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The Snake Pit
The Snake Pit
Actors: Olivia De Havilland, Mark Stevens, Leo Genn, Celeste Holm, Glenn Langan
Genres: Drama
NR     2004     1hr 47min

Virginia Cunningham (de havilland) appeared to have had an idyllic life - a nice home, a loving husband and prospects for a sriting career. But, something just wasn't right. Confusion, doubts about her husband's love, even...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Olivia De Havilland, Mark Stevens, Leo Genn, Celeste Holm, Glenn Langan
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Classics
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 06/01/2004
Original Release Date: 11/13/1948
Theatrical Release Date: 11/13/1948
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 47min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, Spanish, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

Linda R. from EAGAN, MN
Reviewed on 11/22/2010...
Great movie - scary how they handled depression in the movie...

Movie Reviews

Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 06/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Once powerful shocker is dated now but still retains the unpleasantness and emotional tugs that must have riveted audiences in 1948. Olivia de Havilland gives an Oscar nominated performance as Virginia, a woman confined to a state mental hospital after a mental breakdown. As she struggles to understand what happened to her and regain her sanity through the kindliness and patience of a very understanding doctor, we are treated to the horrors and inhumanity of a state hospital circa 1948. Hissably horrible nurses, shock treatments, poor food, overcrowding, ice baths and finally "the snake pit"---you name it and Virginia goes through it. Luckily, she has a very loving husband who waits for her to "come home". de Havilland is excellent and if the film (and performances) seems dated, this was 1948 and mental illness was a new frontier being brought out into the open and frankly explored by Hollywood. It's possible to imagine a state hospital being this horrific in the late 40's. Supporting cast is fine but Celeste Holm is wasted in a small part as a fellow patient and disappears altogether. The finale, set at a dance for the patients, features the old tearjerker "Goin' Home" (which, incidentally, is about dying) done to effectively emotional heights about finally being released and "going home". This film is a classic of it's kind and is given a beautiful DVD treatment and I very much recommend it for movie buffs and fans of de Havilland. I still find parts of it intense and disturbing, so if it still has that effect after all these years I can only imagine what it must have been like in 1948."
Wow! This one really packs a punch!
Rod Labbe | Waterville, Maine | 07/13/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Olivia deHavilland shows her acting chops in "The Snake Pit," a harrowing look at mental illness, circa 1948. Believe me, if you have to go insane, just be thankful we're in the New Millennium, and not in post-War America! "The Snake Pit" is wonderfully acted by all concerned, but it is deHavilland's showcase, and she does a superb job. In fact, I was quite impressed with her range and dramatic ability...this is no "Melanie" from "Gone With the Wind!" Alas, "The Snake Pit" is extremely dated, but I recommend it for deHavilland's startling performance. Really, it's extremely unusual to see such power in an actress from the "old" school of demure acting. Livvy was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award and certainly deserved to win, in my humble opinion. She's much better in this than in "The Heiress" (though I love that film, too, for different reasons). Check this out--you won't be disappointed!"
One Flew over the Snake Pit
Randy Keehn | Williston, ND United States | 10/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I had heard about "The Snake Pit" over the years but never saw it until the other night. I wasn't sure if I'd see a movie with an expose of mental institutions or a considered opinion of the subject. I believe that I got both. All in all, this is a very good movie about a woman with a mental illness and her slow road to recovery. In the process, we see the story of the woman as a child, as a young woman, as an inmate in a mental istitution, etc. The young woman is play with excellence by Olivia de Havilland in an Oscar-nominated role. She had a worthy counterpart in the acting of Leo Glenn as her psychiatrist. There are several other good preformances by other women inmates. There is a husband, played by Mark Stevens, whose patience challenges our belief.

The excellence of de Havilland's preformance lies in her ability to show a woman disturbed rather than insane. There are times when she loses it but she generally plays the role as near normal to close to the edge.

The movie, made in the late 1940's, shows us a variety of levels of care as well as treatment. We get the electroshock treatment as well as analysis. Experts in the field may either scoff or appreciate the portrait of the state of psycho-analysism of the time. Frankly, I found the doctors explanations to his patient to be above the norm for Hollywood. The ending is appropriately understated. I won't elaborate but I think you'll agree that there was no need for a typical Hollywood finale. This is one of the better movies of the late 1940's and it's still worth seeing."