Bedlam (1946)



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Movie Info

Bedlam is one of the costlier psychological-horror efforts from RKO producer Val (Curse of the Cat People) Lewton. Boris Karloff stars as the supervisor of the notorious 18th century British insane asylum St. Mary's of Bethlehem, better known as "Bedlam." Anna Lee, who co-stars as the feisty mistress of a fatuous government official, is appalled by the miserable treatment afforded the Bedlam inmates and insists that reforms be initiated. The crafty, politically connected Karloff responds by … More

Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: William Hogarth, Val Lewton, Carlos Keith, Mark Robson
In Theaters:


as Master George Sims

as Nell Bowen

as Lord Mortimer

as The Gilded Boy

as Oliver Todd

as Dorothea

as Sidney Long

as John Wilkes

as Mistress Simms

as Scrub Woman

as Solomon

as Queen of the Articho...

as The Warder

as 2nd Stonemason

as Cockney Girl

as Cockney Girl

as Bailiff

as 1st Maniac

as 1st Stonemason

as 2nd Commissioner

as Sims' Friend

as Chief Commissioner

as John Gray

as Judge

as John the Footman

as Dan the Dog
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Critic Reviews for Bedlam

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (3)

Nicholas Musaraca's excellent cinematography contributes a number of fine effects, and there's a strange and witty aside on the invention of movies.

Full Review… | November 14, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

While the film has a tendency to wander into unadulterated Hollywoodisms in spots, it is a generally straight-forward and imaginative estimate of a two-century-old sociological theme.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Robson's notably unpoetic direction doesn't help, either; yet few Hollywood films ever had such ambition.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A weak end to a great career [for producer Val Lewton], but not, in and of itself, a bad movie.

Full Review… | November 4, 2012
Antagony & Ecstasy

Lewton had something to say. Perhaps inevitably, he found less interesting ways of saying it over the course of nine films in a short four years.

Full Review… | October 22, 2009
Film Freak Central

The feminist-political fable is couched in absorbing grey zones

Full Review… | September 5, 2009

Audience Reviews for Bedlam


an interesting film, more a gothic costume drama than horror and producer val lewton's last film for rko. the story takes place in st mary bethlehem in london, a notorious madhouse. in the 18th century people were allowed to visit 'the loonies' as they were known and the hospital was a popular tourist attraction. anna lee plays an opinionated woman who objects to boris karloff's treatment of his patients and ends by being committed herself. the story was inspired by william hogarth's paintings of bedlam in the rake's progress and some of his works are used in the film. altho not nearly as lurid as it could have been it was banned in britain for many years. conditions for the mentally ill improved in the following century due to the efforts of the quakers and reaction to the madness of king george III

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


A very poor story executed decently. Tries to be a horror film at times and tries to be a politcal statement at times, while shoehorning in a love story. It fails at becoming any of these, but it does have some pretty decent scenes - mostly the ones with Karloff (of course).

Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer


Although it sounds like a good story, it isn't such a good movie. The only good actor is Karloff, and the movie is somewhat strange and somewhat boring.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

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