Frame of Mind: Psychiatry On-Screen

Frame of Mind: Psychiatry On-Screen

16 Episodes

How do you portray the complex inner workings of the human mind on-screen? It’s a challenge that has long tantalized filmmakers, as seen in this wide-ranging look at some of cinema’s most fascinating explorations of neuroses, psychoses, and the art and science of psychiatry. From pop-Freudian deconstructions of criminal psychology (THE DARK PAST, THE MARK) to immersions into the inner workings of psychiatric institutions (THE COBWEB, DAVID AND LISA) to explorations of the therapist-patient relationship both serious (PRESSURE POINT, ORDINARY PEOPLE) and satiric (THE PRESIDENT’S ANALYST, THE NINTH CONFIGURATION), these films reflect the increasingly nuanced representation of psychiatry in art as well as our evolving understanding of our own minds and selves.

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Frame of Mind: Psychiatry On-Screen
  • Frame of Mind Teaser

    Episode 1

  • Blind Alley

    Episode 2

    Directed by Charles Vidor • 1939 • United States
    Starring Chester Morris, Ralph Bellamy, Ann Dvorak

    One of the very first Hollywood films that could be described as a noir, this brisk psychological thriller stars Chester Morris as an inmate who escapes from prison and hides out in the home of a ...

  • Possessed

    Episode 3

    Directed by Curtis Bernhardt • 1947 • United States
    Starring Joan Crawford, Van Heflin, Raymond Massey

    Following her triumphant comeback in MILDRED PIERCE, Joan Crawford reteamed with producer Jerry Wald for this moody psychological noir-melodrama. Found wandering the streets of Los Angeles unab...

  • The Dark Past

    Episode 4

    Directed by Rudolph Maté • 1948 • United States
    Starring William Holden, Nina Foch, Lee J. Cobb

    The 1940s craze for pop-Freudian psychoanalysis stories yielded this suspenseful thriller, a remake of the 1939 film BLIND ALLEY. This version features an intense performance from William Holden as a ...

  • The Cobweb

    Episode 5

    Directed by Vincente Minnelli • 1955 • United States
    Starring Richard Widmark, Lauren Bacall, Charles Boyer

    Those darn drapes! A redecorating dispute over new window curtains has the staff of a posh psychiatric hospital acting more unhinged than the patients as professional and romantic tensions...

  • Autumn Leaves

    Episode 6

    Directed by Robert Aldrich • 1956 • United States
    Starring Joan Crawford, Cliff Robertson, Vera Miles

    Six years before WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?, Joan Crawford partnered with director Robert Aldrich for this delirious psychological melodrama. The director brings his edgy, Gothic sensibili...

  • The Mark

    Episode 7

    Directed by Guy Green • 1961 • United Kingdom
    Starring Maria Schell, Stuart Whitman, Rod Steiger

    This daring drama garnered significant controversy for its frank and complex handling of a taboo subject. After his release from prison on charges of intent to commit child molestation, Jim Fuller (a...

  • David and Lisa

    Episode 8

    Directed by Frank Perry • 1962 • United States
    Starring Keir Dullea, Janet Margolin, Howard Da Silva

    One of the first films to treat the issue of mental illness with sensitivity and compassion, this groundbreaking independent drama traces, with profound humanity, the relationship that develops b...

  • Pressure Point

    Episode 9

    Directed by Hubert Cornfield • 1962 • United States
    Starring Sidney Poitier, Bobby Darin, Peter Falk

    A young psychiatrist (Peter Falk), exasperated by his failed attempts to help a black patient who hates whites, asks to be reassigned. In a story told in flashback, his seasoned superior (Sidney ...

  • The President’s Analyst

    Episode 10

    Directed by Theodore J. Flicker • 1967 • United States
    Starring James Coburn, Godfrey Cambridge, Severn Darden

    This wild, psychedelic satire stars James Coburn as Dr. Sidney Schaefer, psychiatrist to none other than the president of the United States. When the pressures of his job push Schaefer ...

  • Solaris

    Episode 11

    Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky • 1972 • Soviet Union
    Starring Natalya Bondarchuk, Donatas Banionis, Yuri Yarvet

    Ground control has been receiving mysterious transmissions from the three remaining residents of the Solaris space station. When cosmonaut and psychologist Kris Kelvin is dispatched to i...

  • Old Boyfriends

    Episode 12

    Directed by Joan Tewkesbury • 1979 • United States
    Starring Talia Shire, Richard Jordan, Keith Carradine

    The sole theatrical feature directed by Joan Tewkesbury—whose screenplays for NASHVILLE and THIEVES LIKE US yielded two of Robert Altman’s finest films—is an endlessly intriguing, shaggy-dog ...

  • The Ninth Configuration

    Episode 13

    Directed by William Peter Blatty • 1980 • United States
    Starring Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Jason Miller

    Written, produced, and directed by THE EXORCIST author William Peter Blatty, this utterly singular comedy-horror whatsit is a work of both wondrous strangeness and cosmic brilliance. Assigned...

  • Dressed to Kill

    Episode 14

    Directed by Brian De Palma • 1980 • United States
    Starring Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen

    Brian De Palma ascended to the highest ranks of American suspense filmmaking with this virtuoso, explicit erotic thriller. At once tongue in cheek and scary as hell, DRESSED TO KILL revolves ar...

  • Ordinary People

    Episode 15

    Directed by Robert Redford • 1980 • United States
    Starring Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch

    Winner of four Academy Awards—including best picture, director, and adapted screenplay—Robert Redford’s directorial debut, based on the novel by Judith Guest, is an intense and moving exam...

  • Bad Timing

    Episode 16

    Directed by Nicolas Roeg • 1980 • United Kingdom
    Starring Art Garfunkel, Theresa Russell, Harvey Keitel

    Amid the decaying elegance of cold-war Vienna, psychoanalyst Dr. Alex Linden (Art Garfunkel) becomes mired in an erotically charged affair with the elusive Milena Flaherty (Theresa Russell)...