Behind Locked Doors

Behind Locked Doors is a 1948 film noir directed by Budd Boetticher and starring Lucille Bremer, Richard Carlson and Tor Johnson. At the behest of a pretty reporter, an amorously forward private detective goes undercover as a patient in a private sanitarium in search of a judge hiding out from the police. The two plan to split the $10,000 reward for the judge's capture. As the reporter and detective begin to fall in love, the detective also falls deeper into danger from an abusive attendant and difficult inpatients. The latter include an arsonist and "The Champ," a lunatic ex-boxer who attacks anyone put into a room with him after he hears what sounds like a bell.

Behind Locked Doors
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBudd Boetticher
Produced byEugene Ling
Screenplay byEugene Ling
Malvin Wald
Story byMalvin Wald
StarringLucille Bremer
Richard Carlson
Douglas Fowley
Music byIrving Friedman
CinematographyGuy Roe
Edited byNorman Colbert
Aro Productions
Distributed byEagle-Lion Films
Release date
  • September 3, 1948 (1948-09-03) (United States)
Running time
62 minutes
CountryUnited States

The title "Human Gorilla" for this movie can be found on various copies of this movie. Although the film features noir lighting and camerawork, depicts corruption, and provides suspense, it lacks most of the characterizations common to film noir. And it ends happily for the protagonists.



It was the first of a three picture deal Boetticher had with Eagle Lion films.[1]


Reviews for the movie when released on DVD in 2002 were mixed. Keith Phipps, writing for the Onion AV Club, wrote of the film, "A probable inspiration for Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor, Doors suffers in comparison; Fuller made transcendent B-movies, and this isn't one. In just about every other respect, however, it's everything it should be: fast-paced, stylishly shot, a little lurid, a little topical, and thoroughly entertaining."[2]

Film critic Dennis Schwartz gave the film a mixed review, writing, "Budd Boetticher directs a fast-paced low-budget B-film thriller with a far-fetched idea as its storyline and presents a shaky portrayal of the mental health profession. The film's claustrophobic and oppressive surroundings in a private mental hospital, moves this paranoiac tale somewhat into film noir territory ... No character was developed, the storyline never seemed believable, and despite the attempts made through the dark photography to create tension that wasn't possible because we didn't know enough about the lead characters and the villains were merely cardboard characters. Aside from being well directed, this melodrama has little else to recommend it. Boetticher is better known today for the many splendid Westerns he directed during the 1950s with Randolph Scott as star, which include Comanche Station, Ride Lonesome, and The Tall T."[3]


  1. Budd Boetticher: The Last Interview Wheeler, Winston Dixon. Film Criticism; Meadville Vol. 26, Iss. 3, (Spring 2002): 52-0_3.
  3. Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, December 6, 2003.

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