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The Snake Pit [DVD] [1948]

Olivia de Havilland , Mark Stevens , Anatole Litvak    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: 8.84 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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The Snake Pit [DVD] [1948] + The Dark Mirror [DVD][1946] + The Spiral Staircase [DVD] [1945]
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Product details

  • Actors: Olivia de Havilland, Mark Stevens, Leo Genn, Celeste Holm, Glenn Langan
  • Directors: Anatole Litvak
  • Producers: Anatole Litvak, Robert Bassler
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Aug 2004
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002HSDZ0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,862 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Oscar-winning 1948 drama about mental illness, hailed on its release as brave and groundbreaking. Olivia de Havilland stars as Virginia Cunningham, a young woman with an outwardly normal life, married to a loyal, kind husband, Robert (Mark Stevens). When Virginia's behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, her husband seeks professional help, and Virginia is referred to the state mental institution, a harsh, overcrowded hospital where residents who do not agree to 'realign their thinking' are threatened with the 'snake pit', an open ward to which the most severe cases are consigned. The story is told in flashback as Virginia, who on her arrival at the asylum cannot remember how she came to be there, gradually recounts her sad tale to the one compassionate member of staff in the place, psychiatrist Dr Mark Kick (Leo Glenn).

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good performance from Olivia de Havilland 16 Sep 2004
By Miguel M. Santos VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
Although Olivia de Havilland is probably best known as Melanie from Gone with the Wind and as the love interest of Errol Flynn in many of his films, she was a quite capable actress as this film shows. Virginia Cunningham (de Havilland) suddenly realises that she is a psychiatric ward of a hospital with no recollection of how or why she got there. We join her as she has her ups and downs in her recovery, trying to figure out why she's there. The film is a good one but is not perfect. It really lives out the performance of its leading lady and a good script - and there are some hidden gems in the dialogue which you can't help laugh at. The DVD shows an impressive copy for a 1948 film, but the sound although ok didn't impress me that much. Still is worth your money if you like classic films, Olivia de Havilland or simply want to enjoy a good film.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The snake pit 5 Feb 2009
Format:DVD
I never thought I would be able to get hold of this DVD, fantastic! Early psychiatric film really interesting to those interested in the history of mental illness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
When there are more sick ones than well ones, the sick ones will lock the well ones up.

The Snake Pit is directed by Anatole Litvak and adapted to screenplay by Frank Partos, Millen Brand and Arthur Laurents from the novel written by Mary Jane Ward. It stars Olivia de Havilland, Mark Stevens, Leo Genn, Celeste Holm, Glenn Langan, Helen Craig, Leif Erickson and Beulah Bondi. Music is by Alfred Newman and cinematography by Leo Tover.

Olivia de Havilland plays Virginia Stuart Cunningham, and film chronicles Virgina's time and treatment in the Juniper Hill Mental Institution.

"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..."

It's still today one of the most potent and important screen explorations of mental illness and its treatment. Backed by an astonishing performance by de Havilland, Litvak and an initially sceptical Darryl F. Zanuck (20th Century Fox supremo), led the way in bringing to the masses the subject and to treat it with stark realism. Quite often it's harrowing as entertainment, with Virgina's fractured mind laid bare under duress of treatments now seen as antiquated.

It's true enough to say that some of the story features simplistic motives and means, these come as a product of the time the picture was made. But with Litvak (Sorry, Wrong Number) and his principal crew members researching the subject thoroughly, the end result is an incredible blend of dramatic heartfelt suspense and rays of humanistic hope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad, but without sentimentality. 26 Aug 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I see from the reviews so far that there is only one award of five stars. How can one make a thorough assessment of this film without a background knowledge in mental health? I could refer to my own career when, as a student, I worked my vacations in various hospitals as orderly, porter, and theatre technician. A very close friend did likewise, spending six weeks as a cleaner in a mental hospital (now closed) that was well known to me from the outside, its gaunt towers breaking the horizon as seen from the playingfield where we children attempted a normal childhood in the suburbs of Greater London during WW2. What I am really trying to say is that one's experience in any environment will depend upon the perspective from which one makes their observations. I worked in eleven different hospital establishments in the 1950/60s, no two were remotely alike.

In this film (from 1948) which is not for the weak of heart, de Havilland plays the part of a mentally deranged young lady (Virginia Cunningham) who, having reached a crisis point in her life, is consigned to an institution for the mentally sick. Her treatment there is mainly in the hands of Dr. Mark Kik, played with measured calm by Leo Genn. As in "Green for Danger", Genn is portrayed (though lower key here) as an obvious target for female infatuation. Only at the very end of the film does de Havvialnd indicate she had been in love with the man. But now, of course, it doesn't matter for she is on the point of release from the institution and to be reunited with her devoted husband (Robert Cunningham, played by Mark Stevens) waiting for her outside the building.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Olivia de Havilland Show 2 Sep 2004
By Miguel M. Santos VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
Although Olivia de Havilland is probably best known as Melanie from Gone with the Wind and as the love interest of Errol Flynn in many of his films, she was a quite capable actress as this film shows. Virginia Cunningham (de Havilland) suddenly realises that she is a psychiatric ward of a hospital with no recollection of how or why she got there. We join her as she has her ups and downs in her recovery, trying to figure out why she's there. The film is a good one but is not perfect. It really lives out the performance of its leading lady and a good script - and there are some hidden gems in the dialogue which you can't help laugh at. The DVD shows an great copy for a 1948 film, but the sound although ok didn't impress me that much. Still is worth your money if you like classic films, Olivia de Havilland or simply want to enjoy a good film.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars happy customer. patrick fay
splendid delivery,happy customer.patrick fay
Published 19 days ago by Patrick F.
4.0 out of 5 stars Mental health care
One of film making classics. An interesting insight into insanity and the care of mentally ill patients in the 1940s.
Published 18 months ago by P K Acornley
5.0 out of 5 stars snake Pit
excellent film about a woman that is mentally disturbed Olivia DeHavilland plays an excellent part in Snake pit - she was also Oscar Nominated
Published 19 months ago by abbaman
3.0 out of 5 stars Freud fails again
Virginia (Olivia de Havilland) finds herself in a mental institution. Dr Kik (Leo Genn) takes on her case and tries to help her recover with the help of her husband Robert (Mark... Read more
Published on 20 April 2011 by Alex da Silva
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
At first I thought, I am not sure I can watch this regularly, but as the film went on and then it ended, I have decided it is a good film and worth keeping to watch again. Read more
Published on 8 Jan 2011 by Marianna
4.0 out of 5 stars positive nostalgia
I am a retired nurse and was pleased to find this film was still available,and in dvd form.I am glad to be reminded of how far mental health care has progressed,and if I feel in a... Read more
Published on 28 Oct 2010 by grey snail
4.0 out of 5 stars flawed goody
interesting little movie and apart from some somewhat dubious depictions of mentally disturbed patients (to modern eyes)for its period a good film. Read more
Published on 5 July 2010 by R. Poole
3.0 out of 5 stars No forked tongue
De Havilland famously remarked that it was harder to play 'nice' girls and is most often associated with the Melanies and Maid Marians. Read more
Published on 19 Nov 2009 by Shmorganzola
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