Sunday, 26 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 199: Mon Jul 18

The Snake Pit (Livak, 1948): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Olivia de Havilland season at BFI Southbank. Full details here. This film is also being shown on July 26th. Full details here.

BFI introduction:
Olivia de Havilland’s most demanding role was transforming her glamorous self into the gaunt young protagonist of this chilling drama – Hollywood’s first serious chronicle of mental illness. She spent three months visiting mental institutions to develop this authentic depiction of schizophrenia. Her performance in the film compelled 26 states in America to improve conditions and treatment in their mental hospitals.

Chicago Reader review:
A woman (Olivia de Havilland) has a breakdown and winds up in a mental hospital in one of the first Hollywood pictures (1948) to deal seriously with the subject of insane asylums. The film was directed by Anatole Litvak, the story adapted by Frank Partos and Millen Brand from a novel by Mary Jane Ward. De Havilland didn't win the expected Oscar for her performance (it went to Jane Wyman for her role as a deaf-mute in Johnny Belinda), but (if memory serves) this grim drama packs a punch. With Mark Stevens, Leo Genn, Celeste Holm, and Beulah Bondi.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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