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Alfred Hitchcock takes on Sigmund Freud in this thriller in which psychologist Ingrid Bergman tries to solve a murder by unlocking the clues hidden in the mind of amnesiac suspect Gregory Peck. Among the highlights is a bizarre dream sequence seemingly designed by Salvador Dali--complete with huge eyeballs and pointy scissors. Although the film is in black and white, the original release contained one subliminal blood-red frame, appearing when a gun pointed directly at the camera goes off. Spellbound is one of Hitchcock's strangest and most atmospheric films, providing the director with plenty of opportunities to explore what he called "pure cinema"--i.e., the power of pure visual associations. MiklĘ«s RĘ«zsa's haunting score (which features a creepy theremin) won an Oscar, and the movie was nominated for best picture, director, supporting actor (Michael Chekhov), cinematography, and special visual effects. --Jim Emerson
- Dreams of Morality Perversion and Exposed Evil
SPELLBOUND was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and produced by David O. Selznick in 1945. As the story unravels it is essentially a murder plot interwoven around psychiatrists and psychoanalysis. It is actually Alfred Hitchcock's approach to the story and his collaborations with composer Miklos Rozsa and surrealist artist Salvador Dali that highlights this film. Gregory Peck plays John "J.B." Ballantine who poses as a psychiatrist while in a state of amnesia. Uncovered by Dr. Constance Peterson played by Ingrid Bergman, Ballantine must find out if he is responsible for the death of the missing psychiatrist that he posed as and simultaneously discover his own identity. Miklos Rozsa's score is both romantic yet eerie as Ballantine tries to remember what happened through analysis of his dreams. Alfred Hitchcock hired Salvador Dali to design illustrations and paintings in order to construct a crisp and vivid rendering of these dreams. Hitchcock did not want to use conventional techniques such as blurred camera shots to recreate the dreams. He wanted them to be as clear and even sharper than the rest of the film. He wanted Dali's style of using shadows, lines of convergence and the idea of infinite distance incorporated into the dream sequences. In the dream sequence we see a black stage highlighted with people at gambling tables with huge mysterious looking eyes peering over them. A man cuts away at the fabric of one eye with a giant scissors revealing another eye. In another part of the dream we see a man standing on a roof behind a chimney that has sprouted roots. The hooded man holds what looks like a deformed or eccentric wagon wheel in his hand. In the distance there is a formation of rocks and boulders, which look like they are sprouting into the shape of a man's head. Another part of the dream shows a man running down a pitched geometric plane as the shadow of a bird follows him. In the background there are geometric shapes and lines that go off into infinity. All these images must be interpreted into experiences from reality. Dali's images are unsettling and thought provoking. Eventually, the eccentric wagon wheel turns out to represent the chambers of a revolver pistol and reveals the true identity of the murderer. A surrealistic painting brings to the canvas an image from reality but puts it into a context of the unreal. I think Dali was successful in translating the realistic elements from the plot into a vision of incomprehensibility of the conscious human mind. Hitchcock and the scriptwriter Ben Hecht then had their characters translate Dali's images back into plausible reality. This is brilliant filmmaking years ahead of its time....more info
- A compelling psychological drama
This movie is a product of that golden age of incredible plots, talented actors, and visionary directing. A description of the plot may sound somewhat banal, and I doubt if the same movie could be made today and be taken seriously, but this classic is a masterful piece of cinema. When Dr. Edwards (Gregory Peck) arrives at Green Manors Mental Asylum to replace the head man, he quickly falls for the heretofore distant, hyperanalytical Dr. Constance Petersen (played by the incomparable Ingrid Bergman). Constance soon discovers that the man she is falling in love with is not Dr. Edwards at all but is instead an amnesiac who has taken the place of the real Dr. Edwards. Although the impostor is afraid he killed the real doctor, Constance is determined to help him regain his memory. The mystery of Dr. Edward's disappearance quickly leads to a police investigation, but Constance follows her "patient" to the city and eventually takes him to the home of her mentor, striving to prove that the man she loves is not a murderer. The ending, I must say, does not disappoint; it actually exceeded my own expectations.
Bergman is naturally wonderful in her role, and her accent adds a trace of mystery to an already suspenseful story. The portrayal of Dr. Murchison, the previous head of the asylum, is smooth, polished, and quite effective, and the actor portraying Constance's former mentor does a masterful job as a somewhat stereotypical pseudo-Freud blessed with a penchant for making remarks I found quite humorous. While Gregory Peck is also very good, he seems to go a little over the top at times when he is reacting to troubling stimuli. Hitchcock's direction is both innovative and masterful. There are several scenes involving unusual camera shots that add much to the atmosphere of mounting suspense, and a dream sequence supposedly designed by Salvador Dali is unique and oddly compelling.
Certainly, Freudian analysis was more in vogue when this movie was made in 1955 than it is now. It is Constance's belief that something from the impostor's childhood triggered his amnesia, and she seeks to help him by unlocking his buried memories. A crucial plot point centers around a surreal dream the impostor has and Constance's interpretation of its meaning. While some modern viewers may scoff at the notions espoused here, such feelings should take nothing away from the enjoyment of this classic, atmospheric, suspenseful drama....more info
- Great movie...If I could see it
It is a great movie, I know, but not from seeing it on this DVD. Would not load on one player. Next one I tried I had to load it 3 or 4 times before it would even come up on the screen. Then when you get it going, finially , don't mess with the menus because they are messed up. You would go to one thing and get another. I think I just got a defective DVD, but I can't do any thing about it, unless I buy another one or sell someone a defective DVD. So I am stuck with a lemon....more info
- Pioneer DVL-919 + Toshiba won't play disc
I wanted to add Pioneer model to the
won't play disc list....more info
- Surprisingly weak for Hitchcock.
NOTE: this should be a review for the non-Criterion Collection DVD.
