7.7/10
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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

The Committee of American Psychologists praised the picture for "awakening the public to the deplorable conditions existing in public institutions for the mentally ill" and gave it an award for "outstanding contribution by the entertainment industry to the field of mental health." In addition, the California Citizens Committee for Mental Hygiene gave the film a scroll, honouring it for awakening "millions to a greater knowledge and appreciation of the causes of mental illness." 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

Celia Sommerville: And we're so crowded already. I just don't know where it's all gonna end!
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: I'll tell you where it's gonna end, Miss Somerville... When there are more sick ones than well ones, the sick ones will lock the well ones up.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Backstory: Gentleman's Agreement (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh! You Beautiful Doll
(1911) (uncredited)
Music by Nat Ayer
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
ANOTHER OUTSTANDING FOX CLASSIC DVD
3 June 2004 | by See all my reviews

With their June 2004 release of THE SNAKE PIT on DVD, 20th Century Fox has added another winner to the "Studio Classics" series. Number 19 (20 if you count F. W. Murnau's SUNRISE)proves to be another example of the strong, dramatic material that Fox often put out under the helm of Darryl F. Zanuck during the 1940s. GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT, ALL ABOUT EVEN, HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, THE OX-BOW INCIDENT and THE GRAPES OF WRATH are six examples of Fox quality drama that have previously received the "Studio Classic" treatment.

THE SNAKE PIT (1948) tells the story of a young woman suffering from a nervous breakdown, her confinement in a mental institution of the day, and her struggle for recovery through the efforts of a caring doctor (Leo Genn) and loving husband (Mark Stevens). Olivia de Havilland as the mentally ill woman, gives one of the finest performances of her career. If she hadn't received the Academy Award two years previously (1946)for TO EACH HIS OWN, she most likely would have taken the 1948 Best Actress Oscar over Jane Wyman fine performance as JOHNNY BELINDA. I would say that THE SNAKE PIT along with her performance in William Wyler's (1949) film, THE HEIRESS (for which she won a second Oscar), represent the two finest performances of her entire career. Anatole Livak's strong direction brings to life an outstanding screenplay. The film was certainly worthy of the six Academy Award nominations that it received, including one for Best Picture. If you enjoy strong drama with outstanding performances, then you will want to include THE SNAKE PIT in your DVD collection.


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