The story tells of a young woman admitting to having blackouts, fearing they are getting worse. She is diagnosed as suffering from multiple personalities, as a result of severe abuse at the hands of her mother, whom her psychiatrist, Cornelia Wilbur, believes was schizophrenic. The movie Sibyl is based upon author Flora Rheta Schreiber's biography of Shirley Ardell Mason, an American psychiatric patient, suffering from multiple personality disorder. The book, also called Sibyl, was in its turn based largely on the actual accounts of psychiatric treatment that Shirley Ardell Mason underwent, documented by American psychiatrist Cornelia WilburWritten by
Joanne Woodward, who plays the Doctor, starred in another famous film about multiple personalities, The Three Faces of Eve (1957) where she starred as the titular Eve. However, unlike Sybil, she had only a trio of personalities. See more »
Although Sybil was actually in therapy with Dr. Wilbur for almost ten years or so (a fact mentioned in film), entire movie (except flashbacks) appears to take place in 1976 (year movie with shot) with no one aging, contemporary clothes, fashions, hairstyles, etc. See more »
His hair is crisp... crisp? I never noticed that. All these years I've never noticed that. Lettuce is crisp.
[takes a head of lettuce from the refrigerator]
Lettuce head, go to bed, your nose is red, your name is Fred, I'll kill you dead!
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The 30th anniversary DVD edition of Sybil was released in July. As Shirley Mason's (aka Sybil)long time friend, I was included in the documentary about the making of the movie. The documentary is a fascinating recap of how the movie was cast and how it came to be. However, I was disappointed that Shirley Mason is not mentioned anywhere in the documentary, and her name is not even shown on her paintings in the gallery. Shirley was a person to me, not a fictional character. I was told that her name couldn't be mentioned because of contractual agreements with the author of the book. Shirley Mason WAS Sybil and her life as an artist in Kentucky should not be minimized. Since Sybil is a story of abuse, but also one of recovery, I feel my friend was denied the recognition she deserves as a survivor of abuse, as a wonderful artist, as a warm, kind lady who lived a quiet life of dignity in Lexington. If and when my book, Life After Sybil... From the Words of Shirley Mason, gets published, I intend to correct that omission. Regards, Sybil's Friend ... Nancy Preston
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