Synopsis: Nell Bowen, the spirited protege of rich Lord Mortimer, becomes interested in the conditions of notorious St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum (Bedlam). Encouraged by the Quaker Hannay, she tries to bring support to reforming Bedlam, but the cruel Master Sims who runs it has her committed there. The inmates, however, have the last say.
Director(s): Mark Robson
Production: RKO Pictures
  2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
79 min

Come, Poll, do you know my friend,

Lord Mortimer?

Lord Mortimer.

Lord Mortimer.

Lord Mortimer is like a pig.

His brain's small and his belly big.

What's this hubbub?

It's one of the lunatics from the asylum,

I expect, milord.

- A prank? A jest?

- Go and see, John.


It does not look so merry a place, milord.

Never been there?

You'll have to pay Master Sims tuppence

to see all the loonies in their cages.

Maybe they'll teach you

some new tricks, Nell.

I have no need of their wit

to entertain you, milord.

They say, sir, that one of the poor devils

in there fell from the roof trying to escape.

Very regrettable. Well, drive on.

Your Lordship, it seems to me

the man was known to you.

I thought I saw him in your company

not a week gone by, sir.

Really? Well, let's have a look.

You, there. You with the light.

It is...

It is young Master Colby.

He fell trying to escape.

Some of our boos haven't sense enough

to keep safe behind their bars.

Where is Sims?

- Fetch him.

- He is dining out, milord.

Dining out with Colby's blood

on his hands.

- Do you know me?

- Yes, milord.

Then tell Master Sims to wait

upon me in the morning.

I have some few words

I wish to say to him.

Lord Mortimer is like a pig.

Will you remind Lord Mortimer

that I am waiting?

Well, Pompey, are you a pretty boy

this morning?

What are you trying to do, Pompey?

Milord, I want to look like

the visitor in the hallway.

Sims. I'd forgotten Sims.

You there, clear out.

Send in the good Sims.

First course for milord's rage.

To be eaten with a sauce of lightning,

and to the tune of thunder.

Send him in.


Quiet! I'll tell you why.

That you hated him, I knew.

That you envied him was known to all...

but that you would dare...

Dare to leave

that murderous window open...

to murder him from spite and envy.

Murder, milord?

There was no murder.

Colby was my guest.

He chose to leave by a window

before I could open the door for him.

And then that monstrous accident.


Master Sims is writing a new dictionary.

Are accidents contrived,

plotted, executed?

Exactly, Mistress Bowen.

This was a misadventure

contrived by the victim...

and executed by nature's law

that all who lose their grip on gutters...

must fall.

You stick to that story, Master Sims?

I could never invent one half so droll.

The characters of the tale...

two poets, Colby and myself.

But I am not only a poet,

but also, by your Lordship's favor...

the Apothecary General

of St. Mary's of Bethlehem Hospital.

My friend comes to discuss poetry.

I am absent.

My guards mistake him for a madman.

He tries to escape from them and is killed.

Like a romance, milord.

It's a romance that cost me 20 guineas

and a night of laughter.

How so, milord?

Lord Mortimer was foolish enough

to pay an advance...

for poetry promised in the future.

Colby was to write a masque

for the fete Lord Mortimer is giving.

If I might offer my humble talents.

Even at the hospital

I deal in wit and laughter, madam.

Are there any who have come to Bedlam...

and say the entertainment

is not worth the tuppence they paid?

You do not entertain me, Master Sims.

That is because you have a tender heart.

Most people laugh at my ugliness.

It offends me, sir.

To move a lady so beautiful in any way...

- He's gallant, too.

- I am as you wish, milord.

And I will make your fete

a frolic you will remember.


Sometimes the success of a play

belongs to the players.

What if the masque were performed

by my company of wits, the Bedlamites?

Have your loonies perform?

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Val Lewton

Val Lewton (May 7, 1904 – March 14, 1951) was a Russian-American novelist, film producer and screenwriter best known for a string of low-budget horror films he produced for RKO Pictures in the 1940s. His son, also named Val Lewton, was a painter and exhibition designer. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Bedlam" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 31 Jan. 2023. <>.

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