Narrowly inspired by William Hogarth’s painting of the same name, Bedlam’s caustic depiction of 18th century London is suffused with Lewton’s distaste for studio politicking. In spite of a larger-than-usual budget, the film doubles down on its identification with the spurned and cast-out (Lewton went as far as outfitting Anna Lee in one of Vivien Leigh’s backup dresses from Gone with the Wind, a picture he advised against when working for David O. Selznick). Boris Karloff plays Master Simms, a bourgeoisie who connives to climb the social ladder by amusing the landed gentry with abject displays of the asylum inmates under his control. “I would not want to be a dull man forever in need of entertainment,” Lee’s actress snaps at her patron, a harmless yet blithely amoral lord standing in for innumerable studio executives. Completed only days after V-J Day, Bedlam proved Lewton’s final RKO production.