Bedlam (1946)

35mm film, black and white, 1.37:1
mono, English

An American horror film directed by Mark Robson. It was the last of the series of genre films produced by Val Lewton for RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

Plot Summary

Nell Bowen takes an interest in reforming the notorious St Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum, more commonly referred to as Bedlam. But the sadistic chief warden, Master Sims, has Nell committed there and she has to rely on her fellow inmates to save her.


Directed by: Mark Robson
Copyright MCMXLVI [1946] RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. presents
Executive Producer: Jack J. Gross
Produced by: Val Lewton
Screen Play by: Carlos Keith [real name: Val Lewton] and Mark Robson
Suggested by the William Hogarth painting Bedlam plate 8 “The Rake's Progress”
Assistant Director: Dorian Cox
Director of Photography: Nicholas Musuraca
Edited by: Lyle Boyer
Music by: Roy Webb
Musical Director: C. Bakaleinikoff
Sound by: Jean L. Speak, Terry Kellum
RCA Sound System
Gowns by: Edward Stevenson
Special Effects by: Vernon L. Walker
Art Directors: Albert S. D'Agostino, Walter E. Keller
Set Decorations: Darrell Silvera

Boris Karloff (Master George Sims)
Anna Lee as Nell Bowen
Billy House as Lord Mortimer
Richard Fraser as the stonemason
Glenn Vernon as the gilded boy
Ian Wolfe as Sidney Long
Jason Robards as Oliver Todd
Leyland Hodgson as “That Devil” [John] Wilkes
Joan Newton as Dorothea the dove
Elizabeth Russell as Mistress Sims

Alternative Titles

Chamber of Horrors – working title
Manicomio – Italian title



  • Castle of Frankenstein no.4 p.7
  • Castle of Frankenstein no.7 p.8
  • Radio Times vol.232 no.3008 (4-10 July 1981) pp.6-7 – illustrated article (Tasteful terror, elegant unease by Geoff Brown)


  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.91
  • Boris Karloff: A Critical Account of His Screen, Stage, Radio, Television, and Recording Work by Scott Allen Nollen pp.270-278; 386-387
  • A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series by Ken Hanke pp.151-162; 153
  • Feature Films, 1940-1949: A United States Filmography by Alan G. Fetrow p.32
  • Hollywood Cauldron: Thirteen Films from the Genre's Golden Age pp.351-379
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films: A Checklist by Donald C. Willis p.42 – credits
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.27
  • Horrorshows: The A-Z of Horror in Film, TV, Radio and Theatre by Gene Wright p.3-4 – credits, review
  • Recovering 1940s Horror Cinema: Traces of a Lost Decade by Mario DeGiglio-Bellemare, Charlie Ellbé and Kristopher Woofter (eds.) pp.6, 21n4, 61, 68, 219, 222n2, 248
  • by Walt Lee p.29 – credits
  • The RKO Features by James L. Neibaur p.21 – credits, synopsis
  • RKO Radio Pictures Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, 1929-1956 by Michael R. Pitts p.23-26