Watch Bedlam

"Sensational Secrets of Infamous Mad-house EXPOSED!"
  • Approved
  • 1945
  • 1 hr 19 min
  • 6.8  (4,345)

Bedlam, released in 1946, is a period drama set in the 18th century. The movie is loosely based on William Hogarth's painting series, A Rake's Progress. The story is a portrayal of the injustices and mistreatment that went on in psychiatric institutions in the 1700s. The lead character of the film is Nell Bowen (Anna Lee), a young woman of privilege who becomes interested in the conditions of the poor in Bedlam, a London insane asylum. Bedlam is run by Master George Sims (Boris Karloff), who rules the institution with an iron fist. Nell, determined to bring attention to the plight of the inmates, begins visiting the institution and advocating for their rights.

Master Sims is the epitome of the 18th century "mad doctor" stereotype – he is cruel, manipulative, and completely unconcerned with the well-being of his patients. He keeps them in horrific conditions, mistreats them, and takes pleasure in their suffering. Nell, horrified by what she sees, begins to intervene, much to the dismay of Master Sims and the other staff.

The film does not shy away from the reality of life in a psychiatric institution in the 1700s. The conditions are appalling, with naked, disoriented patients wandering aimlessly through the halls, their screams echoing through the corridors. The movie creates an atmosphere of despair and hopelessness, with the patients resigned to their fate and the staff indifferent to their suffering.

As Nell begins to advocate for the patients, she becomes an object of fascination for Master Sims. He is intrigued by her strength of character and her willingness to stand up to him. There is an undercurrent of tension between the two characters throughout the film, with Master Sims alternately trying to intimidate Nell and woo her with his charms.

The performances in the movie are excellent, with Boris Karloff delivering a chilling portrayal of a man who has given himself entirely over to his own madness. Anna Lee's Nell is the perfect foil to Karloff's Master Sims, bringing a sense of compassion and humanity to the story.

One of the strengths of the movie is its attention to detail in recreating 18th century England. The costumes and sets are beautifully rendered, creating a sense of authenticity that draws the viewer into the story. There is also a strong sense of social commentary in the film, with Nell's advocacy for the inmates serving as a commentary on the treatment of the poor and downtrodden in general.

Overall, Bedlam is a compelling and disturbing portrait of life in a psychiatric institution in the 1700s. The movie is a testament to the power of storytelling, using the medium of film to shine a light on the injustices and inequities of the past. Boris Karloff's performance is nothing short of masterful, and Anna Lee's Nell is a sympathetic and engaging heroine. If you're a fan of period dramas, or are interested in the history of medicine and mental health, Bedlam is definitely worth watching.

Bedlam is a 1945 horror movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 19 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.

Where to Watch Bedlam
Bedlam is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Bedlam for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 19 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (4,345)