Bedlam is the last movie that Val Lewton did for RKO. It's based on the 8th engraving in the A Rake's Progress series by William Hogarth. The engravings were based on his paintings. You can see both at the link in this paragraph. The script is by Val Lewton and director Mark Robson. The 8th engraving depicts a scene from Bedlam, the nickname for the real Bethlem Royal Hospital. The engraving is used in the title sequence. Several scenes in the movies are based on scenes in old etchings. Much of that info is covered by Tom Weaver in the commentary on the disc.
Anna Lee plays a young woman who crosses paths with Boris Karloff and Lord Mortimer. She questioned Boris's running of St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum which is the fictional version of the real Bedlam. He's really a shit here, totally despicable, he treats the mental patients with contempt and ridicule. Lord Mortimer back's his pal Boris and Anna makes fun of his Lordship with a talking parrot. Since they don't like her they lock her up in Bedlam. According to Weaver this was a common occurrence, men got rid of their wives and families got rid of those members who were an inconvenience. You still see that used as a plot device in novels, movies and TV episodes to this day.
It's all quite well told and even after 3 or 4 viewings it still keeps my attention. The film version of Bedlam isn't quite as chaotic or horrid as the real place would be. At the time the story is set, 1761, the real Bedlam was a hell hole that certainly would scare the shit out of me. They used to charge the public a fee to come in and look at the loony's. This sort of thing went on at other mental institutions of the time and it wouldn't get better for some time.
Now I'm done with the Val Lewton horror films for RKO. He would leave RKO after this and make 3 more pictures before dying at age 46 in 1951. I haven't seen those and probably wouldn't see them. They aren't available on DVD for some reason. They aren't pictures that I would be interested in for the most part.
There's a nice documentary on Lewton on the disc with The 7th Victim called Shadows In The Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy. I enjoyed that, good over view of his career and life. I've also seen the DVD of Martin Scorsese Presents Val Lewton - The Man in the Shadows and that turned out to be pretty good. Lewton died too young but he left some highly entertaining films and he'll be remembered for those.