Any movie with Tor can't be all bad and it isn't. Tor gets to do what hedoes best. Act menacing and remain mute. The main plot of the movie has todo with a female reporter convincing a private eye to go undercover into asanitarium. Inside he finds abuse and corruption.User: JoeKarlosi
An entertaining little item, if not with a very original plot line.It's a noirish low budget film starring Richard Carlson (THE CREATUREFROM THE BLACK LAGOON) as a private eye pretending to be mentally illso he can be admitted to an asylum called "La Siesta Sanitarium". Awoman reporter believes that a corrupt judge is hiding out there andwants Carlson to investigate. Naturally, once our hero gets inside itis revealed that despite its seemingly comforting name, this sanitariumis anything but warm and cozy with its underhanded coordinator andnasty attendants.
This is a very short (62 minutes) and tightly wound film that moves andis well photographed with shadowy detail. Carlson is quite good in it,and I spotted former Our Gang child star Dickie Moore as a patient.Also on hand is Tor Johnson as a hulking punch drunk inmate in a paddedcell who goes into his wild boxing antics whenever sadistic guardstaunt him by tapping bell-like ringing sounds from outside his cage!This film is sometimes known as THE HUMAN GORILLA, which was itsreissue title.
Richard Carlson goes "Behind Locked Doors" in this 1948 film alsostarring Lucille Bremer. Carlson plays detective Ross Stewart whoenters an insane asylum as a patient at the behest of a reporter KathyLawrence (Bremer) to find a judge who is on the lam from the police.For his trouble, there is a $10,000 reward, which he and Lawrence willsplit, but she has to make sure the Judge is in the asylum first. Theyplay man and wife, and she has him committed. Once inside, Stewartdiscovers that the place is run somewhat inhumanely, and that the judgemay be in a ward of the asylum that is locked and inaccessible to otherpatients.
This is a B movie all the way with decent performances by Carlson andBremer, Douglas Fowley and Tor Johnson and good direction by BuddBoetticher. I sort of hoped that, although the Bremer character was onthe trail of the judge, that she might have been interested in some ofthe bad conditions at the asylum and wanted to expose them. Thoughthings don't stay as they are there, it would have been nice ifearlier, she had mentioned having any interest in it. Guess she justwanted the big story.
Good but not exceptional.
Summary: Excellent B Thriller about a Sinister Sadistic Asylum
This is a very good zero-budget B thriller about a sadistic mentalasylum. A corrupt judge who was meant to be sent to jail is on the runand hiding out in this asylum, which is run by a corrupt crony of his.So Lucille Bremer (in her last film) decides to try to collect the$10,000 reward for his capture by the police. She approaches RichardCarlson, a handsome and engaging private dick on his very first case,with the proposition that they split the reward if he will pretend tobe her husband and be a manic depressive, and get himself committed tothe asylum, which he does. But things go wrong! The asylum is asadistic and criminal institution, and Carlson now cannot get out.Everybody's worst nightmare! The judge is hiding in the locked wardadjoining the violent psycho cases. One of these is 'the Champ', apsychotic former boxer who still thinks he is in the ring and wants topunch everybody to death, hence has to be kept in a locked ward. Henever speaks and is wonderfully played by Tor Johnson, with such amournful, tormented expression, glassy eyes, and as if totally stoned.No prizes for guessing that someone might end up locked in with him!Things get really sticky, and Lucille who is on the outside has tofigure out some way to help Carlson who is on the inside, and time isrunning out. What can be done? I won't tell!
If you like Forties B-movies -- especially Forties B-movie noirs --Behind Locked Doors might bring a contented smile to your face. It's nomore than what it is, but the plot is an old reliable one and directorBudd Boetticer keeps things moving. Once more we have a man who placeshimself in a prison, in this case a private sanitarium for the mentallyill, to get the goods on crime and finds it's a lot harder to get outthan it was to get in.
Ross Stewart (Richard Carlson), a wisecracking private eye who likesdames and dollars, lets himself be recruited by Kathy Lawrence (LucilleBremer), a stylish newspaper reporter with the San Francisco Tribune,to get the goods on Finlay Drake. He's a crooked judge on the lam andshe's traced him, she thinks, to the La Siesta Sanatorium, a privateinstitution for mental cases run by Dr. Clifford Porter. She can'tprove it unless she can get someone inside to locate the judge. SoStewart becomes Harry Horton, a manic-depressive husband, who isadmitted to La Siesta.
