Directed by Denis Sanders. Starring Stuart Witman, Roddy McDowall, Lauren Bacall, & Carol Lynley
Gardener Martin Ashley (Roddy McDowall) is sentenced to 90 days of evaluation in a mental hospital after killing his wealthy employer Amelia Townsend with a pair of garden shears. To prove Martin’s sanity so he can be sentenced to murder, and to try and find $1 million that went missing after the murder, the prosecuting lawyer hires stage actor Dale Nelson (Stuart Witman) to infiltrate the facility to try and learn the truth by making friends with Martin. Unfortunately for Mr. Nelson, his doctor, Dr. Edwina Beighley (Lauren Bacall) has no qualms using experimental treatments on any available human guinea pig she can get her hands on to further her research.
Obviously this is a very low security asylum where patients can roam the halls, ask for random sleeping pills, and wander about unsupervised outside during dances with nary a guard in sight. Be that as it may, this movie has some amazing acting and more than one plot twist I never saw coming in the least. Though Roddy McDowall’s role is certainly up to his usual par and is the catalyst for the film, Stuart Witman is really the star of the show here. His sane side is more than believable which makes the time he spends in the hospital acting like one of the inmates all the more disturbing to watch. You really start to wonder if he’s going to make it out at all, sane or otherwise. Lauren Bacall did a great job of portraying the cold-hearted, research-driven doctor who would have made Dr. Josef Mengela proud.
4 out of 5 Ravens