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.
Olivia de Havilland,
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 <email@example.com>
In an interview, Olivia de Havilland described her research: "I met a young woman who was very much like Virginia...a schizophrenic with guilt problems. She had developed...a warm rapport with her doctor, but what struck me most of all was the fact that she was rather likable and appealing...it was that that gave me the key to the performance." See more »
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 »
As groundbreaking as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
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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