My Review of ‘Spellbound’ (1945)

spellbound_poster

This psychological thriller opens with an intriguing Shakespeare quote: “The Fault … is Not in Our Stars, But in Ourselves …,” which may be one of the most interesting ways to begin a story that takes place (by and large) in a mental asylum.

However, this film is nothing like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It is, in fact, an exploration of how psychoanalysis can help the mentally ill.

Freud is hooey! :)

Freud is hooey! 🙂

As Dr. Constance Peterson, Ingrid Bergman plays the icy brunette (rather than blonde) woman, who happens to be a psychoanalyst at Green Manors, a mental hospital saddled with a name like that of a soap opera.

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When the hospitals head physician (played by Leo G. Carroll) must retire due to health issues, he’s replaced by the amazingly young (and hot) Dr. Anthony Edwardes (played by the young and hot Gregory Peck).

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Things take a turn, however, when Edwardes turns out to be … someone else entirely, i.e., an imposter. Then, he tells Peterson that he … well … kind of killed Edwardes and took his place, but that he has amnesia so he can’t remember who he really is. After that, he runs off, leaving a note for her.

So, anyway, Peterson believes this cock-and-bull story she can help Edwardes and tracks him down, so she can try to restore his memory through psychoanalysis. This involves Edwardes recounting a dream full of symbolic images designed by Salvador Dali.

Hello, Dali!

Hello, Dali!

To wrap this up, without telling you everything, let’s just say that, like the best of films, things reach a point of ultimate crisis only to work out satisfactorily in the end.

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Despite the somewhat dubious reasons why Peterson should believe Edwardes (whose real name turns out to be Ballantyne—with a “y”), it serves as a demonstration of the way their relationship “warms her up” (so to speak). Thus, she overcomes her own problems with intimacy.

It helps immensely that the two leads share very real chemistry. In fact, Peck and Bergman had a brief affair during the filming. The warmth of their relationship shines through in their acting.

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That relationship adds something above and beyond the suspense over who Edwardes actually is, whether he committed murder, and how it will all work out in the end. That and those Salvador Dali dream sequences.

I only have eyes for you! :)

I only have eyes for you! 🙂

This is a unique Hitchcock film, in that it explores character transformation and the benefits of psychology, rather than delving into the darker side of the subject.

I’m giving this movie two thumbs up!

Hand showing thumbs up. All on white background.

PS: I totally neglected to mention that I’ve been blogging here for two years! 🙂

Happy second blogiversary! :)

Happy second blogiversary! 🙂

 

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This entry was posted in Hitchcock, Mystery, Psychological Thrillers, Suspense, Thriller and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to My Review of ‘Spellbound’ (1945)

  1. As one who is not a fan of Peck but adores Bergman, I can say she is good and he is at his most endearing in this picture. Plus the amazing soundtrack. Good review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Spellbound”, it’s not one of my fave Hitchcock films, but I love Ingrid Bergman’s character here. She’s smart but not invulnerable, and we know Peck is safe in her capable hands.

    And Happy second blogaversary!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debbi says:

      It’s not one of my favorites, but I do love the chemistry between Peck and Bergman. 🙂

      And thanks for the birthday wishes! I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for two years!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a big Peck fan…especially the young and hot one (sorry, shallow moment there, tee hee). I’ve had this one on my radar for ages but as it goes with most of us, that To Watch list is huge and we don’t get to all of them. Your review has me pushing this one to the top of the list.
    PS: Have you watched Peck in one of my favourite westerns (if you like westerns) called Yellow Sky with Anne Baxter?
    And his role in Duel in the Sun is just something else…I have a love-hate relationship with that movie 😉

    Like

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