Tags

, , ,

 Olivia de Havilland, The Snake Pit (1948)

“The Snake Pit” is certainly one of the greatest movies ever made on the subject of psychiatry. Even if the ideal actress to play the leading role would have been Vivien Leigh (who confronted herself some serious mental problems), Olivia de Havilland, nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress, was equally fit for the part. The film provides a detailed view on the life in a sanitarium. “The Snake Pit” is also one of the few Hollywood motion pictures that emphasize not only the leading actors, but also the supporting actors. Directed by the talented Anatole Litvak, “The Snake Pit” is a unique experience for any movie goer, and its impact reminds me of “Suddenly, Last Summer”. Through this movie you will get to understand the causes of the mental problems that one has in life; it also conveys an important message: that the way we relate to our family in childhood and the way we are brought up by our parents affects our later lives and our relationships to other people. An unhappy childhood, a family tragedy, an unsuitable behaviour of the parents a.s.o. are quite often the causes of mental disorders. It takes a very good doctor to cure a patient who can no longer have normal contacts with the exterior world, because his conscience and inner thoughts and feeling won’t let him be. I highly recommend you to watch “The Snake Pit”, winner of an Academy Award for Best Sound, and nominated for 5 Oscars, for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Director, Best Music (a wonderful musical score by Alfred Newman), and Best Screenplay. The film consists of many iconic scenes featuring Olivia de Havilland, but perhaps the most powerful image is the one that creates the illusion of a “snake pit” out of a sanitarium, where dozens and dozens of sick men and women are living altogether in a rather small space, with slight chances to escape. A sanitarium is much worse than a hospital; it’s like a prison, and those who don’t respect the rules and don’t behave themselves receive shock treatments (ECTs) and hot baths to come back to their senses. As I said, “The Snake Pit” is one of those great films that remain in your mind for ever and you should certainly watch it at least once in your life.

Olivia de Havilland, The Snake Pit (1948)

Advertisements