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The Snake Pit Overview:

The Snake Pit (1948) was a Drama - Black-and-white Film directed by Anatole Litvak and produced by Robert Bassler, Darryl F. Zanuck and Anatole Litvak.

Academy Awards 1948 --- Ceremony Number 21 (source: AMPAS)

AwardRecipientResult
Best ActressOlivia de HavillandNominated
Best DirectorAnatole LitvakNominated
Best Music - ScoringAlfred NewmanNominated
Best Picture20th Century-FoxNominated
Best WritingFrank Partos, Millen BrandNominated
.

BlogHub Articles:

Exploring Olivia de Havilland’s Performance in ‘The Snake Pit’ (1948)

By Virginie Pronovost on Jul 1, 2018 From The Wonderful World of Cinema

Today, the legendary Olivia de Havilland is turning 102 years old! What a victory! For a third consecutive year, Crystal from In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Laura from Phyllis Loves Classic Movies are hosting the Annual Olivia de Havilland Blogathon. I’m happy to take part in th... Read full article


Screening of “The Snake Pit” at Daystar Center September 12

By Stephen Reginald on Sep 1, 2017 From Classic Movie Man

Screening of “The Snake Pit” at Daystar Center September 12 “Classic Movie Man Favorites” Series: The Snake Pit (1948) Where: Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street When: September 12, 2017 Time: 6:30 p.m. Hosted by Stephen Reginald The Snake Pit (1948) stars two-time Bes... Read full article


The Snake Pit (1948)

By 4 Star Film Fan on Jan 24, 2017 From 4 Star Films

There is a lineage of psychological dramas most notably including the likes of Shock Corridor and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. But one of their primary predecessors was The Snake Pit which is a haunting, inscrutable and thought-provoking film in its own right. But rather than trying to sum it up ... Read full article


The Snake Pit (1948)

By 4 Star Film Fan on Jan 24, 2017 From 4 Star Films

There is a lineage of psychological dramas most notably including the likes of Shock Corridor and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. But one of their primary predecessors was The Snake Pit which is a haunting, inscrutable and thought-provoking film in its own right. But rather than trying to sum it up ... Read full article


1001 Classic Movies: The Snake Pit

By Amanda Garrett on Jul 19, 2016 From Old Hollywood Films

The Snake Pit (1948), starring Olivia de Havilland, is one of the 1001 classic movies you should see. Each Monday, I'm going to recommend a classic movie you should see (for the reasons behind the 1001 series and reviews of earlier films covered go here). Old Hollywood legend Olivia de Havilland ... Read full article


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Quotes from

Mrs. Greer: Good afternoon, my dear. I don't think I've had the pleasure of seeing you here before.
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: I'm Virginia Cunningham. I came from Five.
Mrs. Greer: Nobody comes to One from Five. Even I had to spend a few days in Two before coming here. And I, my dear, have money.
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: That must be convenient.
Mrs. Greer: My husband, Mr. Greer, is very wealthy. I have more jewels than I can possibly wear. You, of course, are a charity patient?
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: Oh, no. It so happens that my husband, Mr. Cunningham, is very wealthy. My diamonds simply weigh me down.
Mrs. Greer: I have the Hope Diamond!
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: I have the Hopeless Emerald! It carries the Cunningham curse. You've probably read about it.
Mrs. Greer: Mr. Greer...
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: Your husband?
Mrs. Greer: Mr. Greer, my husband, considered buying it, but it has a flaw. You see, you can't put an imperfect stone on the most beautiful hands in the world.


Virginia Stuart Cunningham: 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...
Doctor Mark Kik: A snake pit?
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: Later, weeks later, I understood. I remembered once reading in a book that long ago they used to put insane people into pits full of snakes. I think they figured that something which might drive a normal person insane, might shock an insane person back into sanity. Did you ever hear of that?
Doctor Mark Kik: Yes.
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: Well, it was just as though they'd thrown me into a snake pit. And I was shocked into thinking that maybe I wasn't as sick as the others... and I really might get well.


Celia Sommerville: And we're so crowded already. I just don't know where it's all gonna end!
Virginia Stuart Cunningham: I'll tell you where it's gonna end, Miss Somerville... When there are more sick ones than well ones, the sick ones will lock the well ones up.


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Facts about

In his autobiography, writer Arthur Laurents said that he had been hired by director Anatole Litvak to rewrite the first draft of the screenplay by Frank Partos and Millen Brand, which he did. Partos and Brand wanted the WGA to rule that they were the only writers and to delete Laurents' credit, so they submitted the script to an arbitration and presented carbon copies of Laurents' work as their own. The WGA removed Laurents' credit, even though several years later, Brand admitted to Laurents that he and Partos had created forged carbons to make Laurents' work look like theirs.
Director Anatole Litvak insisted that the cast and crew spend three months visiting mental institutions and attending psychiatric lectures to prepare themselves for the film. Olivia de Havilland willingly threw herself into the research. She attended patient treatments at the institutions, and observed electric shock therapy and hydrotherapy first-hand. When permitted, she sat in on doctor-patient therapy sessions. She also attended social events for patients at the institutions. After seeing the film, a "Daily Variety" columnist questioned whether any mental institution would really allow violent inmates to dance with each other at a social event. De Havilland personally called the columnist to confirm that she had attended several such dances at institutions.
The British censor insisted on a foreword explaining that everyone in the film was an actor and that conditions in British mental hospitals were unlike those depicted.
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Best Picture Oscar 1948






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Also directed by Anatole Litvak




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Also produced by Robert Bassler




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Also released in 1948




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