Does he find the judge? Well, sure. But he also finds that Dr. Porteris as corrupt as the judge, the warder in charge is a sadistic bully,and upstairs in the lock-down ward is a very big guy called The Champ,who beats anyone he can reach when he hears a bell. When the bad guysrealize who Harry Horton really is, it's likely the only way RossStewart is going to leave La Siesta is feet first. Steward has onlythree things going for him. A friendly warder, the determination ofKathy Lawrence to not just get her story but to rescue Stewart, andStewart's own ingenuity.
Now bear in mind that Richard Carlson may not be the most persuasiveactor to play a private eye. In this case, the dialogue is snappy mostof the time, with some romantic bantering between Steward and Lawrence.Carlson had skill and, in my opinion, was best in lightweight roles.The dialogue helps make him attractive and believable. Top billed butplaying second lead is Lucille Bremer, an accomplished dancer but notso good an actor. Probably through no fault of hers, her screenpersonality left the impression of a reserved and chilly woman. Sheregisters here only because of the trajectory of her Hollywood career:Four years only, with that glossy MGM grooming to start with, two bigMGM musicals (Meet Me in St. Louis, a hit, and, co-starring with FredAstaire, Yolanda and the Thief, a flop) specialty dances in two moreMGM high-gloss movies, and then quick loan-outs for four B movies. Andthat was that. She retired right after Behind Locked Doors, married amillionaire from Mexico, had four kids and a divorce, in that order. Tosee Richard Carlson at his goofiest, watch him in Too Many Girls. Tosee Lucille Bremer at her dancing best, watch her in Ziegfeld Follieswith Astaire doing "Limehouse Blues" and "This Heart of Mine."
Behind Locked Doors has two other good points. First is the effectivecinematography. Most of the movie takes place in the sanitarium. Itmight look cheerful by day, but at night, with all those shadows castby moonlight, it's definitely not a healthy place to be stuck in. Andthere are all those in the cast whose faces we remember but almostalways can't place where we saw them. Among the many is Thomas BrownHenry as the doctor. I doubt if there was a cheap science fiction moviein the Fifties that he wasn't in. And there's Douglas Fowley as Larson,the warder with thick glasses and round shoulders. Larson likes to hitthe patients with his heavy ring of keys, or hit a fire extinguisher soit rings outside the door of The Champ, sending the poor lump into afrenzy of punching. Better yet is putting another patient into the roomwith The Champ, then hitting the extinguisher. Larson likes watchingthe result. It's a mild satisfaction to see someone like Fowley being areally bad guy, and then remembering him playing the exasperated,frustrated and funny Roscoe Dexter, trying to direct Lina Lamont inSingin' in the Rain.
All this in just 62 minutes.
It seems like everything done in black and white in the forties, unlessthere was some singing and dancing in it, is now a film noir. (Well,excluding Olivier's 1949 Hamlet, I suppose.) When this "Poverty Row"production came out in 1948 I'm sure it was billed as a mystery/suspensetale, but never mind. "Film noir" is now a growth industry.
There's a gumshoe, Ross Stewart played by Richard Carlson, whom I recallmost indelibly as Herbert A. Philbrick of TV's cold war espionage series "ILed Three Lives" from the fifties when HUAC had us all looking under ourbeds for commies. Lucille Bremer, near the end (which was also near thebeginning) of a very modest filmland career, co-stars as Kathy Lawrence, anewspaper woman with a story idea. She needs a private eye to do theinvestigative dirty work.
Ross Stewart has just hung out his gumshoe shingle and had the frosted glassdoor of his office lettered and is paying the painter when Kathy Lawrenceshows up. (I love all the private eye movies which begin with the dameshowing up at the PI's office needing help. So logical, so correct; so likea noir "Once upon a time.") She wants him to pretend to be insane so thatshe can get him committed to a private sanitarium where she believes acorrupted judge is hiding, thus the locked doors in thetitle.
What I liked about this is the way the low-budget production meshed with thegloomy and aptly named "La Siesta Sanitarium," the scenes shot in rather dimlight giving everything a kind of shady appearance. The story itself andthe direction by Oscar "Budd" Boetticher defines "pedestrian," but there isa curious and authentic period piece feel to the movie that can't be faked. Postmodern directors wanting to capture late-forties, early fifties L.A.atmosphere would do well to take a look at this tidy 62-minuteproduction.
Tor Johnson, the original "hulk" (perhaps) plays a dim-witted but violentpunch drunk ex-fighter who is locked in a padded cell. He comes to lifewhen the fire extinguisher outside his door is sadistically "rung" by one ofthe attendants with his keys, thereby springing the hulk into shadow boxingimaginary opponents. Could it be that he will get a live one lateron...?