SPELLBOUND is really Hitchcock's vehicle for praising Freud, and in the end it feels like you've just sat thru a Psychology 101 lecture. Ingrid Bergman is beautiful as always and the Dali dream sequence is pretty wild, but the story itself is bland and even the acting is at times, cumbersome. SPELLBOUND is beautifully filmed and contains some great location work. Bergman's 'analyst' character is believable at first, but increasingly becomes the stereotypical Hitchcock female; unable to solve her problems-or anyone else's-until a wise male figure steps in. Thank God the old psychiatrist comes along at just the right time and saves the day. He even looks like Freud and affects a 'German' accent for crying out loud. And the script frequently has Bergman saying things that Hitchcock himself (who had bizarre views on women to say the least) would kill to take advantage of-and he does, thru his male characters. It's almost embarrassing to watch Bergman grovel before the old coot while he spouts off about women in love 'operating at the lowest intellect' etc etc.
The DVD is the most sparse one I have ever seen. There is NOTHING here but the film. Not even the ubiquitous trailer! Finally, the film is pan & scan, so widescreen lovers are out of luck. The picture quality is OK but I found myself constantly adjusting the sound. At times the soundtrack totally roared from my system and I would turn it down only to miss important dialogue. This is hardly essential Hitch-instead visit VERTIGO, PSYCHO, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, THE 39 STEPS, even THE BIRDS....more info
- A Classic...
As a mental health professional, this movie is a great representation of the power of the unconscious mind. A time honored aspect of the discipline that has been lost on more Band-Aid like contemporary forms of treatment offered to the public....more info
- Review of Criterion's Spellbound DVD
The video quality of Criterion's DVD version of SPELLBOUND discs look a bit sharper, more detailed, but grainier than Anchor Bay's re-pressed version from 2000 (in which the flash-of-red color shot was restored). The audio quality of Criterion's 1.0 mono soundtrack is also a little more detailed and more distinct than Anchor Bay's 2.0 mono track. The Anchor Bay disc also sounds much louder, but there are audio distortions in a few places. The soundtrack of the Criterion disc (and many DVDs) was recorded at a much lower volume level, which is usually an effort to retain as much as possible the dynamic range of the source material. The Criterion DVD booklet says the film's original overture and exit music has been included on the disc for the first time. This is simply not true, for the re-pressed Anchor Bay disc also has the overture and exit music. The initial pressing of the Anchor Bay disc, in which the red-color shot is erroneously shown in B&W, does not have the overture and exit music, however.
Although SPELLBOUND helped solidify Hitchcock's position in Hollywood, it isn't one of his best films. But Marian Keane's remarkable analytical audio commentary on the Criterion disc should heighten your appreciation of the film. Keane juxtaposes the themes in the film against the manner in which Hitchcock made his films and the manner in which we, the viewers, watch them, and suggests that they are somehow interrated. She points out that many Hitchcock films (including SPELLBOUND) are about people who take pleasure in watching and analyzing other people, which is also the very thing that we, the viewers, do when we watch such films. As in her commentary for the NOTORIOUS DVD, she injects an extra layer of significance within the film by refering to certain elements in the film as "surrogate authors," "scriptwriting sessions," and "director's assertion of his authorship." Keane single-mindedly concentrates on the interpretation, deconstruction, and theorization on the subject of Hitchcock, and the result is one of the most remarkable dissertations ever recorded on DVD. I give 4 stars to the film itself, but 5 to Keane.
I give 5 stars to the supplements on the Criterion disc as well, like I routinely do. There is a wonderful, rather detailed photo-essay segment on the making of the Dali sequence. Two film clips of the surrealist film UN CHIEN ANDALOU is included ! to show some earlier inspirations for the SPELLBOUND dream sequence. Memos from the filmmakers and production photos show how the dream sequence was re-shot several times due to logistic difficulties and artistic differences. There are also production photos of the deleted "ballroom" sub-sequence, in which Ingrid Bergman plays a statuesque figure bewildering Gregory Peck.
Other extras include about 150 production and publicity photos, a half-hour audio interview of the film's composer, a 7-minute radio program on the subject of theramin, a 1-hour radioplay version of SPELLBOUND, "story treatments" that show how the original novel was loosely adapted into a filmmable story, and other correspondences from psychoanalysts and Production Code officials who offered advices to the filmmakers. The booklet contains two very good essays; one is about the making of the film, while the other offers some artistic analyses (some of which echo Keane's comments)....more info
- ONE OF HITCHCOCK'S BEST by CRITERION
For me, this is one the most entertaining films made by Hitchcock. It also represents a unique moment in Film History, where five unique minds joined forces to deliver a true masterpiece in the American Cinema: Alfred Hitchcock, David O. Selznick (producer), Ben Hecht (screenwriter), Miklos Rozsa (composer) and Salvador Dali. All of them masters on their own field.
The story revolves around a beautiful (but cold) psychiatrist (Bergman) who works in a mental asylum and her attempt to uncover the truth about a amnesiac impostor (Peck) with whom she happens to be in love with. As she goes deeper and deeper into her patient's mind she discovers that he may be unwantingly hiding the true identity of a murderer. Danger seems innevitable as the pacient is accused of being a dangerous murder - will she end up as his next victim?
Being a briliant piece of classic narrative, SPELBOUND is also a film where all the elements are first rate: Cinematography, Music, Screenplay, Costumes and Casting. The tension around the film is beautifully constructed and the climax is very potent.
Salvador Dali's dream scenes are beautifull and surreal. They give the most perfect setting for the enigmatic configuration of Gregory Peck's apparently irrational dreams. The freudian interpretations may be dated, but this is fiction (and Hitchcock makes it delightfully believable). Dali's vision is simply astounishing. Unfortunatelly the full original sequence was trimmed before its original release and that unsused footage is lost. But the remaining scenes are still impressive.
This CRITERION edition is highly superior to all other available editions for its superior image and sound quality. Is also comes with an impressive pack os extras such as lots of photos, essays, a great commentary. The Lux Theatre radio version is a interesting piece of curio. Also worth of noting is the fact that some frames at the end of the film (a gun shot)are in color - a great idea from a director who loved to experiment.
This is one of my favorite Hitchcock black and white films. A true gem. Congratulations to Criterion. This is a great job!...more info
- Perhaps not spellbindg but definitely binding!
Hitchcock elicits a mixed bag of emotions from me. I am just a little too young to have been transfixed, dare I say spellbound?, by the man and his works as millions of Americans were during Hitchcock's peak. Being a callow youth at the tale end, so to speak, of his career and unappreciative of the art I remember that Birds scared the b'jeezus out of me, that I was too young to watch Psycho, and very little else.
Everything else I saw at a later date seemed fine but dated, perhaps quaint. It came as a huge surprise then to finally discover and appreciate the man's art simply by watching this movie.
The story revolves around a young professional woman who goes on the lam with a man who is at once her boss, her patient, her true love and a murderer. Sounds complicated, I know, and perhaps uninteresting because too much, but this movie really works. It helps that Ingrid Bergman is at the top of her game and plays the role of naive, beautiful, love-struck maiden with sublimity. Gregory Peck, the leading man, does an adequate job of portraying the anguish and anxiety of a man on the brink of madness.
It is Hitchcock's genius itself which gives the film its hard edges and enjoyable quirks, (He, by the way, is the man leaving the elevator with a violin case), through very simple plot devices. He has an amazing ability to change the mood in the movie in an instant merely by inserting a certain piece of music, or placing one signature next to another without anything else changing (It is no coincidence that Hitchcock's most notorious scene can be conjured with just three notes from a violin).
In this film Hitchcock pulls us along as the film proceeds from mundane to sinister to charming to chilling to disappointing and finally to shocking and all the while the audience is left thinking to itself that the ending is fairly predictable if one is given three or four chances to guess it. You know what? You never will....more info
Intriguing and mystifying, this "manhunt story" (as the director described it) is pickled in a heady dose of psychoanalytic dialogue, thanks in part to producer David O. Selznick, an ardent Freudian. Aside from Hitchcock's peerless handling of both the suspense surrounding J.B.'s identity and the love tryst that develops between Peck and Bergman, "Spellbound" remains celebrated because of the unforgettable dream sequence designed by Surrealist artist Salvador Dali (and directed by William Cameron Menzies). For sheer thrills and hypnotic weirdness, all enhanced by Miklos Rozsa's unsettling, Oscar-winning theremin score, "Spellbound" is hard to beat....more info
- won't play
I could not get this disk to play. I have a good RCA DVD player but it was no go. Had to return it....more info
- The film I have not clearly understood
Alfred Hitchcock is great master of suspense. I bought many films of amazing director form amazon.com. Also I purchase "Spellbound- Criterion Collection" including the English subtitle with a great expectations. But this DVD could not be played in my DVD player because the manufacturing of this DVD was different form the others. There is another DVD of Spellbound not including the English subtitles that I have owned but my english is not enough to see understand the film without english subtitle. I can see only scenes but dialogues were not clear for me. But the scenes and Ingrid Bergman are most effective....more info
- Let's Talk...
This is a classic example of a rather dated movie brought back to life through the efforts of Criterion. The extras are first rate (particularly the long documentary/labyrinth detailing the Dali dream sequence). The performances by Bergman and Peck are also first rate... but that's where the greatness ends.
The story itself presses the limits of credibility. First off, Bergman plays a psychiatrist with the warmth of an ice pick one moment, and the very next day is bustling off to New York and Rome, GA with a psychotic "killer" hunted by the law. She changes 180 degrees for love, but the transition was too abrupt for me.
Secondly, the presentation of psychoanalysis seemed like a rather didactic chapter out of Psychology 101, leaving little to the modern imagination.
Thirdly, many of the psychiatrists seemed to me to mimic the stereotypes of Germanic Freudian types. Chekhov received an academy award nomination for his Professor Von Drake-like performance? While his acting was impressive, his characterization was rather two dimensional. It obviously reflects a time when psychoanalysis was very new to audiences, and Hitchcock casts aside subtlety on this one.
In short, I recommend this movie only for devoted Hitchcock or Salvador Dali fans. You will find few better performances by Berman and Peck. Additionally, the extras on this one lift the movie from the limits of the 1940s and place it in a good historical perspective. Suspend your belief, lighten up, sit back and enjoy this one....more info
- Excellent storytelling
Let's face it folks, these days, movies that tell good solid stories are very hard to come by...If you are the type of movie watcher who enjoys a really great story, then Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound is good for you...
If you've never seen it before, you won't be disappointed, and you won't be able to look away from the screen. If you've seen it before, it will be just as good the next time around. Spellbound...more info
- Something is wrong; does not play on Philips DVD player
A very worthwhile movie from Hitchcock. I was eagerly awaiting this criterion release. I have another older release of this movie(UK & US versions). Helas: my new Philips DVD player did not play it. So I reorder it from Amazon. It did not play again. It plays however on my Dell DVD drive. I understand that others have also viewing problems......more info
- A stunning, and mind-twisting thriller from the master...
The psychological traumas and disorders explored here serve as the groundwork for one of Alfred Hitchcock's most enthralling an' innovative films that keeps you guessing until the very end. It all revolves around Ingrid Bergman's character, a young psychoanalyst who has never allowed love to interfere with her thinking, work ethic, and studies. To her, falling in love is a loss of rationality. That begins to change when she meets a young, handsome man named Dr. Edwards, played by Gregory Peck and is immediately smitten. But as she finds out, he isn't who he seems, and, stranger still, no one, including him, can seem to figure out who he is.
What seperates this from other Hitchcock murder mysteries is that the puzzles here lie locked inside one man's mind. And it is up to Bergman to use her psychoanalytical training and testing to uncover what may very well be a deep and dark secret that Peck's mind has unknowingly tried to cover up. Involving what? Whaddayou think, fool? Murder! Man, have y'all never seen a Hitchcock movie? (Sorry, I get abrasive. It's not y'all, it's me) But don't worry, there are plenty of surprises and twists to keep you at bay while watching this film.
A darkly romantic atmosphere and radical Freudian dream sequences, inspired by the works of Salvador Dali, make this a surreal and mysterious experience like only Hitchcock could conjure up. If you like 'Rebecca' an' 'Notorious', Hitch's other notables from the 1940s, then this film is definitely for you....more info
- Everyone mentions the Salvador Dali sequence....
....I'm not going to. It's been done to death and I'd rather talk about the film's atmospheric cinematography that is vintage Hitchcock. Perhaps more than any other film he directed this one captures the essence of discomfort and suspense so vital to the psychoanalysis theme of the film. Note the lingering low-angle on the shot of Gregory Peck's razor (and the way it is lit) or his psychotic stare at John Emery (shot through a drinking glass, for goodness sakes!), of course making us all fear he's going to be stabbed. Or the important climatic skiing scene which finally explains why Dr. Peck is so nervous around lines, tracks, and slopes. (It's a relatively short flashback that I won't reveal, but a disturbing, horrible sight just the same.) Finally, the scene with Leo Carroll, Ingrid Bergman, and a freakishly large, distorted gun is spellbindi...really impressive. Can you imagine the screams from the original 1945 audience when this gun came on-screen?!! The *two* frames (on video, anyway) of red which integrate with the gunshot is a stunning piece of subliminal cinematography. (BTW, is it just me, or do the gorgeous Ms. Bergman and future Hitchcock alum Grace Kelly bear a striking resemblance to each other?!!)...more info
- Spellbound is spellbinding
Not the greatest Hitchcock film, but ironically it has four of Hitchcock's greatest sequences, all of them mind benders as befits a crime story about headshrinkers gone rotten. The famous Salvador Dali dream sequence is everything it has become famous for, a spectacularly subtle and understated seduction sequence - itself almost a dream - and the famous single frame "red flash" at the climactic confrontation. The film is in black and white yet Hitchcock and Selznick induced the company to insert a single or pair of red frames at humongous expense in a subliminal bit that freaked the audiences. This is called power in Hollywood. For the next 40 years nobody restored the red flash - until Turner and Criterion did the disk - too ridiculously expensive for B&w prints and VHS.
And the score - fabulous! One of the best which makes four great reasons to see the film....more info
- DVD doesn't load
Like another reviewer, I am not able to load the DVD on my Toshiba SD-1200 player. I own quite a few DVD's and have watched a lot of rentals and have not had any problems like this before now. I'm quite disappointed as I'm both a fan of Hitchcock and Criterion.
Note: I contacted Criterion about this after submitting my review. They acknowledged a faulty pressing of the DVD and will reissue the DVD around the first week of November. You can also exchange your DVD with Criterion directly through the mail. Check out their website... for contact information....more info
- Early Hitchcock - A Must for all Film History Fans
To see Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman in their youthful prime, that undefinable "star" quality that is so missing in Hollywood's current `celebrity' movement: where talent takes a back seat to appearance, lack of charisma and obsession with youth, was certainly a pleasure.
To be sure, I am not of that generation, growing up with a mother and father who loved literature and film. The above cynical generalization sneaks in occasionally, wishing for a more innocent time in history, which really, never happened.
Alfred Hitchcock, during his long career, seemed to be always ahead of the pack. It is known that he loved a well written story and, the stranger the tale, the better.
Spellbound is a prime example of reflecting the post war year's fascination with Freudian psychoanalysis.
Ingrid Bergman as Dr. Constance Peterson, an extremely intelligent woman, finds herself falling in love with Dr. Anthony Edwards, (Gregory Peck) and as the plot unfolds comes to discover an explosive volatile secret, fighting her instincts yet yielding for the love of this man.
Hitchcock was known as an autocratic director, at times obsessive with minor details; his vision of the project was all that mattered and the actors, merely instruments to achieve his intended outcome.
The soundtrack by Miklos Roza (Academy award winner) is absolutely mesmerising. My mother, a music teacher, every time she saw the film again, would sit at her piano, and relive the pathos of the film; playing Roza's score as if she, with all its emotional fervour, became Ingrid Bergman, because at the time, it is said, Gregory Peck was the pin-up boy for the young ladies at the time.
There is a dream sequence in the film that on face value seems lame, but on closer examination, is a work of art, designed by the surrealist artist, Salvador Dali. If you have a taste for the bizarre, surrealism, based primarily on the tenets of psychoanalysis, this sequence is curious if not a true relic of a bygone era.
As a Hitchcock fan, this film ranks with his best work, including Rear Window, Psycho and North by North West.
Spellbound is a must for all Hitchcock disciples and lovers of the Golden era in Hollywood.
- The mind of a woman in love
Ingrid Bergman is the psychoanalyst who falls in love with Gregory Peck and tries to help him get to the bottom of a murder he's accused of but didn't commit. At one point Peck, tired of being analyzed, says that Freud and dreams are all hooey . . . and most of the pseudo-psycho doings here (fainting spells, instant interpretation of dream symbols, etc.) are just that - hooey. But fortunately there is more to it than that, and Hitchcock develops an interesting - and suspenseful - mystery.
Dali did the dream sequence, though Hitch might have been better off trying to make the ski run down the mountain more visually believable (even for 1945).
Bergman is interesting as the cold scientist who blossoms in love, though what she sees in Peck, who is a zombie the whole picture, is hard to imagine. This is the movie with the famous ending with a gun pointing at the camera and firing with blood-red color splattering the b&w screen for a split second. A classy Hitchcock production. Definitely worth a watch....more info
- Spellbound is Unforgetable....DVD is Superb
This review refers to the Anchor Bay release of the "Spellbound" DVD....
Anchor Bay has done it again. This 1945 classic directed by Alfred Hitchcock, was beautifully transfered onto this DVD. The black and white images are sharp, crisp, and clear. Barely a sign of this film's age. The sound remastered in Dolby Dig 2.0 is great. If you're a fan of this film, you'll be thrilled at how good it looks.
Haven't seen it yet, but love Hitch, or maybe it's been a while since you have?....Here's a little of this riveting story.....
The beautiful Ingrid Bergman plays the distant psychiatrist Dr. Constance Petersen. She treats a number of troubled patients at the Green Manors Mental Asylum, but her toughest case is yet to come. With Dr. Murchison(Leo G Carroll) being forced into retirement a new chief of staff will be arriving. It is the esteemed Dr Edwards(Gregory Peck)who takes over. It is not long before Edwards and Constance find themselves attracted to one another, and it is not long before Constance figures out that Edwards is not really who he says he is. He displays signs of paranoia and amnesia and it is possible that he murdered the real Dr. Edwards.They are on the run to try to solve the case but as the original theatrical poster says,"Will he Kiss me or Kill me?"(The DVD comes with a mini version of this poster).
You'll be awed Hitch's definitive style of camera angles, shadow and lights, romance and a unique dream sequence designed by Salavdor Dali. Not to mention all the wonderful talent that graces this film. Bergman and Peck make screen magic together, Carroll is a legend and this film shows us why.Also starring is Rhonda Flemming,Michael Chekhov, and Wallace Ford. The music by Miklos Rozsa also adds greatly to the building tension, and romantic scenes in the story.
