|Directed by||Mark Robson|
|Produced by||Val Lewton|
|Written by||William Hogarth
(A Rake's Progress)
|Music by||Roy Webb|
|Edited by||Lyle Boyer|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
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 in London, 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 Pompie
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, and features a commentary by film historian Tom Weaver.
- Stephen Jacobs, Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster, Tomohawk Press 2011, pp 309-10
- Lineberger, Rob (2005-10-24). "Review: Isle Of The Dead/Bedlam". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14, No 1, 1994, p. 46
- Richard B. Jewell, Slow Fade to Black: The Decline of RKO Radio Pictures, Uni of California, 2016
- Scapperotti, Dan (2008-01-08). "Out of the SHADOWS". Fangoria (Starlog Group). Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
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