7.6/10
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The Snake Pit (1948)

Approved | | Drama, Mystery | 13 November 1948 (USA)
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A detailed chronicle of a woman during her stay in a mental institution.

Director:

Anatole Litvak

Writers:

Frank Partos (screen play), Millen Brand (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Olivia de Havilland ... Virginia Stuart Cunningham
Mark Stevens ... Robert Cunningham
Leo Genn ... Dr. Mark Kik
Celeste Holm ... Grace
Glenn Langan ... Dr. Terry
Helen Craig Helen Craig ... Nurse Davis
Leif Erickson ... Gordon
Beulah Bondi ... Mrs. Greer
Lee Patrick ... Asylum Inmate
Howard Freeman ... Dr. Curtis
Natalie Schafer ... Mrs. Stuart
Ruth Donnelly ... Ruth
Katherine Locke Katherine Locke ... Margaret
Frank Conroy ... Dr. Jonathan Gifford
Minna Gombell ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

13 November 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Schlangengrube See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$10,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The New York Film Critics awarded Olivia de Havilland Best Actress for the film. It was the first time since the awards' inception in 1935 that a performer won unanimously. And, as of 2014, the only time. See more »

Goofs

When Virginia rushes into a vacant room in the sanitarium to hide, she slams the door causing the door-frame and adjoining wall to shake visibly. See more »

Quotes

Virginia Stuart Cunningham: It was strange, here I was among all those people, and at the same time I felt as if I were looking at them from some place far away, the whole place seemed to me like a deep hole and the people down in it like strange animals, like... like snakes, and I've been thrown into it... yes... as though... as though I were in a snake pit...
Doctor Mark Kik: A snake pit?
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: Later, weeks later, I understood. I remembered once reading in a book that long ago they used to put insane people into pits full of snakes. I think ...
[...]
See more »


Soundtracks

Sweet Georgia Brown
(1925) (uncredited)
Music by Maceo Pinkard and Ben Bernie
Lyrics by Kenneth Casey
Sung a cappella and danced by Bee Humphries in the recreation area
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A difficult subject treated & acted brilliantly.
2 July 2004 | by dougandwinSee all my reviews

Firstly I must say that I still find it hard to believe that Olivia de Havilland did not win the Academy Award for her performance in this film. It was a tour-de-force achievement by her in what was an extremely demanding and difficult role. As Virginia Cunningham, she had to go through many stages of depression, temporary loss of sanity, learning of her horrible environment, and gradual recovery - and each of these phases was performed with sheer brilliance and has been underrated by the critics in many cases. The supporting cast of Mark Stevens, Celeste Holm and Leo Genn were excellent but certainly were over-shadowed by the star. The scene where all the patients were at the dance, and an inmate sang "Going Home" was extremely poignant. For this film to be made at that time was a triumph for Darryl F. Zanuck.


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