The movie opens with Polly Bergen running frantically through the streets trying to escape the noise in her head. She winds up in a movie theatre where the trailers are all about rollercoasters, racecars, and guns and such, so Polly breaks into a cold sweat and runs screaming to the front of the theatre, from which she is taken to the mental hospital, then the Nuthatch, while concerned husband, Robert Vaughn, stands outside doors wringing his hat. This Nuthatch has a new director, the wooden Robert Stack, who is trying to bring a kinder, gentler type of treatment to the patients (a veritable smorgasboard of 60s B actresses) — over the dead body of Head Nurse Joan Crawford, who doesn't even show up until 31 minutes into the picture, where, I swear to god, in every scene, the shadow from a louvered door or window fell across her forehead. Nurse Crawford is Old School.
The music (Elmer Bernstein) was quite good, especially during the scene where Polly Bergen finds herself in the men's ward. Not the best situation for an attractive brunette.
** Ernie, Madge and Artie (TV 1974): The ghost of dead husband threatens marriage of remarried widow. Starring Cloris Leachman Dick van Patten.
** Every Man Needs One (TV 1972): Male chauvinist architect pressured into hiring a feminist assistant. Connie Stevens, Ken Berry [NOTE: Don't you wish there were a Crappy TV Movies of the 1970s cable channel? CrapTV?]
** But I Don’t Want to Get Married (TV 1970); widowed accountant dumbfounded to have marriage-minded women descend upon him. Herschel Bernardi, Shirley Jones, Brandon Cruz.
See? Not a hint of mental illness (putting aside Potsie, obviously). It must have meant something important to him to make this picture, so it's a shame that it couldn't have been more original. That said, Lucien Ballard was nominated for a Best Cinematography, Black and White Academy Award (he lost to James Wong Howe for Hud — totally), and was nominated for Golden Globes Best Picture, Best Director (Hall Bartlett of Jonathan Livingston Seagull), and Best Actress (Polly Bergen) Awards.
The Dark Underbelly
DEDICATED TO THE CARETAKERS WHOSE RESEARCH AND SACRIFICE DISCOVER TRUTH. FOR BEBA, ALICE, PAUL, CATHY, LAURIE, PEARL, MARGARET, WARREN, ARTHUR.
...which makes you wonder if that's the reason all these teevee people were involved.