Brown Henry)
...
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

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 »
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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

 
I'm not getting myself locked up in any nut-house on some hunch!
24 August 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Behind Locked Doors is directed by Oscar "Budd" Boetticher and written by Eugene Ling and Malvin Wald. It stars Richard Carlson, Lucille Bremer, Douglas Fowley, Ralf Harolde, Thomas Browne Henry, Herbert Heyes, Gwen Donovan and Tor Johnson. Music is by Irving Friedman and cinematography by Guy Roe.

Private detective Ross Stewart (Carlson) is coerced into going undercover at the La Siesta Sanitarium in search of a corrupt judge that reporter Kathy Lawrence (Bremer) believes is hiding out there. Getting himself committed under the guise of being a manic depressive, Stewart finds more than he bargained for once inside the gloomy walls of the asylum.

Clocking in at just over an hour in length, Behind Locked Doors is compact and devoid of any sort of flab. Firmly a "B" asylum based pot boiler of the kind film makers always find fascinating, it's a picture dripped thoroughly in noir style visuals. This not only pumps the story with atmosphere unbound, it also allows the economically adroit Boetticher to mask the low budget restrictions to make this look far better than it had any right to be.

Cure or be killed!

Narratively it's simple fare, undercover man uncovers sadistic humans entrusted to care for the mentally ill. The "inmates" are the usual roll call of the unfortunates, the criminally inclined or the outright hulking maniac. There's a good male nurse who we can hang our hopes on, we wonder if our intrepid protagonist will survive this perilous assignment, and of course there's a love interest added in to spice the human interest factor.

Cast performances are effective for the material to hand, but without the said visual arrangements of Boetticher and Roe the characterisations would lack impact. The camera-work shifts appropriately with the various tonal flows of the story, angles and contrasts change and with the picture almost exclusively shot in low lights and shadows, the Sanitarium is consistently a foreboding place of fear and fret. And not even some rickety sets can alter the superb atmospherics on show. 7/10


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