Nellie Bly Brought Down a Corrupt System. This is the Movie of How She Did it.
(Above: Nellie Bly chooses the dress she will wear to convince the experts that she is insane in order to infiltrate Blackwell’s Island Women’s Insane Asylum.)
10 Days in a Madhouse starts this weekend, March 4th at the Laemmle NoHo 7 in North Hollywood. Starring lauded actress Caroline Barry as Nellie Bly, Chrstopher Lambert (Greystoke: Legend of Tarzan, Highlander, Mortal Kombat and Coen Brother’s Hail Caesar!), Kelly Le Brock, former supermodel, actress in Woman in Red, Weird Science and global woman’s rights activist) and Julia Chantrey (Mean Girls, Guillermo del Toro’s Mama).
Long before Joseph Pulitzer was known for the Pulitzer Prize, in 1887, he took a risk on hiring a young reporter who went by the pen name Nellie Bly, real name Elizabeth Cochran, and changed the course of history forever. She was the first woman serious front page news journalist and her first big New York assignment is as fascinating as it is emotionally wrenching and fulfilling told in this new critically acclaimed historical biopic, 10 Days in a Madhouse by feminist movie director Timothy Hines.
(Above: Nellie Bly meets John Cockerill, editor of Jospeh Pulitzer’s The World Newspaper who sends her undercover into the madhouse. L: Caroline Barry as Nellie Bly R: Bob Olin as John Cockerill.)
Director Hines states, “I am tired of the backlash against feminism. Everyone should be a feminist. Everyone had a mother. We are talking half the world’s populace having the same rights and opportunities as the other half. It is a no-brainer. Period. Nellie Bly should be a hero to everyone. Bly was a one of a kind and yet an inspiration to every woman and man for that matter. She boldly pushed past barriers set for women, faced life threatening risks to better lives and was an inventor.”
Her first assignment working for Pulitzer was to infiltrate the notorious Blackwell’s Insane Asylum for Women, pretending herself to be insane. It was a terrifying and eye opening experience for the 23 year Bly. To her surprise, she she was committed at Blackwell’s on what is now known as Roosevelt Island in the New York East River, she found that most women in the asylum were in actually not insane but immigrants who could not communicate with their jailers or single poor women discarded by society. Bly was locked up for 10 days, but time blurred in the dark recesses of the woman’s asylum. When, after a great and life threatening ordeal, she emerged to describe the horrible treatment and conditions of the prison-like facility.
In Bly’s own words: “Suddenly I got, one after the other, three buckets of water over my head—ice cold water, too—into my eyes, my ears, my nose and my mouth. I think I experienced some of the sensations of a drowning person as they dragged me, gasping, shivering and quaking, from the tub. For once did I look insane, as they put me, dripping wet, into a short canton flannel slip, labeled across the extreme end in large black letters, ‘Lunatic Asylum, B.I.H. 6.’”
(L: Summer Cropper as Miss McCarten and R: Talya Mar as Brigett McGuiness, a paitent who was commited as insane for life when she applied for financial aide.)
Bly’s report on the abuse and murder plus the deep friendships she formed with women who had all but lost hope sent shockwaves across America. Many government investigations were launched including a grand jury and as a result Blackwell’s was ultimately torn down. Bly went on to become the most famous reporter in the world and never shied away from risking her life to expose the treatment of women and those with no voice.
Critics have been raving over the powerful emotion of the movie and the exquisite performance of newcomer Caroline Barry who all but channels Nellie Bly.
Ms. Magazine’s critic said of Barry, “…this movie is a must-see. Nellie Bly’s heroism and courage truly come to life on the screen, thanks to the work of talented up-and-coming actor Caroline Barry. Barry is instantly magnetic as Bly, and it’s hard not to root for and fall in love with her character as the story progresses.”
(Above: Christopher Lambert plays doctor E.C. Dent, the troubled superintendent of Blackwell’s Asylum.)
Barry plays opposite Christopher Lambert who gives us an aloof and troubled doctor E.C. Dent, the superintendent of Blackwell’s. Ms. Barry as Bly takes on the sadistic and tragic Nurse Grupe deftly performed by Russian born actress, Alexandra Callas. The support cast of over 90 percent women is strong with deeply moving portrayals turned in by Jessa Campbell as Tillie Mayard, Natalia Davidenko as Mrs. Schanz, Talya Mar as Bridget McGuinness and Julia Chantrey as Anne Neville.
Find out how Nellie Bly ignored the barriers against women and changed the world this weekend. Starting Friday, March 4th at the NoHo 7 Theater in North Hollywood California. Tcikets are available online here: http://www.laemmle.com/films/40401
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