7.7/10
5,413
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 »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Grace
...
Helen Craig ...
...
Gordon
...
...
Asylum Inmate
...
...
Mrs. Stuart
...
Ruth
Katherine Locke ...
Margaret
Frank Conroy ...
...
Miss Hart
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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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 November 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Schlangengrube  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$10,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

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

Miss Greene: You get off the rug, Virginia Cunningham! Come on! Come on! Get off of there! I've told you a dozen times we do not walk on our rug.
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: Why not?
Miss Greene: Because we don't! Understand? We're the only ward that has a rug. It's new, I mean it's clean, and we mean to keep it that way.
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: Why don't you hang it on the wall?
Miss Greene: Your wisecracks might have been appreciated in other wards, but in 12 they don't go over.
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: Is this 12?
Miss Greene: And what did you think it was? One?
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: How long have I been here?
Miss Greene: Too long.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Toy Story 2 (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Some Sunday Morning
(1945) (uncredited)
Music by M.K. Jerome and Ray Heindorf
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 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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