Spellbound (1945)
Reviewed in February 2010
Director: Alfred Hitchcock. Cast: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov, Leo G. Carroll, John Emery, Norman Lloyd, Rhonda Fleming, Regis Toomey, Art Baker, Bill Goodwin, Richard Bartell, Harry Brown. Screenplay: Ben Hecht (based on an adaptation by Angus MacPhail of the novel The House of Dr. Edwardes by "Francis Beeding," aka John Palmer and Hilary St. George Sanders).

Photo © 1945 Selznick International Pictures/United Artists
Psychiatric Advisor May E. Romm, M.D.; "...and the devils of unreason are driven from the human soul"; Mary called into IB, raking her fingernails across the male nurse-escort's hand; "It's rather like embracing a textbook"; JEmery trying to get into Ingrid's pants; Mr. Garmes is distracted by the arresting sound and severity of IB's letter-opener, he wants to do it for her; GP's "Anthony Edwards" is the new chief and has just written The Labyrinth of the Guilt Complex; IB slaloming her fork-tines around the tablecloth triggers GP's neurosis in rather too heightened a way; "I detest that sort of high-school talk" - JE thinks he can discern a maternal instinct; Garmes fits perfeclty into GP's theory about guilt complex?; "Would you mind telling ME what you're talking about?" (Garmes); Absurdly pastoral stroll - "Ham or liverwurst" - "LIVERWURST" - on his first day?; Uncomfortably dry convocatoin of male scientists discussing their afternoon walk, with her hair in disarray; MRosza in ecstatic raptures as IB espies the crack of light under the hospital-library door in the middle of the night, fetches GP's book; A sense in which IB and GP are both dreaming each other; Rosza is certainly excited about it; Barnes is making Peck and especially Bergman look like perfection; GP takes POV, slightly intimidating direct strides twoard first kiss iwth IB, dissolve to several opening doors (chee-zay), dissolve back into slo-mo kiss; But then he gets all weird and Theremin about the parallel line patterns on her robe; Garmes has tried to murder JE, then cut his own throat; a gleaming, overexposed surgery; GP starts to suffocate and then "Fools, babbling about guilt complexes!"; Dead Ringers : Red :: Spellbound : White; GP: "I remember now! Edwards is dead, and I took his place! I'm someone else!" - she is SUS, PICIOUS; now he's got Amneezia; The other Dr's look at a photo of the "real" Dr Edwards, but the camera doesn't show it; Leo G. Carroll leading the putsch; IB gives a facetious perf of helpless femininity to the officious doter in the lobby, so as to gain info about GP; three "hits" in a row from different men; (gross, busybody, saggy); IB: "Apparenlty the mind is never too ill to make jokes about psychoanalysis!" to GP in train statoin; Uneasy POV track toward the gate officer at Gare 6; "If there's anything I hate, it's a smug woman!"; IB: "Darling, we're just beginning - hurt, but then bemused and resigned - has she dealt with this kind of brute chauvinism before?; MC: "Women make the best psychoanalysts... till they fall in love, and then they make the best patients!"; The lamest moments in the movie (the horrifying impact of the lines) are tied to its most interesting scenes of the brutal refusal of love AND intellect; "Why does the color white frighten you? Why do LINES frighten you?? WHITE!"; "We have the word 'white' on our side!"; GP briefly tempted by razor suicide, as the earlier doctors forecast?; ECU on Peck's straight-razor to long shot of MC behind his hulking, wooden desk (MILK and crackers); POV of Peck drinking his glass of milk while talking to MC, looking murderous; It's just kind of LAME that AH decides to trick us with the end of the milk/razor scene and the shot of MC looking dead, sleeping in his chair; MC: "The usual female contradictions"; he's like Freud played as an adorable Ewok; MC is assuming he's eventually going to cut one of their throats; he sees a schizo, she sees a man; GP to MC: "I don't believe in dreams, that Freud stuff's a lot of hooey"; IB: "I've always loved very feminine clothes but have never quite dared to wear them"; Unnervingly symmetrical near-POV of GP on IB as she dines, and slices her meat; Shattering schiz in Rosza's music, as IB and GP ski suspiciously close together down the rear-proj hillside; "I didn't kill my brother, it was an ACCIDENT, an ACCIDENT!"; "THAT'S what has haunted you all your life, it was the memory you were AFRAID OF!"; unconvincing choreography, save from skiing cliffside, townhouse stoop accident (slides down and kicks brother onto spiked fence), ridiculous lines and readings; Dr Edwardes has been found, with a bullet in his back; "But when he said he killed him, he wasn't himself" - "he was in a state of great mental distress" - bizarrely abstracted please against shadow-outline judges and blank walls; MC to IB: "There's lots of happiness in working hard - maybe the most!"; IB finds LC's reinstatement as a silver lining, but we can only assume that he is responsible; "Knew Edwardes only slightly" - "Knew Edwards" - "Knew!" - "KNEW!!" - ; Carroll's hair looks unnaturally darkened; we certainly know that he's onto Bergman when he asks if she's told anyone else; You're an excellent analyst, Dr. Petersen, but a rather stupid woman; "your imbecilic devotion to your patients"; LGC wiping off a speck of dirt from his revolver before he uess it?; Only half-convincing as IB talks LGC (in gun-pointing POV) out of shooting her; Swivels gun unnaturally upon himself; red cartoon blast as the chamber revolves and the blast goes off; "Any husband of Constance is a husband of mine, so to speak!" - kissing in front of the same attendant at Gare 6; B–

Academy Award Nominations and Winners:
Best Picture
Best Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Best Supporting Actor: Michael Chekhov
Best Cinematography (Black & White): George Barnes
Best Original Score (Comedy/Drama): Miklós Rósza
Best Special Effects: Jack Cosgrove

Other Awards:
New York Film Critics Circle: Best Actress (Bergman; also cited for The Bells of St. Mary's)

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