Looking for Hitch: About :40 minutes in, you may see him if you're quick!
It never ceases to amaze me that we are lucky enough to be able to see these great classics as they were first seen and with the added treat of the origianl theatrical Overture.(I will be adding this one to my listmania of "Old Movies That Look Great on DVD") Now, if you are looking for special features, this DVD does not have any, there is another version by Criterion that offers more in the way of extras,although quite a bit more expensive.(Criterion also does great transfers)Which ever you choose, this a a must have for fans of Hitch, Bergman or Peck.
So don't worry about trying to over anaylze this one....As Hitch himself said "It's just a movie." But a GREAT one! So enjoy!.........more info
- A glimpse of a bygone era
Starring Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck, this 1945 movie reflects the nation's love affair with Freudian psychology an gives me a clearer understanding of way our culture looked at psychology throughout my childhood. . Looking back now, it all seems rather naive, but way back it 1945, it was a way of explaining the mysteries of behavior and a breakthrough in modern thought. No wonder we grew up true believers
The story held my interest but certainly was not one of Hitchcock's best.
It just hints at the kind of tension that Hitchcock later mastered, moves much too slowly, and keeps taking time to explain to the audience just what psychology is and how it helps people.
Bergman is a good actress and lights up every scene. Gregory Peck is weaker, and the role he plays casts him as wimp. It's a role that some men might have declined to play during that period of time, and it is to his credit that he took it on.
A film like this makes me realize just how far the pendulum has swung in our attitudes towards psychology in general and how much of the Freudian logic is still etched deeply on our consciousness. For that reason, I recommend it as glimpse of a bygone era, and to experience Ingrid Bergman at a high point in her career....more info
- Much-Maligned Hitchcock Classic Has Enough Cinematic Bravado to Satisfy Fans
There is one scene in Alfred Hitchcock's 1945 classic that epitomizes what's both cinematically unique and logically wrong about the whole venture. Late in the story, comely therapist Dr. Constance Petersen and her inadvertent patient John Brown (or is it Dr. Anthony Edwardes?) set off skiing on an empty, pristine slope in Gabriel Valley. The two attractive stars are obviously shot standing still against an aggressive wind machine in front of a moving screen matte of the Alpine scenery. It's really a concurrently thrilling and silly-looking shot designed to build suspense, and it's easy to dismiss its artifice until it all ends in a key revelation. The rest of the movie suffers from the same conflicting dilemma, i.e., isolated moments of cinematic bravado that interweave with a preposterous Baroque-level storyline.
Written by Ben Hecht and Angus MacPhail, the plot begins with the staff of a country asylum awaiting the arrival of Dr. Edwardes to replace the retiring Dr. Murchison. Enter a man who thinks he's Edwardes until it becomes clear that the real Edwardes has been murdered. In the meantime, the normally reserved Dr. Petersen has become drawn to the young Edwardes doppelganger, who becomes her patient and then her lover. When he is accused of the murder, the couple go on the lam in her desperate hope of finding the truth about his identity and who the murderer really is. Just like Hitchcock's first American picture, the 1940 classic "Rebecca", this film was produced by David O. Selznick in his trademark glossy manner, but this time, Selznick appears more confident about his director's abilities as Hitchcock's atmospheric touches are more abundant here. There is even a surreal dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali and one hilariously effective metaphor of doors opening when the lovers kiss. George Barnes' deep-focus cinematography, Miklos Rozsa's evocative music (though a bit too macabre at times) and James Basevi's art direction are all first-rate.
As Petersen, Ingrid Bergman is saddled with a role that has her explaining and probing ad nauseam, but somehow her natural luminescence comes through her professional exterior. Gregory Peck, on the other hand, is more problematic as the traumatized hero since he has to convince us that he could be a murderer when his young and naturally stalwart manner makes such dire emotions rather incredible. Smaller roles are filled expertly with layered work from Leo G. Carroll as Murchison and Michael Chekhof as Peterson's eccentric mentor. In the impressive Hitchcock canon, it is a highly stylized but ultimately middling effort. The double-sided Criterion Collection DVD, however, is an unequivocally superb package starting with a pristine print transfer. It contains an informative commentary track by film scholar Marian Keane, a multi-media feature ("A Nightmare Ordered by Telephone") on the Dali dream sequence, a 1973 audio interview with Rosza and a 1948 radio broadcast with Joseph Cotten and Alida Valli in the lead roles....more info
- Spellbinding Intrigue!
Who else but Alfred Hitchcock could set a romance in a metal institution and make it work marvelously? Gregory Peck arrives at Green Manors, as the new director, Dr. Edwards. His behavior is somewhat odd and begins to arouse suspicion amongst the staff. Dr. Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman), a staff psychiatrist, begins to realize that he is an impostor, and most likely an amnesiac. But there is one small problem: she's fallen in love with him. Constance's love for Peck becomes all consuming and she is determined to find out the mystery surrounding him and the real Dr. Edwards. Peck's character believes he has killed Dr. Edwards, but Constance thinks otherwise and she brings Peck to former mentor Dr. Alex Brulov (Michael Chekhov) for his help. After staying the night, Peck recalls a dream he had, which Dr. Petersen and Dr. Brulov interpret. Convinced that Peck is not a murderer, they try to discover what really happened to Dr. Edwards and why Peck impersonated him. The dream sequences were created by Salvador Dali and they add a sophisticated polish to the narrative. You expect drama, intrigue, and complexity from Hitchcock and we get it in spades (or should I say clubs; it will make sense when you see the film). Bergman is luminous and completely believable as Constance, and Peck is on target as the confused amnesiac. The cinematography in this film is used to great dramatic effect, with many extreme closeups of Bergman and Peck, who both communicate more with their facial expressions than most actors do with words. Chekhov is wonderful as Bergman's former professor whose paternal affection for Bergman is quite touching. There is a great scene early in the film with Rhonda Fleming, as a man hating temptress, and Bergman that sets the stage for things to come. With all this talk about Freud and psychoanalysis, Spellbound is still at its core a love story. The deeper in love with Peck that Bergman becomes, the more her womanly emotions, seemingly long pent up, are released. As she helps Peck on his road of self-discovery, she seems to also help herself down that same road. Made during Hollywood's golden years, produced by David O. Selznick, and starring two of film's all-time great movie stars, Spellbound is a movie that grows more and appealing as the years go by. If you enjoy this film, you probably will like Marnie, which is similar in many ways only it's the man helping the woman discover the underlying truth behind the falsehood. A great double feature....more info
- The movie I couldn't put down!