See this for Richard Carlson who made a fine living half a century agoplaying the lead or supporting roles in a slew of low budget mystery, horrorand sci fi pictures, most notably perhaps The Creature from the Black Lagoon(1954).
This works pretty well for a B-grade film noir. The atmosphere is mostlyconvincing, and the story is interesting, even if not always entirelyplausible. It has some creative touches and some moments of real tensionthat make up for the routine leading characters and the occasional lack ofbelievability.
The story opens with a reporter visiting the office of an inexperiencedprivate investigator (Richard Carlson), with a proposition. The reporterbelieves that she knows where to find a prominent judge who has become afugitive from the police (and for whom there is a $10,000 reward). Shethinks that the judge is hiding in a private sanitarium, and wants theinvestigator to pretend to be insane so that he can get inside and find out. Most of the story that follows takes place inside the asylum, as theinvestigator tries to find the judge and stay out of danger.
The asylum setting is done well, and furnishes a suitable atmosphere. Theyuse the setting in several ways to further the action, most notably withhorror-film favorite Tor Johnson appearing as a dangerous inmate, along witha number of other strange inhabitants. The unusual setting addsconsiderably to the more routine aspects of the film.
"Human Gorilla" (also called "Behind Locked Doors") works rather well, andthis is not a bad movie to check out if you like film noir or crime movies,and wouldn't mind the generally low production values.
This little b movie , made for next to nothing has more suspense &interest than most of todays so called big filmswe were completley enthralled especially by Lucille Bremer. a verybeautiful actress who had too short a career
see this little gem
A nasty little noir by Budd Boetticher. The story involves a woman'shiring a struggling private detective to have himself committed to aprivate psychiatric hospital. A corrupt judge is holed up there.
Richard Carlson is good, very good, as the main character. Thesupporting cast is excellent. It's a tough little story.
Don't expect an expose like "The Snake Pit" or metaphor like "ShockCorridor." The sanitarium itself is one of the problems: Would aprivate sanitarium really have such sadistic, violent staff? It comesacross much more like a state psychiatric hospital.
Also, the rationale behind the woman's action is never really clear.
However, it's a very scary movie, with no fat at all. The character'sloss of his true identity once he's behind the doors is reminiscent ofanother small, though better, movie: "My Name Is Julia Ross." Inpassing, I wonder whether that movie, "When Strangers Marry," and theentire Republic noir catalog still exist. The first two are superblittle movies that pack tremendous wallop. "Julia Ross," thoughatypical of the genre in many ways, may be my single favorite filmnoir. Where are these movies? And why don't we ever see the Republicnoirs of the 1950s? That, however, is a digression. This movie is verywell worth seeing. It's very tense and exciting and has fine characterdevelopment.
In the noir cycle, if you were looking for sinister skulduggery, you needn'thave searched any farther than the closest mental institution. Creepysnake-pits were the setting, in whole or in part, of (just to name a few) Strange Illusion, Spellbound, Shock, The High Wall and Shock Corridor. Butmaybe the scariest asylum of them all was La Siesta, in Oscar (later, Budd)Boetticher's Behind Locked Doors.
You'd have to be crazy to go there, because while its name promises cozyafternoon naps, what it delivers is apt to be the big sleep. Private eyeRichard Carlson doesn't want to go either, but he up and falls for areporter (Lucille Bremer) who persuades him to do the inside legwork on astory she was after. (A corrupt judge has vanished, and his girlfriend hasbeen making nocturnal visits to La Siesta, where she's ushered in through aside door.) So they fool a doctor in giving Carlson a diagnosis of manicdepression, and he becomes an inmate.
Inside, Carlson uncovers a web of secrets and lies, enforced by sadisticattendant Douglas Fowley with the help, as a last resort, of a punch-drunkprizefighter who's kept in a cage-like cell (Tor Johnson, who also gracedPlan 9 From Outer Space). The intrigue centers around the judge, who'spaying off the head of the hospital to hide him. But, when suspicions areraised by a deliberate act of arson, Carlson becomes the top item on the hitlist....
At barely more than an hour, the movie doesn't have any time to waste, soBoetticher moves at a pretty fast clip (only the ending seems rushed). Helays on the shadows, too, with characters ominously silhouetted againstwalls and doors. More of an old dark house story, really, than a morefreighted and ambiguous noir, Behind Locked Doors sets its sights modestlybut achieves them handily.
Note: The plot summary of this movie in the `bible' Silver and Ward's FilmNoir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style is hopelesslygarbled, as though two different films had become confused.