|Directed by||Mark Robson|
|Produced by||Val Lewton|
|Written by||William Hogarth
(A Rake's Progress)
|Music by||Roy Webb|
|Editing by||Lyle Boyer|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
|Release dates||May 10, 1946|
|Running time||79 minutes|
Bedlam (1946) is a film starring Boris Karloff and Anna Lee, and was the last in a series of stylish horror B films produced by Val Lewton for RKO Radio Pictures. The film was inspired by William Hogarth's A Rake's Progress, and Hogarth was given a writing credit.
Set in 1761 London, England, the film focuses on events at St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum, a fictionalized version of Bethlem Royal Hospital, also known as "Bedlam." After an acquaintance of aristocrat Lord Mortimer dies in an attempt to escape from the asylum, apothecary general Master George Sims (played by Karloff, a fictionalized version of an infamous head physician at Bethlem, John Monro) appeases Mortimer by having his "loonies" put on a show for him. Mortified by the treatment of the patients, Mortimer's protégé Nell Bowen (Lee) seeks the help of Whig politician John Wilkes to reform the asylum. Mortimer and Sims conspire to commit Nell to the asylum, where her initial fears of the fellow inmates do not sway her sympathetic commitment to improving their conditions. Frustrated by Nell's progress with the inmates, Sims threatens her with his strongest "cure" but his attempt is thwarted by the very inmates that Nell helped. Ultimately, Sims is literally "deposed" and Nell is rescued by her Quaker friend who had counselled her through the whole process.
- Boris Karloff as Master George Sims
- Anna Lee as Nell Bowen
- Billy House as Lord Mortimer
- Richard Fraser as Hannay
- Glen Vernon as The Gilded Boy
- Ian Wolfe as Sidney Long
- Jason Robards Sr. as Oliver Todd
- Leyland Hodgson as John Wilkes
- Joan Newton as Dorothea the Dove
- Elizabeth Russell as Mistress Sims
- Frankie Dee as Pompey
- Elizabeth Russell, the sister-in-law of Rosalind Russell, was a regular in films produced by Val Lewton, appearing in Cat People (1942), its sequel The Curse of the Cat People (1944), The Seventh Victim (1943) and Youth Runs Wild 1944.
The movie recorded a loss of $40,000.
The film has been released on DVD by Warner Bros. as part of a double release with Isle Of The Dead and as part of the Val Lewton Horror Collection. It features a commentary by film historian Tom Weaver.
- Lineberger, Rob (2005-10-24). "Review: Isle Of The Dead / Bedlam". DVD Verdict. Archived from the original on 16 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Stephen Jacobs, Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster, Tomohawk Press 2011 p 309-310
- IMDB Elizabeth Russell (I)
- Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p46
- Scapperotti, Dan (2008-01-08). "Out of the SHADOWS". Fangoria (Starlog Group). Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.