This movie is one of the best murder-love mysteries I have ever seen. Gregory Peck stars as a 'psychiatrist' with a troubled past. Ingrid Bergman, a real psychiatrist, falls in love with him and tries to uncover the murder that he is accused of commiting. Hitchcook does it again! Brilliant!...more info
- Great Hitchcock Movie!
In my opinion, "Spellbound" is one of Hitchcock's most underrated films. It was a great movie, from teh romance to the suspense Hitch is so famous for. The score for the movie is also great (It won an Academy Award!) The romance in this movie is also great, it's very innocent and sweet. "Spellbound" is enjoyable as a romance or as a suspense thriller. The POVs are great. How many times do I have to say "great" to convince you? It is a really good film and I really don't know why it hasn't gained as much fame as Hitchcock's other movies, because I really think it belongs up there. Although it has a few flaws-some cheesy scenes- it's still a very good movie. Go and buy it now!...more info
- Bad psychology, great movie
As a Movie -- "Spellbound" is a true Hitchcock masterpiece, however flawed. The plot's a good deal of fun: Bergman portrays an icy Freudian psychotherapist who falls in love with an amnesiac played by Gregory Peck. Since Peck is suspected of murder, Bergman must crack his amnesia using Freudian therapy while they're on the lam. Much of your enjoyment will depend on your willingness to suspend disbelief over some hilariously dated Freudian concepts. (Come on, does anybody really believe anymore that dream analysis can cure serious mental troubles?)
Luckily, Bergman and Peck overcome the movie's silly psychological underpinnings with their intensely melodramatic acting. Plus, all the things you love about Hitchcock are present, from the usual dramatic tension following characters running from the authorities to splendidly arty sequences such as Salvador Dali's dream segment.
As a DVD -- Anchor Bay has gone "bare bones" with these early Hitchcock films, so don't expect a DVD with loaded extras like "North by Northwest." Don't let that dismay you, however. After all, the movie looks gorgeous and sounds pristine given it's age. With that, who needs extras?...more info
- A Masterpiece!
In my opinion, although the film has less of the Hitchcock touch than other films, notably Rear Window, Psycho, North by Northwest, and Vertigo, probably due to the shared partnership with producer David O. Selznick, it still is one of the most interesting films ever made. The dialogue is well written, the cinematography gorgeous, the dream sequence a masterpiece within itself, and the score is beautiful. This film is not Hitchcock's best, in my opinion that's shared by Vertigo, Psycho, and Rebecca. However this film is good entertaiment and, as the title suggests, Spellbinding. Criterion has done, as expected, a bang up job on the DVD release of the film. The packaging is gorgeous, the extras are incredibly in-depth and numerous. However, the video transfer is not as good as Criterion's transfers of Rebecca, Notorious, and The Lady Vanishes. Watch this film, you WILL NOT be dissappointed!...more info
- And old-fashioned thriller...
Ingrid Bergman delivers a captivating performance as a hard-nosed psychoanalyst whose shell is finally broken by Gregory Peck, the suave new chief of staff at her mental clinic. Their love is quickly realized, only to be confounded by Peck's emerging mysterious behavior. His condition progresses into a complex inner struggle of which Bergman is determined to find a cause.
Bergman challenges Peck's hidden "guilt complex", providing clues to Peck's history. As the secrets of his amnesia are revealed, his behavior becomes more dangerous. However, instead of turning away from him, Bergman's new-found ability to love drives her even more doggedly to get to the root of Peck's turmoil. Peck's famous dream sequence, designed by artist Salvador Dali, is the puzzle that we as the audience must put together along with Bergman.
When you think the story is resolved, a great twist is thrown in...a classic Hitchcock tale. This movie clearly demonstrates that a great story is timeless, and its old-fashioned thriller style certainly lends a refreshing charm. Highly recommended!...more info
- An excellent treat!
This movie is spectacular! One of the best Alfred Hitchcock movies. Ingrid Bergman is a great actress in this movie. Gregory Peck is also a great actor. This movie is a great thriller. The score is also wonderful that it won the 1945's Best Score. This movie also has the famous Salvador Dali dream sequence. This is excactly what you expect from The Master of Suspense. Alfred Hitchcock is known for his cleverness in his films. This film is very clever. Only Alfred Hitchcock could creat such a film with dramatic action and feelings. This movie deserves five stars. Go see it!...more info
- The touches are here:
the suspenseful off screen murder, camera angles, a cool, classy leading lady & let's not forget the obligatory train scene. A typical Hitchcock psychological thriller. This time, literally. Salvadore Dali was brought in for some surealistic dream sequences. Ingrid Bergman is the beautiful shrink Dr. Peterson. Gregory Peck arrives as her new boss, Dr. Anthony Edwards. Or is he? The real Dr. Edwards has been killed & Peck has assumed his identity. He thinks he may be the killer. One problem. He has amnesia. But Dr. Peterson, up to this time, an ice princess has warmed to Peck & doesn't believe he could have done it. She has fallen in love with him & they spend the rest of the movie trying prove his innocence. It's easy to figure out who the murderer but it's a well done, entertaining movie in any case. I saw this movie only once & don't have a copy. I missed Hictcock's cameo. Any help? ...more info
*** This comment may contain spoilers ***
Described by its creator as "just another manhunt story wrapped in a pseudo-psychoanalysis", "Spellbound" is spellbinding. One of the reasons I wanted to see it was, of course, the nightmare dream sequences designed by Salvador Dali but the movie offers so much more. Young and beautiful Ingrid Bergman plays the psychiatrist, Dr. Constance Petersen who fells in love with the new director of a mental institution she works for, Dr. Edwards (29 -years-old Gregory Peck in his early screen appearance was so handsome that I had difficulties following the plot twists watching him and Bergman on the screen together :)). Dr. Edwards soon turns to be an impostor, an amnesiac, and a suspect in the murder of a real Dr. Anthony Edwards. It is up to Dr. Peterson, the psychiatrist and the woman in love to discover the truth about 'J.B.', John Ballantine aka John Brown and his role in the Dr. Edwards' murder. Very dark, very moody, with Hitchcock's subtle touches of humor (provided by Michael Chekhov as Dr. Brulov), with dramatic and unsettling music score (MiklĘ«s RĘ«zsa received Oscar for the Best Music), "Spellbound" is a classic and one of the Master's finest films.
- Flips The Script With A Vengeance!
I know full well that this 1945 thriller is not considered to be among Hitchcock's best, and is often found wanting when compared to his other works-like Notorious, for example. However, Spellbound is my favorite Hitchcock film, one of the reasons being that it flips the script on what is typically done in the cinema.
Usually in movies it is the damsel who is in distress, and the hero who must rescue this poor woman, but in this story it is the man who is in dire straits and the heroine who is the rescuer. The character of JB is a beautiful, troubled, vulnerable, and possibly dangerous young man who desperately needs the woman he's fallen in love with to save his life-even though he may fight her at times. I also love the fact that JB, as portrayed by Gregory Peck, looks every inch the conventional hero-tall, dark, handsome, broad shouldered, seemingly cool and self confident-but his exterior deceives. Mr. Peck plays his role to sweet perfection, as does Ms. Bergman as Dr. Constance Petersen-the woman who risks her career, and possibly her very own life, to save JB. Bergman's character is incredibly strong to go through what she does in this film, and she is perhaps the smartest character in the movie( except for Dr.Bruloff, "the Biggest Brain in all of Science!").
And could any movie pairing then, or today, beat Bergman and Peck as a couple? They are, not only the best looking pair that I've ever feasted my unworthy eyes upon, but their chemistry is amazing. There is a profound sweetness and a desperate yearning between them that I can only compare to tunnel vision-only they exist and to hell with everyone else!
Spellbound is a haunting love story and an edge- of -your- seat thriller that is my favorite thriller! It's such a pity that Bergman and Peck never did another movie together. Oh, well. You can't have them all, as they say....more info
- Ingrid always leaves me "spellbound"
Since the time I first viewed the wondrous Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, I have decided she is the most beautiful woman ever to have graced the movie screen. Spellbound is not just about Ingrid, the tale of intrigue and mystery twists and turns in an astounding array of character and imagery.
Most people praise the movie for it's Salvador Dali scene, superb as it was, one scene can never make a movie a classic. The performances offered by Peck and Bergman are supreme, with a real passion the story flies away on wings of romance that will never quite be, returning to suprise with one of the best twists hollywood has known.
I cannot finish without quoting my favourite line, when asked what kind of sandwich she would like, Ingrid looks up to the clear skies and replies with great passion "liverwurst"....more info
- Spellbound won't leave you spellbound, but it's fun even so
Spellbound is an amusing yet unmistakeably Hitchcock movie with many flaws. This is certainly not on the top-10 Hitchcock list as some reviewers have claimed, and its utterly dated subject matter is laughable, but it is fun to watch nevertheless (if just to make fun of it). The scene when Bergman and Peck are skiing down the hill is hilarious because it is clear that the images of Bergman and Peck were simply cut-and-pasted right over the picture of a ski hill. But the movie is fun, and the ending is not bad. Rent it, but don't buy the DVD. At least, not yet. I hear the Criterion version is going to be released (with the red frame!) sooner or later....more info
- Good Hitchcock
Very good movie from Hitchcock. One of the first movies to delve into psychology. Peck and Bergman are very good. Dali dream sequence of some renown and interest....more info
- 3 stars out of 4
The Bottom Line:
Spellbound is not one of Hitchcock's best (the psychoanalysis angle is pretty dated and it never generates a high level of tension) but it's a well-made mystery with several standout scenes and an inspired Dali dream sequence....more info
- selznick/hitchcock = yuck
all through the 40's hitchcock teamed up with mr. david o. selznick who, while making him well-known in the US, also managed to have him make horrible movies. his worst movies came out during this period. unfortunately this is one of them, and it's very terrible. extremely talky, ridiculous, boring, and it goes nowhere. the only thing of note is that salvador dali designed a dream sequence in the movie which, while it's not amazing or groundbreaking, is still interesting (think 5000 fingers of dr. t). not even worth a watch...more info
- Flawed but still a classic...
This movie has several flaws, but the great performances of its stars and Hitchcock's clever direction make it a classic, and great fun, anyway! First off - even though most of Hitchcock's films have aged well, this one hasn't. Its biggest problem is that the silly psychology reminds you constantly when the movie was made. Additionally, if you are a big Hitchcock fan, be forewarned that this is not as thrilling as some of his other films. Instead, it is more oriented towards romance and bad ideas about psychology.
Pretty much, Spellbound is about a icy, analytical psychologist (Ingrid Bergman) who runs off with a patient who was posing as the new director of the mental institute (Gregory Peck). As they attempt to keep away from the police, who want to arrest Peck, Bergman tries to "cure" him using psychoanalysis (it's tough not to laugh during these scenes).
Anyhow, all in all, this is great entertainment. The Salvador Dali dream sequence, which is famous, is rightly so - and the music, acting, and cinematography combine to make a great atmosphere. The movie is still pretty exciting and Bergman and Peck give great performances and make a nice couple. Even though this is not Hitchcock at his typical best, it's a good movie and deserves a viewing regardless of its silly ideas....more info
- Milk with bromide, anyone?
I had a nice review all written out for this movie. Now I can't find it to type it up. So I'll just start all over again. This is a nice, romantic, suspenseful movie with two very charming people in the lead, that is, Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck... as well as some humourous minor characters such as Dr Brulov, the bug-eyed man at the train station, and the house detective at the Empire State Hotel. Dr Murchison is sufficiently villainous. I never suspected him for a minute until the end. Now no matter where I see him in various movies, I always say, "There's Dr Murchison!" He'll never be anyone else to my mind.
I think Dr Constance Peterson's devotion to her beloved patient is quite touching, regardless of the fact that in reality psychiatrists aren't supposed to run off with patients, whatever the reason. Ingrid is chilly at first but as she melts down she is quite convincing. John may be a bit spacey at times, but he's amnesiac - what else can you expect? I think he's a pretty nice guy with and without memory, and both he and Ingrid wear some pretty nice outfits throughout.
The two policemen who are waiting in Dr Brulov's parlour amuse me as well, because even in 1945, mothers seemed to be a Hitchcock motif. The one policeman talks about how his mother needs to move to Florida. I don't remember any appearances of birds, but that doesn't mean there weren't any.
Other favourite moments... When Constance and John are at Dr Brulov's house and John gets up in the middle of the night and turns on the bathroom light, the montage of all the white things was so well done. It makes you feel like if you keep seeing white, you're going to go crazy, and you're glad when John runs out of the bathroom. I also like the dinner scene when Constance makes the lines with her fork. When they are on the train and he is obsessively watching her cut her meat, I wondered if maybe he really was a lunatic after all and guilty of the murder. Also I liked the skiing scene... even though the background was so obviously fake.
This is my favourite Hitchcock movie. Not one that I watch every day, or even every month, but very moving every time I do see it....more info
- Overacting 101
I always try to catch as many old movies as I can. Even with America's reluctance to see older films, especially black and white ones, I enjoy seeing what else famous people have been in. Often a lot of gems are found, but I didn't have that feeling with "Spellbound".
This is supposed to be one of those Hitchcock thrillers where people keep digging deeper and deeper into a mess that they can't seem to get out of. It's certainly one of them. The beautiful Ingrid Bergman plays a psychiatrist who's work is so important she just doesn't think about dating. Until a new doctor comes to her hospital. It's Gilligan! No, it's Gregory Peck, who looked just like Gilligan when he (Peck) was young. These two fall for each other in exactly one day. Sure. But Hitchcock needed to move the plot along, so he gets rid of any real courtship.
We find out that all is not as it seems with Gilligan. Is he a doctor? Is he the doctor they think he is? Is he a good guy or bad guy? These are all presented more or less fairly well. But while movies may not be any better plot-wise these days, the execution of them, in my opinion, sure has gone up. As movie-making still wasn't that sophisticated a craft, I suspect stage actors were still used as stars. Which might explain why just about every actor has to make sure they beat their point over your head before moving on. Same with the soundtrack. I guess it got an Oscar nomination, but the same with the acting. The violins got so intense while trying to heighten a dramatic scene I thought they were going to come alive and enter the movie.
I like my Hitchcock, but he should have given the audience a little credit for having some brains to figure out things for themselves with this one....more info
- Ingrid and Gregory make a classy couple!
Spellbound remains a wonderful, romantic, suspenseful mystery despite the passage of time. Both Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck have such class and make a seemingly unlikely yet compelling match. After all opposites attract, don't they? While Alfred Hitchcock would go on to make even better films this remains a solid effort with enchanting results. Listening to people complain about the "bare-bones" DVD from Anchor Bay is amusing. The picture and sound quality are dazzling. Maybe they should remember that most of us shelled out more for VHS copies of Hitchcock films that didn't look this good on the first viewing and it was all down hill from there. While I agree extras are wonderful to have, especially considering the capacity of DVD, also remember the price! I got mine on sale, delivered no less, and the old adage of you get what you pay for is still true. Now the good news! The Criterion Collection is going to release this film at the end of September 2002. It is going to contain quite a bit in the way of extras, but with a price-tag to match. Even heavily discounted it will be triple what I paid for the Anchor Bay edition. Either way you go, I still recommend all fans of Hitchcock to buy one of these DVD's (or both if you a major fan like me) and enjoy the show!...more info
- Superb Psychological Thriller
Green Manors mental hospital is about to change management. The previous director Dr. Murchison has been worn-out from his job and is being replaced by Dr. Edwards (Gregory Peck), a famous psychiatrist who is well published. At the arrival to Green Manor Dr. Edwards meets the attractive Dr. Petersen (Ingrid Bergman), who is a determined scientist that does not let anything in between her and her work. However, the arrival of Dr. Edwards changes things for her and she ends up falling in love with him. It appears that Dr. Edwards is not who is supposed to be. He appears to be a pretender who suffers from amnesia and paranoia. As he escapes from Green Manor the police are contacted and he becomes a suspect in the murder of the real Dr. Edwards. An affectionate and loving Dr. Petersen is determined, based on her intuition, that he is innocent, which she is determined to prove while attempting treat the stranger's condition. Spellbound is a highly suspenseful thriller that provides many opportunities for suspicion and uncertainty. This leaves the audience with a brilliant cinematic experience, which will keep them in apprehension until the end....more info
- Not my favorite Hitchflick by a long shot.
Spellbound (Alfred Hitchcock, 1945)
I often feel like an iconoclast when it comes to Alfred Hitchcock movies. While some of them are brilliant, I have found that the ones most loved by critics everywhere leave me not cold, exactly, but wondering what all the fuss is about. Spellbound joins these ranks. It's a good movie, to be certain, but one of the best ever made? I'm not even sure it's one of Hitchcock's five best.
The plot: Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) is a young doctor at a mental institution whose head, Dr. Murchison (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s Leo G. Carroll), is retiring. Arriving to replace him is one Anthony Edwardes (Gregory Peck). Petersen is powerfully attracted to Edwardes, which causes her no amount of conflict when she finds out that Edwardes may not be who he says he is.
Yeah, it works. Of course it does, it's Alfred Hitchcock. However, it feels at times-- especially during the first hour-- that Hitchcock hadn't quite decided whether he wanted to make his usual thriller or wanted to simply delve into romance territory. And it's not the idea that it's Hitch doing a romance that doesn't work, it's the indecision of the thing, which leads at times to the movie having all the pace of a snail on quaaludes. Once it gets going, it's as fine as any piece of Hitchcockiana, but it does take a while to get going. ***...more info
- Wonderful, Even If Hitch wasn't a Psych. Student
Easily Hitchcock's best movie. As a psychology major, I cannot stress enough the fact that many liberties are taken with Freudian psychoanalysis. If you don't use this movie to form your opinion about Freud and just enjoy it for what it is, you can't go wrong with this movie....more info
Very good movie. It is one of Hitcock's top 4 or 5 movies. It is very entertaining, suspensful, and has great acting....more info
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