Sonntag, 8. April 2012

The Snake Pit (Dmytryk, 1948) #DTC 612

A woman with a personality disorder experiences the different stages of hell in an asylum.

The idea for the film was quite striking, and the first scene impressive: A woman comes to her senses in an asylum and has not slightest idea how she got there. After a while the movie reveals the bigger picture: She has been a patient for a while and she is desperately trying to suppress one or many memories of her childhood. Unfortunately, I lost the film completely when it tried to "explain" the whole problem - it even had an educational feel to it. Maybe, in regard of the public opinion on mental illness that was a prerogative to spring such a film on an unsuspecting audience.

Olivia de Havilland was quite impressive as the disturbed wife of the faithful, but shaken husband - although I felt that her personal development was not continuous and the resolution is rather swift. The story postulates that she had to lose her crush on her doctor to be healed was a bit too much for me. But especially her descend into the maddening aspect of her sickness was convincing and interesting to watch.

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