Drama / Horror / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 89%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 53%
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 3802

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
October 18, 2021 at 02:56 AM



Jason Robards Sr. as Oliver Todd
Ian Wolfe as Sidney Long
Hamilton Camp as Pompey
Nan Leslie as Cockney Girl
727.4 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 19 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MartinHafer 8 / 10

Not exactly scary--but a fascinating movie nevertheless

Considering that this is a Val Lewton production AND it stars Boris Karloff, you might be inclined to think this is a horror movie. Well, if that's the case--you're wrong! Instead, it is a fictionalized account of the horrors of Bedlam Hospital in Britain circa 1770. Now this isn't to say there aren't any horrific aspects to the film--Karloff is a nasty and sadistic head of this "hospital" and he tries his best to make this facility a Hell-on-Earth instead of a treatment center.

The first portion of the film is about a lady who is kept by an influential lord. This man also happens to be a trustee at Bedlam and later uses this position for evil--at the eager prompting of Karloff. When this lady sees for herself the horrors of this place, she begs the lord to do something to improve the lot for the mentally ill there. For all her trouble, the lady's life is turned upside-down and she herself becomes a resident of this chamber of horrors! While the story itself is a fictional dramatization, the fact that St. Bethlehem (a.k.a. "Bedlam") existed and was horrific is true. Many patients were chained to the walls, lived in their own filth or were simply left to wander about and languish. And, oddly, the hospital became a place for fashionable people to go for a fun tour of the hospital--where they would laugh at the patients' antics!!!

The studio did a good job of building an interesting story with interesting characters to bring all this madness to life. Particularly outstanding were the performances of Karloff and Anna Lee, though everyone involved did an excellent job--especially the set designers and camera crew to create a moody and dank rendition of Bedlam. I also liked the use of the famous Hogarth prints of Bedlam scattered through the film that were used as scene transitions--this was very artistic and lent a sense of realism to the film. Finally, the ending with its Poe-inspired scene was great--a wonderful way to wrap up a fascinating and compelling film.

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird 8 / 10

Very good Val Lewton-Boris Karloff collaboration

Of their collaborations The Body Snatcher especially is a superior film but Bedlam has many impressive things about it. The pacing can feel a little too padded out at times, and for my tastes Richard Fraser's performance is too stiff and underplayed. How Bedlam is made though is both sumptuous and atmospheric and the historical period detail is highly impressive too. The music is hauntingly eerie, while not undermining the suspense, while the film is very intelligently scripted with dialogue that provokes your thoughts a lot. There is a fair bit of talk but you don't mind when the dialogue is as well-written as it is, if I have a problem with a film being talky it is when the dialogue is not particularly good really. The story has a restrained yet eerie atmosphere, is suspenseful and handles the idea of living life in a confined place better than a fair number of films I've seen(there are some obvious ones that are an exception though). Boris Karloff gives a performance that is menacing and witty, clearly relishing his role, while Anna Lee is appealingly spirited. Billy House does a good job playing pompous and Jason Robards Snr makes the most of his interesting character. To conclude, very good. 8/10 Bethany Cox

Reviewed by bkoganbing 9 / 10

A Disquieting Notion

In Bedlam, Boris Karloff got one of the great villainous screen roles of his career. No costumes save of the period and no makeup aided him creating his character of Gerald Sims the Apothecary General of the United Kingdom and keeper of an insane asylum where he treats the inmates with barbaric cruelty unmatched on the screen.

Aiding and abetting Karloff with his favor and patronage is rich lord Billy House. When House's mistress, actress Anna Lee shows some concern over the treatment of the people inside, House and Karloff conspire to have her committed there. But when she needs them those inmates prove to be her allies and helpful allies indeed.

Besides Karloff, two other things Val Lewton's film has going for it that make it an outstanding classic. One is the meticulous detail that was paid to sets and costumes creating the atmosphere of 18th century Great Britain. RKO gave Lewton a bit more money on this film than they had on previous ones and he used it wisely. The other is Lewton's own original screenplay, based on William Hogarth's sketches of The Rake's Progress.

Though considered a classic now, Bedlam failed at the box office. I have no doubt that Val Lewton was influenced by the reports of the Holocaust. But the idea that such barbarities could be inflicted by our civilized allies and mother country Great Britain was one that was way too disquieting to the movie-going public. I think that's the reason it failed. The film however was ahead of its times.

Also the idea that one could be committed to an insane asylum under the pretexts that Anna Lee had done to her, was also a disquieting notion, something people did not want to think about.

In retrospect Boris Karloff got one of the great roles of his career in Bedlam. Bedlam is a must for Karloff fans and for students of the serious, very serious cinema.

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