6.9/10
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62 user 41 critic

Bedlam (1946)

Approved | | Drama, Horror, Thriller | 10 May 1946 (USA)
Nell Bowen, the spirited protege of rich Lord Mortimer, becomes interested in the conditions of notorious St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum (Bedlam). Encouraged by the Quaker Hannay, she tries... See full summary »

Director:

Mark Robson

Writers:

William Hogarth (suggested by The William Hogarth painting Bedlam Plate #8 "The Rake's Progress"), Val Lewton (screenplay) (as Carlos Keith) | 1 more credit »
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Boris Karloff ... Master George Sims
Anna Lee ... Nell Bowen
Billy House ... Lord Mortimer
Richard Fraser ... The Stonemason
Glen Vernon Glen Vernon ... The Gilded Boy (as Glenn Vernon)
Ian Wolfe ... Sidney Long
Jason Robards Sr. ... Oliver Todd (as Jason Robards)
Leyland Hodgson ... That Devil Wilkes (as Leland Hodgson)
Joan Newton Joan Newton ... Dorothea the Dove
Elizabeth Russell ... Mistress Sims
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Storyline

Nell Bowen, the spirited protege of rich Lord Mortimer, becomes interested in the conditions of notorious St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum (Bedlam). Encouraged by the Quaker Hannay, she tries to bring support to reforming Bedlam, but the cruel Master Sims who runs it has her committed there. The inmates, however, have the last say. Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sensational Secrets of Infamous Mad-house EXPOSED! (1946 one-sheet poster)

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 May 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chamber of Horrors See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Sims says to Nell "I leave you to dream of these Augean labors", he is referring to the Labors of Hercules, one of which was to cleanse the Augean stables (the stables of Augeas). See more »

Goofs

At the fête, the violinists are shown playing with 20th-century bows. See more »

Quotes

Lord Mortimer: A capital fellow, this Sims, a capital fellow.
Nell Bowen: If you ask me, M'Lord, he's a stench in the nostrils, a sewer of ugliness, and a gutter brimming with slop.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pawn Stars: Every Rose Has Its Pawn (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Worth Seeing for Karloff's and Lee's Performances
16 November 2008 | by FlamRatamacuesSee all my reviews

"Bedlam" isn't the strongest of Val Lewton's RKO pictures, but it's in good company. Karloff has one of his most diabolical roles in this film, and it's his performance, along with Anna Lee's, that makes this film worth watching.

The plot revolves around the Bedlam asylum. George Sims (Karloff) is the cruel asylum master, and Nell Bowen (Lee) finds the conditions deplorable, the latter desiring to bring reform. Unfortunately, Nell faces great opposition (and that's a big understatement!). A friendly Quaker, Hannay, is along for the ride to assist her in her plight.

The lighting and the mood give the film a great atmosphere, and the film is always great to look at. While I would still categorize "Bedlam" as a horror movie, it's a "light" horror movie. Don't expect tons of shocks or scares. It's more of a macabre look at a real-life historical setting.

This film isn't as psychologically deep as most of Lewton's other productions, but it still excels at being more than an average horror film. You can't help but sympathize with Nell Bowen (and she has some great scenes where she confronts her foes). And you can't help but loathe Karloff as he plots his deliciously fiendish plans.

Fans of Boris Karloff will definitely enjoy this movie, and Anna Lee's character is certainly enjoyable to watch. It's not the greatest horror film ever made, but it's still better than most.

(One major annoyance: The Quaker character, Hannay, speaks in somewhat Old English with "thee" and "thy" liberally sprinkled throughout his dialogue, but he apparently doesn't understand the rules of grammar. When using "thee" and "thou", "thou" is used when it's the subject of a sentence, and "thee" is used when it's the object. Unfortunately, he always uses the word "thee", even when it's the subject. This is extremely irritating to hear, and it's surprising, considering the high quality of literary elements in most of Lewton's pictures. I would have expected him to catch an error like this.)


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