A bloated and simplistic psychoanalytic tract about how women can find it so very very difficult to make sense of the difference between fathers and husbands (those being their only possible relationships to men). I still want to know what the Head Nurse's problem was (other than, of course, being a woman and therefore bound for the same hysterical end as the previous head nurse).
Hollywoods first real attempt to address mental illness head on, is quite successful. Probably the best of its kind until later films like One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. De Havilland is great. I just love her body of work. The only weak link in the film imo was the doctor, who played the character a bit too Dr. Kildare for someone working in an institution. One not to be missed. Solid 4 stars
Notice how many character actresses from the Thirties are inmates in the asylum--Lee Patrick, Ruth Donnelly, Beulah Bondi, Minna Gombell, Ann Doran, Queenie Smith, Isabel Jewell, etc. They all talk so fast they practically sing. It is an opera consisting of their different styles or mannerisms pushed to the extreme. This alone makes it an entertaining, if dubious, study of insanity.
The film never asks why there are so many neurotic people in the American society of the 40's, a theme that could have been very interesting to handle. And, above all, why doesn't anybody take an interest in Betsy Blair ? The girls seems to have a BIG problem and would have deserved a movie dedicated to her own case. Highly recommended.
One of the best films ever made about mental illness and that's a pretty impressively hefty list. Olivia deHavilland has rarely been better. I was appalled by the barbaric practices of the mental hospital where deHavilland's character resides but that may have been the point: sweeping changes in the conditions of mental institutions across the U.S. were made shortly after the film's release. A stunner.