ming movie reviews

in about 100 words or less

The Snake Pit (1948)

USA 108m, B&W
Director: Anatole Litvak; Cast: Olivia de Havilland, Mark Stevens, Leo Genn, Celeste Holm

the_snake_pit_1948The Snake Pit stars Olivia de Havilland as Virgina, a young woman who finds herself in an insane asylum, with virtually no memory of her previous life. Over the course of her treatment, and the length of the film, she undergoes a variety of treatments, including psychotherapy which eventually restores her memory and uncovers the reasons underlying her condition. The film provides a serious but optimistic outlook on the treatment of mental illness which has rarely been attempted in cinema. De Havilland’s performance as Virginia is outstanding as is the depiction of the various wards and the many patients which provide a frightening backdrop to this engaging story (Klaus Ming December 2009).


2 comments on “The Snake Pit (1948)

  1. movie guy steve

    I like that this film doesn’t pull punches. We’re supposed to be sympathetic to Virginia’s plight, and we are, but it becomes evident several times that Virginia is…well…really really crazy. It’s easy to be compassionate toward her and also be a bit terrified of her, a tough combination pulled off brilliantly.

    • Klaus

      Definitely a surprising movie considering the year it was made! And one of De Havilland’s best performances.

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This entry was posted on 12/27/2009 by in 1001 List, 1940s, All and tagged .
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