Classic Movie 2019

Classic Movie Of The Week: Spellbound (1945)

Starring: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Checkov

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Dr Constance Petersen (Bergman) is an ambitious and logical woman, but when a new doctor (Peck) arrives at the asylum she works at she finds herself thawing out and falling for him. But the doctor is not who he thinks he is. He turns out to be a man who lost his memory and he might just have killed the man he’s impersonating. Petersen believes her patient is innocent and is determined to find out the truth and exonerate him. But can she do it in time?

Hitchcock’s obsession with psychology finds an outlet here in this film about a beautiful female psychologist, but it is not one of his most entertaining films. It shines in the dream sequences that were designed and created by Salvador Dali, and it’s worth seeing for them alone.

Peck and Bergman are believable as intelligent people engaged in an emotional drama. They have some chemistry as a couple, and they’re nice enough that you want to see them get together and get their happy ending. The way that the men talk about women in this film is tediously sexist, though of course, understandable for the 1940’s but it is refreshing that the woman is the doctor and the man is the patient.

The psychology is the largest focus of this film, and kind of drags the film down, ruining the sense of tension and pace. It’s kind of funny to watch now, because it all seems a but hysterical and overly simple. Just hypnotize the man, and it will all be fine! It makes therapy seem like some kind of magic trick, really, but perhaps that’s part of it’s charm too.

A little dated and a little slow, it’s a film with excellent visuals and some very early use of the theremin in the soundtrack, and the two leads are pretty solid.

See It If: not Hitchcocks finest, but worth seeing for Dali’s contribution. A bit dated.

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