Film with disturbed woman – probably from late 50s or 60s

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Just before Christmas in 1998, I stopped by a video store in Oslo. This was a store that specialized in selling “cult videos” and thus not an ordinary rental store. While I was looking at the selection on the shelves, a movie was played on the monitor in the store. I only got a brief glimpse of the film, but for some reason this made a huge impression on me and I have never managed to forget it. For several years I have tried to find out which film it was, but in vain. Well, this was in 1998 and before the time of the DVD. We are talking about a film that was released on VHS and thus this in itself should be limiting, as the number of films on video was considerably less than what it eventually came out on DVD.

Here is an attempt at a description of what I saw: The scene lasted for approx. 2-3 minutes. It started with a woman throwing herself back and forth, bends and curves up against a wall. Probably we were to be given the impression that she is in a form of trance, is under the influence of drugs, mentally unstable or something like that. The woman is typically “movie star good looking”. A bit like the Hitchcock type. Blond, long hair and a lush figure. This scene is accompanied by a strange mix of sound effects and music that gives an eerie mood. I’ve never heard anything like it. Then there is a change of scene and in the centre of this is several people talking together. It may seem that the woman is the subject of the conversation. One of the men who attracts the most attention – possibly a doctor / psychiatrist or police officer. The man is wearing a trench coat and hat. He looks like a typical “movie detective” almost in a somewhat parodic way. I think the movie was in black and white, but not quite sure. Guessing nationality is difficult too, as I can not remember which language was spoken. However, I will guess American. The film seemed elaborate and well made. Age of the film is also difficult to say anything about, but I would guess from the end of the 50’s with a margin of 10-15 years ahead in time. There was definitely no “hippie feel” to the film, which may indicate that it was made before 1969 or thereabouts. Well, that’s really all I have. I am grateful for any response.

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Thank you so much Al! I’ve never heard the term “Hagsploitation” before, but I’m pretty sure the film falls into this category. In any case, it is hardly “The snake pit”. The actress had few physical resemblances to Olivia de Havilland, rather an Elke Sommer / Jane Mansfield / Veronica Lake type. The film is also newer than 1948. I would assume around 1955 – 1965.
However, you have brought me closer to a solution and narrowed down the possibilities for me, and the search will now be a little easier.

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This sounds like a scene that could be from any number of what came to be called ” Hagsploitation ” genre. Around that time there were a number of films that featured seriously distressed women ( typically middle aged ) at the center of the plot. You might also want to look into films like “Snake Pit” and other movies from the 1950s and early 1960s that center around asylums.

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