7.7/10
5,116
65 user 29 critic

The Snake Pit (1948)

Approved | | Drama, Mystery | 13 November 1948 (USA)
A detailed chronicle of a woman during her stay in a mental institution.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Heiress (1949)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A young naive woman falls for a handsome young man who her emotionally abusive father suspects is a fortune hunter.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An unwed mother, forced to give up her child to avoid scandal, follows her son's life from afar even as she prospers in business.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, John Lund, Mary Anderson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Stopped in Mexico by U.S. Immigration, Georges Iscovescu hopes to get into the country by marrying a citizen.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Charles Boyer, Olivia de Havilland, Paulette Goddard
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In post-war Cape Breton, a doctor's efforts to tutor a deaf/mute woman are undermined when she is raped, and the resulting pregnancy causes scandal to swirl.

Director: Jean Negulesco
Stars: Jane Wyman, Lew Ayres, Charles Bickford
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A young woman (Stanley Timberlake) dumps her fiancée (Craig Fleming) and runs off with her sister's (Roy Timberlake) husband (Peter Kingsmill). They marry, settle in Baltimore, and Stanley ... See full summary »

Director: John Huston
Stars: Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, George Brent
Mystery | Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young man plots revenge against the woman he believes murdered his cousin, but his plans are shaken when he comes face to face with the enigmatic beauty.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Richard Burton, Audrey Dalton
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A man is found murdered, with witnesses convinced about the woman they saw leaving his apartment. However, it becomes apparent that the woman has a twin, and finding out which one is the killer seems impossible.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Lew Ayres, Thomas Mitchell
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When lovely and virtuous governess Henriette Deluzy comes to educate the children of the debonair Duc de Praslin, a royal subject to King Louis-Philippe and the husband of the volatile and ... See full summary »

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Bette Davis, Charles Boyer, Jeffrey Lynn
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Quick tempered but likable Biff Grimes falls for beautiful Virginia Brush, but he is not the only young man in the neighborhood who is smitten with her.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Rita Hayworth
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An actor of the stage finds himself pursued by a lovestruck fan while trying to patch up a tempestuous relationship with his actress lover.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

While on the telephone, an invalid woman overhears what she thinks is a murder plot and attempts to prevent it.

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Ann Richards
The Search (1948)
Certificate: Passed Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In post-war Berlin, an American private helps a lost Czech boy find his mother.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Montgomery Clift, Ivan Jandl, Aline MacMahon
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Dr. Mark Kik
...
Grace
...
Dr. Terry
Helen Craig ...
Nurse Davis
...
Gordon
...
Mrs. Greer
...
Asylum Inmate
...
Dr. Curtis
...
Mrs. Stuart
...
Ruth
Katherine Locke ...
Margaret
Frank Conroy ...
Dr. Jonathan Gifford
...
Miss Hart
Edit

Storyline

Virginia Cunningham finds herself in a state insane asylum...and can't remember how she got there. In flashback, her husband Robert relates their courtship, marriage, and her developing symptoms. The asylum staff are not demonized, but fear, ignorance and regimentation keep Virginia in a state of misery, as pipesmoking Dr. Mark Kik struggles through wheels within wheels to find the root of her problem. Then a relapse plunges Virginia back into the harrowing 'Snake Pit'... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Married and in Love . . . with a Man She Didn't Know or Want!

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 November 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Schlangengrube  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In his autobiography, writer Arthur Laurents said that he had been hired by director Anatole Litvak to rewrite the first draft of the screenplay by Frank Partos and Millen Brand, which he did. Partos and Brand wanted the WGA to rule that they were the only writers and to delete Laurents' credit, so they submitted the script to an arbitration and presented carbon copies of Laurents' work as their own. The WGA removed Laurents' credit, even though several years later Brand admitted to Laurents that he and Partos had created forged carbons to make Laurents' work look like theirs. See more »

Goofs

After the young Virginia smashes the head of the soldier doll (that reminds her of her father) into several pieces, she is later seen carrying the unbroken doll on the night of her father's death. The intact doll again appears in the apartment that she lives in as an adult. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Greer: Good afternoon, my dear. I don't think I've had the pleasure of seeing you here before.
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: I'm Virginia Cunningham. I came from Five.
Mrs. Greer: Nobody comes to One from Five. Even I had to spend a few days in Two before coming here. And I, my dear, have money.
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: That must be convenient.
Mrs. Greer: My husband, Mr. Greer, is very wealthy. I have more jewels than I can possibly wear. You, of course, are a charity patient?
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: Oh, no. It so happens that my husband, Mr. Cunningham, is very wealthy. My diamonds simply weigh me ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Melrose Place: Postmortem Madness (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Goin' Home
(1922) (uncredited)
Music by Antonín Dvorák
from Second Movement (Largo) in Symphony No. 9 in E Minor "From the New World", Op. 95, B. 178 (1893)
Lyrics by William Arms Fisher (1922)
Sung by Jan Clayton and also played at the end
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Olivia De Havilland: actress extraordinaire!
4 March 2007 | by See all my reviews

Anatole Litvak 's interest in madness didn't begin with "the snake pit" In one of his thirties French movies,"Coeur de Lilas" ,one sequence depicted a person gone crazy and it was already impressive.

Some will say times have changed and the hospital which Litvak depicts is a thing of the past.Sure it is.But what could he have done?Just have a look at the scenes in an insane asylum in Mankiewicz ' s "Suddenly last Summer"(1959) or those in Georges Franju's "La Tete Contre les Murs"(1960)?A decade later ,mentally ill people were still regarded as monsters.That scene in "Suddenly..." where Elizabeth Taylor accidentally ends up with the raving mad women and which is not in the original Tennessee Williams' play was certainly influenced by "the snake pit" .Some will say the Freudian methods are childish and simplistic .They are for sure.But have a look at Gregory Peck's treatment in "Spellbound" (1945) or De Havilland's in "Dark Mirror" (1946).And I love all those movies I mention.60 years on.Think of it.People will not argue when they watch a school or a prison of long ago.That's why I do not understand the "It has not worn well" which too many critics (mostly European) use when they talk about Litvak's 1948 film.

One thing which has worn well is De Havilland's performance.After being Erroll Flynn's fiancée in (excellent) movies by Walsh or Curtiz ,she tackled much more ambitious parts after the war.She was never afraid to make herself ugly

or old ("the heiress" "hold back the dawn"),she and her peer Bette Davis were actresses ahead of their time ,not just pretty faces as too many contemporary actresses are today.It's no wonder if Davis named Meryl Streep "her successor" .

In "snake pit" De Havilland's acting should be studied by future actresses .She can express everything ,and the moments when she becomes a human wreck down in a "snake pit" (the snakes might be all those arms and hands)are the most impressive.


10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?