7.1/10
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4 user 4 critic

Olivia (1951)

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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 »

Director:

Jacqueline Audry

Writers:

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

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Cast

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)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

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

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Quotes

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


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