Behind Locked Doors


1h 1m 1948

Brief Synopsis

A well-known judge has become a fugitive from the police, with a large reward on his head. A reporter believes that the judge is hiding in a private sanitarium, so she seeks out a private investigator and asks him to pretend to be insane, so that he can get inside the sanitarium and look for the judge. The investigator is admitted to the asylum, and encounters many dangers while trying to prove that the judge is there.

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 1948
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 3 Sep 1948
Production Company
ARC Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Eagle-Lion Films, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 1m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,518ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

Reporter Kathy Lawrence seeks the assistance of private investigator Ross Stewart in trying to locate Judge Finlay Drake, who is a fugitive from the law. Kathy has seen the judge's girl friend, Madge Bennett, visiting the La Siesta Sanitarium and suspects that the judge is being hidden there by sanitarium chief Dr. Clifford Porter. Kathy offers Ross half of the $10,000 reward money if he will pose as a patient, enter the sanitarium and confirm that the judge is there. Ross initially declines Kathy's offer, but after checking on Madge agrees to help her. Ross poses as Harry Horton, a manic depressive, and Kathy, posing as his wife, has him evaluated by a state psychiatrist and admitted to the sanitarium. He is assigned to a three-man ward and moves in with Quist and Purvis, who warns him about Dr. Porter and the poorly run sanitarium. When Ross attempts to enter a locked ward for violent patients, sadistic head attendant Larson stops him. In exchange for a substantial sum of money, Porter has given Drake a private room inside that ward but is beginning to worry about the risk he is taking. Kathy comes to visit her "husband," who has little to report, and gives him a concealed photograph of the judge. Later, as a punishment for criticizing the running of the hospital, Purvis is dragged away by Larson and beaten. When Ross sees Madge being escorted to the locked ward, he gives matches to Topper, a "fire bug," who starts a fire, affording Ross access to the locked area where he spots Drake. Dr. Porter thinks that Drake may accidentally have caused the fire and demands more money from him. The judge's photograph is then found among Ross's possessions, and Drake concludes that Ross is either a policeman or a reporter and tells Porter that he should not be allowed to communicate with his wife. The photograph is returned to Ross intact so that he will not suspect that they know about him. Larson then asks Ross to assist in cleaning the locked ward but, once inside, pushes him into a room and locks the door. Kathy, who is falling in love with Ross, is informed by Dr. Porter that her husband has been attacked by one of the violent patients and that she cannot see him. When Porter and Drake interrogate Ross, he tells them that his wife will report his "accident" to the authorities. Indeed, Kathy has confessed the deception and her fears about Ross's safety to the state psychiatrist, but he says he cannot help her. Consequently, Kathy arms herself with a gun and hides in Madge's car. In the meantime, Porter has confined Ross to the same room as a deranged ex-boxer who beats him up. Kathy then leaves Madge tied up in her car and, dressed in her fur and hat, gains entrance to the locked ward. Attendant Fred Hopps has meanwhile phoned for the sheriff to come. Kathy draws a gun on the judge and orders him to have Ross brought to his room. Ross then takes over and they try to escape. The ex-boxer attacks Larson but Porter shoots him. The sheriff's officers arrive and arrest the judge, Porter and Larson. After Kathy phones in her story, she and Ross embrace.

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 1948
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 3 Sep 1948
Production Company
ARC Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Eagle-Lion Films, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 1m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,518ft (7 reels)

Articles

Behind Locked Doors - A B-MOVIE GEM FROM BUDD BOETTICHER


In the late forties in Hollywood, when Budd Boetticher was still going by the name of Oscar Boetticher, he directed several B-movies for "Poverty Row" studios like Monogram and Eagle Lion. Of these, Behind Locked Doors (1948) was one of the best and thanks to Kino International, it is now available on DVD and VHS. The ambitious plot, which would later inspire director Sam Fuller to make a similar film - Shock Corridor (1963) - follows detective Ross Stewart (Richard Carlson) as he has himself declared insane and committed to a mental institution. Why? Because a persuasive reporter (Lucille Bremer) has convinced him that a corrupt judge is hiding from the police within the asylum and there is a $10,000 reward on his head. But once inside, Stewart discovers that it's not so easy to prove the reporter's hunch plus there is a very real concern that he will EVER get out again.

Boetticher gives Behind Locked Doors a real sense of paranoia and claustrophia which is heightened by the moody cinematography by Guy Roe. There are also some unexpected surprises along the way like the appearance of Ed Wood regular, Tor Johnson, in the role of a brain damaged boxer who becomes extremely violent whenever he hears a ringing bell. This might explain why the alternate title for this film was The Human Gorilla.

The Kino box art cover recreates the film's original theatrical poster while the back cover confirms the film's importance: "Behind Locked Doors cleverly compensates for its budgetary limitations by bathing its sets in darkness. This visual spareness is perfectly suited to Boetticher's terse, hard-edged style, making the film a nightmarish ride through the halls of insanity and an ingenious, effective example of American film noir." We agree wholeheartedly and recommend this outstanding DVD to anyone interested in innovative B-movies or the early work of Budd Boetticher.

Kino International also offers several other outstanding B-movie titles on DVD and VHS like Anthony Mann's Strange Impersonation (1946), Douglas Sirk's Lured (1947), Edgar Ulmer's Carnegie Hall (1947), and Jules Dassin's Brute Force (1947), available on VHS only. For more information on the titles carried by Kino, visit their web site at Kino International.

Behind Locked Doors - A B-Movie Gem From Budd Boetticher

Behind Locked Doors - A B-MOVIE GEM FROM BUDD BOETTICHER

In the late forties in Hollywood, when Budd Boetticher was still going by the name of Oscar Boetticher, he directed several B-movies for "Poverty Row" studios like Monogram and Eagle Lion. Of these, Behind Locked Doors (1948) was one of the best and thanks to Kino International, it is now available on DVD and VHS. The ambitious plot, which would later inspire director Sam Fuller to make a similar film - Shock Corridor (1963) - follows detective Ross Stewart (Richard Carlson) as he has himself declared insane and committed to a mental institution. Why? Because a persuasive reporter (Lucille Bremer) has convinced him that a corrupt judge is hiding from the police within the asylum and there is a $10,000 reward on his head. But once inside, Stewart discovers that it's not so easy to prove the reporter's hunch plus there is a very real concern that he will EVER get out again. Boetticher gives Behind Locked Doors a real sense of paranoia and claustrophia which is heightened by the moody cinematography by Guy Roe. There are also some unexpected surprises along the way like the appearance of Ed Wood regular, Tor Johnson, in the role of a brain damaged boxer who becomes extremely violent whenever he hears a ringing bell. This might explain why the alternate title for this film was The Human Gorilla. The Kino box art cover recreates the film's original theatrical poster while the back cover confirms the film's importance: "Behind Locked Doors cleverly compensates for its budgetary limitations by bathing its sets in darkness. This visual spareness is perfectly suited to Boetticher's terse, hard-edged style, making the film a nightmarish ride through the halls of insanity and an ingenious, effective example of American film noir." We agree wholeheartedly and recommend this outstanding DVD to anyone interested in innovative B-movies or the early work of Budd Boetticher. Kino International also offers several other outstanding B-movie titles on DVD and VHS like Anthony Mann's Strange Impersonation (1946), Douglas Sirk's Lured (1947), Edgar Ulmer's Carnegie Hall (1947), and Jules Dassin's Brute Force (1947), available on VHS only. For more information on the titles carried by Kino, visit their web site at Kino International.

TCM Remembers - Budd Boetticher


BUDD BOETTICHER 1916-2001

When director Budd Boetticher died on November 29th, American film lost another master. Though not a household name, Boetticher made crisp, tightly wound movies with more substance and emotional depth than was apparent at first glance. Instead of a flashy style, Boetticher preferred one imaginatively simple and almost elegant at times. Because of this approach films like The Tall T (1957), Decision at Sundown (1957), The Bullfighter and the Lady (1951) and Ride Lonesome (1960) have withstood the test of time while more blatantly ambitious films now seem like period pieces.

Budd was born Oscar Boetticher in Chicago on July 29th, 1916. With a father who sold hardware, Boetticher didn't come from a particularly artistic background. In college he boxed and played football before graduating and heading to Mexico to follow what's surely one of the most unusual ways to enter the film industry: as a professional matador. That's what led an old friend to get Boetticher hired as a bullfighting advisor on the 1941 version of Blood and Sand. Boetticher quickly took other small jobs in Hollywood before becoming an assistant director for films like Cover Girl. In 1944, he directed his first film, the Boston Blackie entry One Mysterious Night. Boetticher made a series of other B-movies, like the underrated film noir Behind Locked Doors (1948), through the rest of the decade.

Boetticher really hit his stride in the 50s when he began to get higher profile assignments, including the semi-autobiographical The Bullfighter and the Lady in 1951 which resulted in Boetticher's only Oscar nomination, for Best Writing. Sam Peckinpah later said he saw the film ten times. Other highlights of this period include Seminole (1953) (one of the first Hollywood films sympathetic to American Indians), the stylishly tight thriller The Killer Is Loose (1956) and the minor classic Horizons West (1952). In the late 50s, Boetticher also started directing TV episodes of series like Maverick and 77 Sunset Strip.

