When the new head of a mental institution is revealed to be an imposter, he confesses that he may also be responsible for murder. Convinced of his innocence, a psychoanalyst helps to uncover the cause of his amnesia.
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The atmosphere of this film creeped me out as a kid. Now, it looks like a very silly, flimsy, melodramatic picture, whose Freudian psychoanalytic detective work is as pseudo-scientific as anything in a cheesy 50s atomic monster movie. The form, however, is strong, and with the involvement of Bergman, Selznick, and Dali, it's Canonical by default. If only it latched onto the irrationality under the surface.
Cinematography by George Barnes. "Desire" list: of all the images that inspire a vision of an unblemished beauty, within the selection of this list, Gregory Peck's disheveled hair, with the leaves stuck in it, after one of his psychological attacks, it's the longer-lasting one in my memory, haunted on his own and scared of himself. With the help of Hitchcock and Barnes, an indelible vision.
Hitchcock is fond of the "lovers on the run" theme and in Spellbound it gets a freudian twist. Still, the narrative is often times too contrived and repetitive to be as compelling as it was intended to be. This seems more like a David O. Selznick passion project with a Hitchcock touch than the other way around. That said, the touch of the master makes all the difference and we are given some unforgettable imagery.
A movie that I used to regularly see on TV during my teen days. The Dali's dream sequence, the ski scene and the musical score caused me numerous nightmares several psychiatrists tried vainly to decipher for years. Now that I'm obviously perfectly sane, I tend to focus on Ingrid Bergman and Rhonda Fleming's performance. Masterpiece.
Only worth it for the dream sequence designed by Dali. There were supposed to be several but Selznick being Selznick couldn't resist getting involved and mucking things up. Thanfully Hitch never worked with him again.
Taut, twisty Hitchcock thriller follows a psychoanalyst (Ingrid Bergman) whose new boss turns out to be an amnesiac impostor who may possibly be guilty of murder. Fine studio production under David O. Selznick, the film is most notable for its remarkable dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali.