Take 3: Bedlam Review

Since I haven’t done a movie review in about two weeks, I decided to change things up a little bit. Recently, Turner Classic Movies (a.k.a. TCM) held a marathon on their network called “Mental Illness in the Movies”. Out of all the movies that were selected for the marathon, Bedlam was the film that sparked my curiosity the most. My interest for the film heightened when I watched a video clip on TCM’s website involving the characters of Nell Bowen and Tom, the Tiger (don’t worry, I’ll talk more about those characters later in my review). As the events were unfolding on my computer screen, I wanted to know more about these characters, as well as the significance of their interaction. Fortunately, I did watch this movie two days ago, so now you can read about how I feel about Bedlam!

Bedlam poster
Bedlam poster image created by RKO Radio Pictures. Image found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bedlam-Poster.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: The cast of Bedlam was talented. Everyone came across as very believable. The two strongest performers, though, were Boris Karloff and Anna Lee. Their portrayals of George Sims and Nell Bowen were very expressive and memorable. Boris’ performance was so good that it provided a good reason to not like his character. Similarly for Anna Lee, her performance was talented to the point that it gave a good reason to root for her character. Both of Boris and Anna’s portrayals were captivating in this film.
  • The story: Bedlam’s story was well-written. There were some mysteries in this movie, which I did not expect. However, I found this to be a pleasant surprise. Each of these mysteries kept me guessing as it added to the intrigue of the story. Because of this, there were a few surprises that took me off guard.
  • The character of Nell Bowen: Nell Bowen was a well-written and well-acted character. Throughout the movie, Nell goes on a journey of personal growth that came across effectively on-screen. She changes from a woman in high society to putting her morals and beliefs over everything else. This made Nell a character that someone would not only want to root for, but also a character someone would want to see succeed.
Bedlam movie card
Bedlam movie card image created by RKO Radio Pictures. Image found at http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/1090/Bedlam/#tcmarcp-185053

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • The dialogue: Bedlam takes place in 1761, so the way the characters speak is reflective of that time period. I can honestly say that it was difficult, at times, to understand what the characters were saying. However, the dialogue in the film can be understood, even if it does take some getting used to.
  • An inconsistent pace: The first half of Bedlam, the build-up leading to Nell going to the hospital, was slower than the second half. When Nell gets to Bedlam, the pace quickly picks up. The second half of the film is also where most of the intrigue and engagement takes place.
  • Some characters getting less development than others: Most of the characters outside of Bedlam received more character-development than the characters inside of Bedlam. One good example is the character of Tom, the Tiger. After I saw the video clip on TCM’s website, I became curious about this character and wanted to know more about him. Sadly, Tom, the Tiger got the bare minimum when it came to character-development. This was not the only character I felt this way about, as there were also characters within Bedlam that acquired even less character-development than Tom (the character of Dan, the Dog is an example).

    Tiger in Thailand zoo
    Tiger image created by Chevanon at freepik.com.  <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/tiger-looking-straight-ahead_999674.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/pattern”>Pattern image created by Chevanon – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Bedlam is a hidden gem! While the film has its flaws, it also has its merits. I honestly had no idea that this movie existed until, literally, this week. However, I’m grateful that I stumbled across it when I did. Sharing recommendations for movie selections is something that I try my best to do on 18 Cinema Lane. Like I mentioned in my very first blog post, this film does deserve a “standing ovation”. Bedlam truly deserves to be viewed, so please watch it if you get the chance!


Overall score: 7.5 out of 10


Have you ever heard of Bedlam? Would you be interested in seeing the film? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!


Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Link to the article about the movies featured in TCM’s “Mental Illness in the Movies” marathon: http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/1383885%7C0/Mental-Illness-in-the-Movies-3-5-3-6.html

Link to the video clip I referenced in my review: http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/189565/Bedlam-Movie-Clip-A-Pretty-Chamber.html

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