The Snake Pit

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Overrated at the time as a piece of mature and realistic cinema with a strong social conscience, this now works best as lurid melodrama. De Havilland pulls out the stops as the woman committed to a mental hospital; pronounced fit to leave before her consultant thinks she's ready, she soon returns in an even worse state, and enters the ward for the very seriously disturbed. The plea for better treatment might now seem rather muddled, given the film's advocacy of shock treatment; and the documentary-style footage inside the asylum merges poorly with the strong narrative. But it's entertaining enough in a hysterical sort of way, even if it never matches up to the excesses of Fuller's later Shock Corridor.

Release details

Duration: 108 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Anatole Litvak
Screenwriter: Frank Partos, Millen Brand
Cast: Olivia de Havilland
Mark Stevens
Leo Genn
Celeste Holm
Leif Erickson
Glenn Langan
Beulah Bondi
Lee Patrick
Isabel Jewell
Ruth Donnelly
Betsy Blair
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