In 1956, Boetticher started a string of films that really established his reputation. These six Westerns starring Randolph Scott are known as the Ranown films after the production company named after Randolph Scott and producer Harry Joe Brown. Actually the first, Seven Men from Now (1956), was produced by a different company but all of them fit together, pushing the idea of the lone cowboy seeking revenge into new territory. The sharp Decision at Sundown twists Western cliche into one of the bleakest endings to slip through the Hollywood gates. The Tall T examines the genre's violent tendencies while Ride Lonesome and Buchanan Rides Alone (1958) have titles appropriate to their Beckett-like stories. The final film, Comanche Station, appeared in 1960.

That was the same year Boetticher made one of the best gangster films, The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond, before watching everything fall apart. He and his wife decided to make a documentary about the famous matador Carlos Arruza and headed to Mexico. There Boetticher saw Arruza and much of the film crew die in an accident, almost died himself from an illness, separated from and divorced his wife (Debra Paget), and then spent time in various jails and even briefly a mental institution. This harrowing experience left him bankrupt but he still managed to complete the film, Arruza (1968), which gathered acclaim from the few who've been able to see it.

Boetticher managed to make just one more film, My Kingdom For... (1985), a self-reflexive documentary about raising Andalusian horses. He also made a cameo appearance in the Mel Gibson-Kurt Russell suspense thriller, Tequila Sunrise (1988). He died from complications from surgery at the age of 85.

By Lang Thompson

TCM Remembers - Budd Boetticher

BUDD BOETTICHER 1916-2001 When director Budd Boetticher died on November 29th, American film lost another master. Though not a household name, Boetticher made crisp, tightly wound movies with more substance and emotional depth than was apparent at first glance. Instead of a flashy style, Boetticher preferred one imaginatively simple and almost elegant at times. Because of this approach films like The Tall T (1957), Decision at Sundown (1957), The Bullfighter and the Lady (1951) and Ride Lonesome (1960) have withstood the test of time while more blatantly ambitious films now seem like period pieces. Budd was born Oscar Boetticher in Chicago on July 29th, 1916. With a father who sold hardware, Boetticher didn't come from a particularly artistic background. In college he boxed and played football before graduating and heading to Mexico to follow what's surely one of the most unusual ways to enter the film industry: as a professional matador. That's what led an old friend to get Boetticher hired as a bullfighting advisor on the 1941 version of Blood and Sand. Boetticher quickly took other small jobs in Hollywood before becoming an assistant director for films like Cover Girl. In 1944, he directed his first film, the Boston Blackie entry One Mysterious Night. Boetticher made a series of other B-movies, like the underrated film noir Behind Locked Doors (1948), through the rest of the decade. Boetticher really hit his stride in the 50s when he began to get higher profile assignments, including the semi-autobiographical The Bullfighter and the Lady in 1951 which resulted in Boetticher's only Oscar nomination, for Best Writing. Sam Peckinpah later said he saw the film ten times. Other highlights of this period include Seminole (1953) (one of the first Hollywood films sympathetic to American Indians), the stylishly tight thriller The Killer Is Loose (1956) and the minor classic Horizons West (1952). In the late 50s, Boetticher also started directing TV episodes of series like Maverick and 77 Sunset Strip. In 1956, Boetticher started a string of films that really established his reputation. These six Westerns starring Randolph Scott are known as the Ranown films after the production company named after Randolph Scott and producer Harry Joe Brown. Actually the first, Seven Men from Now (1956), was produced by a different company but all of them fit together, pushing the idea of the lone cowboy seeking revenge into new territory. The sharp Decision at Sundown twists Western cliche into one of the bleakest endings to slip through the Hollywood gates. The Tall T examines the genre's violent tendencies while Ride Lonesome and Buchanan Rides Alone (1958) have titles appropriate to their Beckett-like stories. The final film, Comanche Station, appeared in 1960. That was the same year Boetticher made one of the best gangster films, The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond, before watching everything fall apart. He and his wife decided to make a documentary about the famous matador Carlos Arruza and headed to Mexico. There Boetticher saw Arruza and much of the film crew die in an accident, almost died himself from an illness, separated from and divorced his wife (Debra Paget), and then spent time in various jails and even briefly a mental institution. This harrowing experience left him bankrupt but he still managed to complete the film, Arruza (1968), which gathered acclaim from the few who've been able to see it. Boetticher managed to make just one more film, My Kingdom For... (1985), a self-reflexive documentary about raising Andalusian horses. He also made a cameo appearance in the Mel Gibson-Kurt Russell suspense thriller, Tequila Sunrise (1988). He died from complications from surgery at the age of 85. By Lang Thompson

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Inside the Wall.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall October 1948

Released in United States on Video July 18, 2000

Released in United States on Video July 18, 2000

Released in United States Fall October 1948