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The Snake Pit (1948)

 -  Drama  -  13 November 1948 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 4,144 users  
Reviews: 62 user | 18 critic

A detailed chronicle of a woman during her stay in a mental institution.

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(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Snake Pit (1948)

The Snake Pit (1948) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mark Stevens ...
...
Dr. Mark Kik
...
Grace
Glenn Langan ...
Dr. Terry
Helen Craig ...
Nurse Davis
...
Gordon
...
Mrs. Greer
Lee Patrick ...
Asylum Inmate
...
Dr. Curtis
...
Mrs. Stuart
Ruth Donnelly ...
Ruth
Katherine Locke ...
Margaret
Frank Conroy ...
Dr. Jonathan Gifford
Minna Gombell ...
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

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stephen King has said that watching this film on TV as a child deeply disturbed him and made him feel that he could suddenly go insane, directly contributing to his macabre interests and subsequently his writings. 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 Movers & Shakers (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

I Can't Begin to Tell You
(1945) (uncredited)
Music by James V. Monaco
Played by the band at the dance
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
As groundbreaking as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
6 July 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The Snake Pit opened to deservedly rave reviews about the subject matter and Olivia DeHavilland's performance. She lost that year in the Oscar Sweepstakes to Jane Wyman's Johnny Belinda. That performance by Wyman was also groundbreaking and probably that and the fact that DeHavilland had won the year before for To Each His Own prevented her from copping the big prize that year. She did get the New York Film Critic's Award for The Snake Pit though.

Seeing her in the Snake Pit and the accolades she got must have been of great satisfaction to Olivia DeHavilland because of the fights she had to get roles other than a crinoline heroine.

In 1948 seeing stuff like electroshock was a real dose of reality to the movie going public. Today it's not used as much, back then it was new and considered a panacea for all that ails you.

I'm surprised that more reviewers haven't compared The Snake Pit to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Both were ground breaking films for their time and Jack Nicholson got his first Oscar for that. I guess the crazy act is always noticed by the Academy.

Leo Genn as Doctor "Kick" had one of the great speaking voices in the world. Besides DeHavilland, he's the best one in this. I can never tire of listening to him.

56 years later this film will still grab you and hold your attention.


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