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SPELLBOUND, 1945
Movie Review

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SPELLBOUND, 1945
Movie Review

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck
Review by Steven Painter



SYNOPSIS:

A female psychiatrist protects the identity of an amnesia patient accused of murder while attempting to recover his memory.

OSCAR WINNER for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture: Miklůs Růzsa

REVIEW:

Spellbound (1945) is more of a Sigmund Freud movie than an Alfred Hitchcock one. The man who frequently used dominant mother characters finally openly targeted psychoanalysis in a movie.

The movie stars Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman. Peck is Dr. Edwards, the successor to the very popular Dr. Murchison as director of Green Manors mental asylum. Murchison is retiring and the new doctor replacing him is not quite as loved by the staff. An exception is Ingrid Bergmanís character, Dr. Constance Petersen.

Dr. Petersen is a woman who has never fallen in love. She has been completely dedicated to her work. When Dr. Edwards arrives, she becomes interested in him. The rest of the staff views Dr. Edwards as odd. He seems to be absent minded and behaves strangely.

All this Dr. Petersen realizes and knows she shouldnít like, but she canít stop from loving him. Edwards, for his part, begins to believe that he is crazy. He believes he is suffering from amnesia and thinks the real Dr. Edwards was killed by him.

Dr. Petersen is fascinated by this. The rest of the staff isnít. To save Dr. Edwards, or the person who has assumed that identity, Dr. Peterson takes Edwards to her mentor Dr. Brulov, played by Michael Chekhov.

From here the two play Freud on Dr. Edwards, trying to help him figure out who he really is and if he really did kill the real Dr. Edwards. The highlight of this sequence is a dream scene. Part of the scene featured work created by Salvador Dali. The dream scene was going to last longer, but Hitchcock was unable to use some of the weird stuff Dali came up with. If you happen to ever suffer from amnesia, it must feel like a Salvador Dali dream, or so thatís what Hitchcock believes it must feel like.

It turns out that Edwards is actually Dr. John Ballantine and he is not the person who killed Dr. Edwards. Instead he has been feeling guilty his whole life for the accidental death of his brother when the two were young and playing.

The real murderer of Dr. Edwards is Dr. Murchison, who doesnít want to vacate his position. The most suspense in the movie occurs when Murchison is confronted with this information. Of course there is a happy ending. Murchison commits suicide and Ballantine and Peterson live happily ever after.

Spellbound is not a great Hitchcock movie. It does feature Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman though. Fans of Dali will also want to watch it. Amateur psychiatrists or those interested in psychology might also want to watch the movie.

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