4 user 4 critic

Olivia (1951)

1:37 | Trailer
Olivia, an English teenager, arrives at a finishing school in France. The majority of the pupils in the school are divided into two camps: those that are devoted to the headmistress, Mlle ... See full summary »


Jacqueline Audry


Colette Audry (adaptation), Dorothy Bussy (novel) (as Olivia) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »



Learn more

More Like This 

Céline (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

At 22, Céline receives several shocks: her father dies and she learns she was adopted; she rejects her inheritance, so her fiancé jilts her. She's suicidal. A nurse sees her weeping in ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Claude Brisseau
Stars: Isabelle Pasco, María Luisa García, Danièle Lebrun
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Six people travel in a railroad sleeping car from Marseilles to Paris. Upon their arrival, a woman is found dead in one of the berths. The police investigate the other five passengers, ... See full summary »

Director: Costa-Gavras
Stars: Catherine Allégret, Jacques Perrin, Simone Signoret
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When Algernon discovers that his friend, Ernest, has created a fictional brother for whenever he needs a reason to escape dull country life, Algernon poses as the brother, resulting in ever increasing confusion.

Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Richard Wattis, Michael Denison
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

This art film has no conventional dialog between the main characters. This tells a strangely compelling story of two women in a suburban home who are listening to radio news broadcasts about a missing child in their area.

Director: Marguerite Duras
Stars: Lucia Bosé, Jeanne Moreau, Gérard Depardieu
Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A woman risks losing her chance of happiness with the only man she has ever loved.

Director: Terence Davies
Stars: Gillian Anderson, Dan Aykroyd, Eleanor Bron
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Walter is told by his boss, Sara, to deliver an urgent letter to Henri de Corinthe. On the way he finds a beautiful woman he had been eying in a nightclub, lying in the road, bound up. He ... See full summary »

Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Stars: Daniel Mesguich, Cyrielle Clair, Daniel Emilfork
L'Innocente (1976)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Tullio Hermil is a chauvinist aristocrat who flaunts his mistress to his wife, but when he believes she has been unfaithful he becomes enamored of her again.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Giancarlo Giannini, Laura Antonelli, Jennifer O'Neill
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Reluctantly, a sulky adolescent returns to her parents' house for yet another boring summer vacation, dabbling in desire and the art of desirability, eventually mixing reality with vision, caged fantasies with the fierce female sexuality.

Director: Catherine Breillat
Stars: Charlotte Alexandra, Hiram Keller, Rita Maiden
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A watch salesman meets a young woman soon leaving for Paris and becomes infatuated, so he begins to change all the clocks in Taipei to Paris time.

Director: Ming-liang Tsai
Stars: Kang-sheng Lee, Shiang-chyi Chen, Yi-Ching Lu
Sunset Song (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The daughter of a Scottish farmer comes of age in the early 1900s.

Director: Terence Davies
Stars: Ken Blackburn, Mark Bonnar, Stuart Bowman
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The intertwined lives of two women in 1970s France, set against the progress of the women's movement in which Agnes Varda was involved. Pomme and Suzanne meet when Pomme helps Suzanne ... See full summary »

Director: Agnès Varda
Stars: Thérèse Liotard, Valérie Mairesse, Robert Dadiès
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young boy follows Tashiro home to his tenement housing complex on the outskirts of Tokyo, the boy who was separated from his carpenter father somehow and somewhere in Kudan. All Tashiro ... See full summary »

Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Stars: Chôko Iida, Hôhi Aoki, Eitarô Ozawa


Cast overview, first billed only:
Edwige Feuillère ... Mlle. Julie
Simone Simon ... Mlle. Cara
Marie-Claire Olivia Marie-Claire Olivia ... Olivia Dealey (as Claire Olivia)
Yvonne de Bray Yvonne de Bray ... Victoire
Suzanne Dehelly Suzanne Dehelly ... Mlle. Dubois
Marina de Berg Marina de Berg ... Mimi
Lesly Meynard Lesly Meynard ... Frau Riesener
Rina Rhéty Rina Rhéty ... Signorina (as Rita Roanda)
Tania Soucault Tania Soucault ... Georgie
Elly Claus Elly Claus ... Laura (as Elly Overzier)
Nadine Olivier Nadine Olivier ... Cécile
Sophie Mallet Sophie Mallet
Hélène Rémy
Michèle Monty Michèle Monty
Ludmilla Hols Ludmilla Hols ... (as Ludmilia Hols)


Olivia, an English teenager, arrives at a finishing school in France. The majority of the pupils in the school are divided into two camps: those that are devoted to the headmistress, Mlle Julie and those who follow Mlle Cara, an emotionally manipulative invalid who is obsessed with Mlle Julie.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Secrets of a Woman's Love-Starved Soul! See more »




See all certifications »






Release Date:

27 April 1951 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Pit of Loneliness See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Memnon Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Mlle. Julie: Everything will be alright, Olivia. Our God is not as exacting as that of Miss Stock.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Stark times
30 May 2019 | by jromanbakerSee all my reviews

This film, based on Dorothy Bussy's short novel, appeared on the screens when homosexuality was almost as taboo in the cinema as everywhere else in our so called civilized world. But at least France made it-and by a great female director who understood Sartre's play 'Huis Clos' better than almost any stage director. There is a lesbian character in 'Huis Clos' and arguably the lesbianism is more explicit in Sartre's play than in 'Olivia'. But ... Hell is going down in a lift to Hell? Even Sartre did not think of that incredible detail!

I am giving away no spoilers in this review, only to urge those who can, to see this film. It is set in a girl's school. Although no one could classify Simone Simon straight out of 'La Ronde' as a girl-they are young women. The acting is superb all round, and the images and dialogue perfect.

So why is this film hidden away? Why no DVD and only a long lost VHS tape to be found if you are lucky on Ebay? I have the video and have treasured it for years. And why the dreadful title 'The Pit of Loneliness', except to tempt and to suggest to people that this is all about 'perversion'? Trust America to do that at the height of homophobia back in the early 1950s! England at least released it with the title 'Olivia' but the film soon disappeared, lost in double feature programmes.

Such stark times should be behind us, but for some reason this classic is not deemed worthy of respect. There are no sexual acts in the film. It is an examination of feelings. In 2019 it should no longer be put into the darkest corner of cinema history. Perhaps, after all, these are still stark times.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 4 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed