I watched this for the first time on Youtube, which I regret, it’s not the best way to watch a film and doesn’t do justice to a piece of work directed by Alfred Hitchcock, this time it was Spellbound (1945). Not the strongest film, yet rich in psychoanalytical detail when a disturbed man taking on the identity of a Dr Edwards (Gregory Peck) who takes over the running of a mental asylum Green Manors. Almost immediately he is confronted with disturbing episodes that see him dizzy spells that grab the attention of one doctor. A doctor who puts her profession before her private life, which almost but fades into non-existence. Dr. Constance Peterson’s (Ingrid Bergman) life becomes her love interest too.
What starts as a series of curious episodes that seem to be connected by lines and the colour white become so much more when his true identity is revealed to us all. If only there wasn’t a signed copy of the pre-eminent doctors books. And of course the entrance of the police that cause our couple to go on the run from the law. Hoping to us psychoanalytical techniques to understand this case of amnesia which is stopping the truth from being know which almost consumes Dr Peterson understandably irritating her patient/lover (now known as) John Brown across the country.
The couple arrive finally after more drama at the home of Dr Peterson’s mentor Dr. Alexander Brulov (Michael Chekhov) who is a relic of this school of psychology, and the clear master in the presence of his protegé who stands before him almost a bumbling wreck consumed by love. They come together for what the film is best remembered for, the dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali which kick starts what could be seen as a run of the mill mystery. The second half of the film is more of the hallmarks of Hitchcock, taking on more voyeurism than in the first half to make the audience feel of balance as the events unfold for our characters as the travel once more to discover the truth and arrive at a dramatic twist full of fast-paced scenes that push the plot forward using only lighting to creates the courtroom dramatics. A technique which is perfected by the time of Dial M For Murder (1954).
The conclusion is more muted than I remember before the truth is revealed with deadly consequences that would un-nerve an audience of the mid-forties. Overall Spellbound is more about the psychoanalytical school of psychology used to solve a mystery, there are efforts to take the audience on a visual journey that leaves you shaken, by what we are capable of if and when we slip into altered state of mind.
- Reviews of Classic Movies: ‘Spellbound’ (robertsnow.wordpress.com)
- Spellbound (1945) – #136 (criterionreflections.blogspot.co.uk)
- Hitchcock Day 7 – Spellbound (1945) (ulyssesmcqueen.blogspot.co.uk)
- Spellbound (1945) (classicfilms-kallim.blogspot.co.uk)
- Dali’s Surreal Dream Sequence in “Spellbound” (1945) (theartofilm.blogspot.co.uk)
- Spellbound (1945) (johnlprobert.blogspot.co.uk)
- Spellbound (1945) (unecinephile.blogspot.co.uk)