Psychological Thriller (1945)

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Spellbound (1945) ~ Movie Review

US • BW • 110mins

Cast

Ingrid Bergman ~ Dr Constance Peterson
Gregory Peck ~ John Ballantine/Dr Anthony Edwardes
Michael Chekhov ~ Dr Alex Brulov
Leo G Carroll ~ Dr Murchison
Rhonda Fleming ~ Mary Carmichael
John Emery ~ Dr Fleurot

Crew

Dir ~ Alfred Hitchcock
Prod ~ David O. Selznick
Scr ~ Ben Hecht, Angus MacPhail
From ~ The novel The House of Dr Edwardes by Francis Seeding
Ph ~ George Barnes
Ed ~ William Ziegler, Hal C. Kern
Mus ~ Miklos Rozsa
Art Dir ~ James Basevi, John Ewing

(United Artists)

Rated: NR

In his eagerness to make the first serious film about psychoanalysis, Alfred Hitchcock so diluted the fantastical elements in Francis Beeding's novel The House of Dr Edwardes, all that remained was a melodramatic plot and an awful lot of psychobabble. Not even a dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali could enliven the turgid script, made all the less palatable by the robotic performance of Gregory Peck as the amnesiac trying to unravel his troubled past with the help of sympathetic shrink, Ingrid Bergman. You know, early in Peck's career, before he had matured and perfected the quiet strong-jawed American intensity and resoluteness into a fine art his performances could be so lifeless as to make Jude Law look animated! This role is no exception.

Dali designed the dream sequence with all the aids of futurism and surrealism in his sets. The sets, chairs and tables have human legs and roofs slope at 45-degree angles into infinity.

Hitch himself was disappointed with the picture, but there are enough masterly touches to keep your attention.

4 Stars out of 5

Buy: Spellbound US Dvd @amazon.com (direct link)

Spellbound ~ Trivia

The dream sequence designed by Dali was originally supposed to run for 20 minutes. It included a scene with Dr. Peterson covered in ants. Only part of it was filmed, and even less of it ended up in the released version. Oh just imagine if the full 20 minutes was filmed and released as part of the film! Probaly not the greatest commercial idea at the time but now it would be an absolute masterpiece. A mainstream film with its backbone sheer and utter Surrealism.

The shot where the audience sees the killer's view down a gun barrel pointing at Peterson was filmed using a giant hand holding a giant gun to get the perspective correct. Some frames were tinted red and hand-spliced into all the original prints.

The snow falling on John Ballantine and Dr. Peterson during the skiing scene was actually cornflakes.

Listed by the The New York Times as one of the top 10 movies in 1945.

Ingrid Bergman won a New York Film Critics' Circle Award for her roles both in Spellbound and The Bells of St. Mary's.

Hitch appears just short of the 40 mins mark. He is the first person to emerge from the lift at the Empire Hotel. Whilst smoking a cigarette rather daintily, he's carrying a violin case.

Dali was in Hollywood in 1946 working on Destino, a Walt Disney film project which was never completed. As soon as he realised that the project was coming to nothing, he accepted the commission to design the dream sequence in Spellbound.

It was around the time of Spellbound that Dali met the photographer Philippe Halsman.

It is strange that in many of the biographies devoted to Dali, Spellbound rarely gets more than a brief mention, a footnote. No in-depth analysis and how he did it, the exact dates he worked on it etc. etc. It's as though the writers think it must always play second fiddle to the paintings. Yet if you think about it, the dream sequence must have been seen by millions over the years. It deserves more, certainly more analysis.

More: Spellbound UK Dvd + Scans Added

Buy: Spellbound US Dvd @amazon.com (direct link)

Links

Spellbound: Movie Review >> Trivia >> UK Dvd

Hitchcock: Biog. >> Hitch Movie Reviews

Un Chien Andalou >> L'Age d'Or >> Luis Bunuel

Salvador Dali: Complete Biography >> In Depth Early Years (1904 - 26) >> Prodigy Child Without An Exam >> Dali & Gala >> In The U.S.A. >> Classic Period After World War II >> Death In His Own Museum >> Biog. II >> Biog. German >> Biog. French >> Dali Prints & Fakes >> Latest Updates

Salvador Dali: Gallery >> L'Age d'Or >> Spellbound >> Un Chien Andalou >> Luis Bunuel

Salvador Dali Wares: Cards >> Sculptues (incl. the wonderful Parastone Sculptures) >> Prints >> Dali's World: The Treasures of Dali Book >> Dali Books >> 2004 Dali Prestel Postcard Book Fully Scanned >> Dali Phaidon Colour Library Book - Smartphone Page >> Dali The Reality of Dreams Pegasus - Smartphone Page >> Dali (Taschen Basic Art Series) Book - Smartphone Page >> Spellbound UK Dvd + Scans Added >> Official Dali Watercolour Tubes >> Official Dali Artist's Case Scanned >> Dali In New York Dvd Review

L'Age d'Or: Movie Review

Spellbound >> Un Chien Andalou >> Luis Bunuel

Salvador Dali Links: Links >> Dali Posters available at Allposters.com >> Advertise here >> Dali Books and Dvds available @ amazon.com >> Search Site For other Surrealists

Advertise here

Female Surrealists: Frida Kahlo >> Leonora Carrington >> Nusch Eluard >> Leonor Fini >> Remedios Varo >> Dorothea Tanning >> Valentine Hugo >> Jacqueline Lamba Breton >> Rita Kernn Larsen >> Dora Maar >> Lee Miller >> Meret Oppenheim

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Releases & Links

Dali complete biography here. Hitchcock biog. here.

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