The first serious front page headline journalist Nellie Bly, exposed corruption and the injustice of poverty, the ways in which the police treated women prisoners, the inadequate medical care for the poor and brought down shady political lobbyists.
Publisher Arthur Brisbane said of Journalist Nellie Bly upon her death, the she was, “The Greatest Reporter in America.”
At 23, Nellie Bly (real name Elizabeth Cochran) feigned mental illness, fooled a house of working women, police officers, a judge, doctors and nurses to go undercover in notorious Blackwell’s Island Women’s Insane Asylum.
The stunningly intense drama set in 1887, directed by Timothy Hines, 10 Days in a Madhouse, is closely based on Nellie Bly’s book compiled from the series of newspaper articles Bly wrote from her experience in the Women’s Asylum and how she brought down the system.
Hollywood insiders have been saying newcomer Caroline Barry delivered an Oscar worthy performance and indeed the film is being positioned as the first offering for the 2017 Academy Awards.
(Above: Caroline Barry in uncanny performance as the mother of investigative journalism, Nellie Bly.)
Likewise, critics have been raving over the powerful emotion of the movie and the exquisite portrayal of Bly by Caroline Barry opposite Christopher Lambert who gives us a troubled doctor E.C. Dent, superintendent of Blackwell’s. Ms. Barry as Bly takes on the sadistic Nurse Grupe who shows us life through the eyes of a tangled soul played by Russian born star, Alexandra Callas.
The support cast of over 90 percent women is solid with tragically moving portrayals turned in by Jessa Campbell as Tillie Mayard, Natalia Davidenko as Mrs. Schanz, Talya Mar as Bridget McGuinness, Julia Chantrey as Anne Neville, Darlene Sellers as Matilda, Andi Morrow as Leona Fox, Christopher Beeson as doctor Ingram, Summer Cropper as Miss McCarten, Darrell Salk (son of the creator of the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk), Bob Olin as Pulitzer’s editor who sends Nellie on her journey, Keith White who delivers a bravely calm and confident Peter A. Hendricks Esq., Pulitzer’s attorney who walks a fine line working to get Nellie Bly out and actor Sam Davidow as Pulitzer (who coincidentally is a relative of Pulitzer himself) and many more.
(Above: The police have been called to escort the crazy girl the Bellevue for observation from the temporary home for working women. left: Mark Lysgaard as officer Tom Bockert, left center: Susan Goforth as Mrs. Stanard, center: Caroline barry as Nellie Bly, right: Katie Singelton as Mrs. Caine.)
The world of 1887 costumes were created by Emmy Award winning designer Breezie Brooks. The movie was ingeniously edited by Stephen Eckelberry. Mr. Eckelberry is the widower of superstar actress Academy Award nominee for 5 Easy Pieces, Karen Black who tragically passed away recently and Avril Buekes who cut several Academy Award nominated pictures.
In her career, Bly always sided with the poor and the disenfranchised. Reporting on a railroad strike, Nellie Bly was the only reporter who told the story from the perspective of the strikers. Called, “fearless” and “daredevil reporter” Nellie Bly went down in a diving bell and worked as an elephant trainer. She lived the life the emerging women’s movement only dreamed of. For Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper, Nellie Bly was not shy about advancing others of her gender interviewing such powerful women as Susan B. Anthony and anarchist Emma Goldman.
10 Days in a Madhouse starts this Friday, March 4 at The North Hollywood Theater NoHo 7. See it this weekend on this select engagement.
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