Dr. Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) is a psychiatrist with a firm understanding of human nature—or so she thinks. When the mysterious Dr. John Ballantine (Gregory Peck) becomes the new chief of staff at her institution, the bookish and detached Constance plummets into a whirlwind of tangled identities and feverish psychoanalysis, where the greatest risk is to fall in love. A transcendent love story replete with taut excitement and startling imagery, Spellbound is classic Hitchcock, featuring stunning performances, an Academy Award®-winning score by Miklos Rozsa, and a captivating dream sequence by Surrealist icon Salvador Dali. —The Criterion Collection
Alfred Hitchcock has been the most well-known director to the general public since the 1940s – and he remains so in the 21st century, more than 25 years after his death. His name evokes instant expectations on the part of audiences around the world: of a memorable night of movie-watching highlighted by at least two or three great chills (and a few more good ones), some striking black comedy, and an eccentric characterization or two in virtually every one of the director’s movies across a half-century – and usually laced with a comical cameo appearance by the director himself.
Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born into a devoutly Catholic family in London, and his religious upbringing – with its attendant issues of guilt – would have a powerful influence on the psychological underpinnings of his later work. He was trained at a technical school, and initially gravitated to movies through art courses and advertising. He studied the work of other filmmakers, most notably the German expressionists… read more
Bergman picks up where Fontaine left off, but as a much more dominant heroine. This movie is about our inability to see the internal (and external) reality, yet through expressionistic techniques, Hitchcock persistently visualizes what appears to be subjective images of the characters. The first kiss scene is absolutely beautiful.
Also: Hoberman on It’s Halftime in America and the prospects for “an Obama-inflected Hollywood cinema.”