DirectorMark Robson Music directorRoy Webb Duration CountryUnited States
WriterWilliam Hogarth, A Rakes Progress Release dateMay 10, 1946 (1946-05-10) CastBoris Karloff (Master George Sims), Anna Lee (Nell Bowen), Billy House (Lord Mortimer), Ian Wolfe (Sidney Long), Richard Fraser (Hanny), Glen Vernon (The Gilded Boy) Similar moviesMad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World, John Wick, Blackhat, Taken 3, Furious 7
TaglineSensational Secrets of Infamous Mad-house EXPOSED!
Bedlam 1946 sensational secrets of infamous mad house
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 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 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, and features a commentary by film historian Tom Weaver.