Monday, October 1, 2012

208. The Snake Pit

The Snake Pit
Directed by Anatole Litvak

This weekend away from home totally kicked my ass and I am still trying to recover.  I also have like five movies to watch from the list which is just as important as the other work I have to do…right?

Well, we will just go with that hypothesis.  Anyway, movies that accurately describe the mental deterioration are rare.  We have Spellbound, Gaslight (kind of), and The Lost Weekend so far.  However, I think this is the best representation so far.  You don't get some sort of half assed Freudian explanation at the end.

In fact, Virginia, who is the woman that goes absolutely insane in this film, didn't feel like a crazy movie character at all.  She reminded me of someone like Sylvia Plath or Virginia Woolf.  She wasn't having a mental breakdown because her mother was controlling or anything like that.  She was just trapped in a loveless marriage in an era where she really couldn't do anything about it.

Olivia de Havilland, who we haven't seen in awhile, is absolutely incredible in this movie; you can tell she doesn't feel the need to be glamorous or hot in this movie.  Watch this but be prepared for some disturbing parts.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

There was an ancient practice of throwing insane people into a pit of snakes.  The theory was that since that would drive a normal person insane, it should work in reverse.  Wow.

Stephen King said that he used to watch this film on television which got him interesting in his own macabre writings.

Olivia de Havilland did extensive research for her role in this movie.

British censors made them put a foreword on the film that said that British mental institutions weren't actually like this.


  1. This movie was so chilling, I did not enjoy it. I can appreciate it as a good film but it kind of ruined my day!

  2. Absolutly .. a real day spoiler....

  3. IT really was but I adore Oliva de Havilland.

  4. Definitely worth a watch. This was a pretty scary asylum. If the patients were not crazy already they would soon enough become.