Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1963. Allied Artists Pictures, Leon Fromkess-Sam Firks Productions, F&F Productions. Screenplay by Samuel Fuller. Cinematography by Stanley Cortez. Produced by Samuel Fuller. Music by Paul Dunlap. Production Design by Eugène Lourié. Costume Design by Einar Bourman. Film Editing by Jerome Thoms. The Criterion Collection.
Samuel Fuller was one of the pioneers of independent film in the fifties and sixties, some of his films great examples of gritty, real drama. This one, made later on in his career, centres on a prize-seeking journalist who decides to go undercover as an inmate in a mental institution and write a story on what he observes. Mental hospitals being what they are, the madness around him eventually gets inside and he finds himself losing his mind the longer he stays. This is certainly a problem for his very loving fiancee (an excellent Constance Towers) who keeps pleading with his editor to help get him out. It never convinces you that it’s an important chapter in cinema history, but it does have its interesting moments.