Behind Locked Doors (1948)
When you don’t have that much time but want to sneak a “quickie in” this isn’t such a bad way to go at a running time of 62 minutes . What we have here is an early effort from a man who would make his name teaming with Randolph Scott for a series of westerns that have steadily grown in stature. Billed here as Oscar Boetticher, the film world would come to know him as Budd.
This Noir flavored film casts Richard Carlson as a down and out private eye who is approached by reporter gal Lucille Bremer to prove that a crooked judge is hiding out at a local sanitarium. With a 10,000 dollar reward to split between the two of them, Carlson agrees to play her husband and finds himself admitted to the loony bin.
Here’s where we meet a few faces that you are sure to recognize. Thomas Browne Henry stars as the head doctor who runs the asylum. Douglas Fowley is the strong arm who is quick with a beating for inmates that drag their feet and turning up as a punch drunk zombie is the one and only Tor Johnson. A man who made a living as a zombie in more than one Ed Wood “classic”.
This is a tight black and white production filmed on an even tighter budget. That doesn’t stop Boetticher from turning in a thriller that may well have stole the thunder from the upper half of the double bill this probably played on. It’s fast paced and Carlson does a solid job as usual in the starring role. The film is well lit and has plenty of shadows and angles for the Noir fan.
Since it’s not an A budgeted film you can sometimes see something a little more and in this case there is a heck of a beating dished out by Johnson that may not have been shown in other films of the era.
Get a copy, lock the doors and check out some early Budd.