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Olivia

France, French, 88 mins

Original Title

The Pit of Loneliness
  • Director: Jacqueline Audry
  • Writer: Pierre Laroche

CGiii Comment

A school for young ladies, run by two lesbians and staffed by a few others. One is a high-maintenance, hypochondriac harridan, the other a proficient, pragmatic grooming child-abuser.

It's shocking stuff even by today's standards...

There's a smidgen of comedy downstairs - in the kitchen - between the cook and the ravenous math teacher...but, upstairs, it's a totally different kettle of fish!

Were young ladies really this obtuse? Hopefully, times have changed!!!


Watch...

The(ir) Blurb...

Olivia, an English teenager, arrives at a finishing school in France. The majority of the pupils in the school are divided into two camps: those that are devoted to the headmistress, Mlle Julie and those who follow Mlle Cara, an emotionally manipulative invalid who is obsessed with Mlle Julie.


“Scripted by Colette, Olivia offered hothouse lesbian passion in an upper class French girls’ school,” wrote Vito Russo in The Celluloid Closet, his classic account of homosexuality and cinema. “It was a perfect ‘shadow people’ film for the Fifties. It featured dark doings in school corridors and ended in the obligatory tragic circumstances. American censors assured the delicacy of treatment for which Pit of Loneliness was touted. One censor’s notation read: ‘Eliminate in Reel 5D: Scene of Miss Julie holding Olivia in close embrace and kissing her on the mouth. Reason: Immoral, would tend to corrupt morals.’”

Cast & Characters

Edwige Feuillere as Mlle. Julie;
Simone Simon as Mlle. Cara;
Marie-Claire Olivia as Olivia Dealey;
Yvonne de Bray as Victoire;
Suzanne Dehelly as Mlle. Dubois;
Marina de Berg as Mimi;
Lesly Meynard as Frau Riesener;
Daniele Delorme as Une ancienne eleve;
Rina Rhety as Signorina;
Tania Soucault as Georgie;
Elly Norden as Laura;
Nadine Olivier as Cecile;
Sophie Mallet;
Helene Remy;
Michele Monty

From the same director:

No Exit

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