Drawing on psychoanalysis to frame a transcendent love story, Alfred Hitchcock's SPELLBOUND is a mind-bending study of just how far people might go to escape trauma or to pursue passion. Gregory Peck is introduced as Dr. Edwardes, the newly arrived director of a mental asylum. However, when Edwardes starts displaying strange behavior in a meeting with the staff, Dr. Constance Peterson (Ingrid Bergman) begins to suspect that all is not right with him. Edwardes proves to actually be John Ballantine, a patient suffering from amnesia--and a consuming dread in relation to the missing Dr. Edwardes... . As suspicion of murder falls over Ballantine, the icy Peterson finds herself growing more and more emotionally attached to him and more and more convinced that curing his amnesia is the key to proving his innocence. Retreating to an upstate residence, Peterson enlists the help of leading psychoanalyst Dr. Brulov (Michael Chekhov). Pursuing the truth of the mysterious disappearance of Dr. Edwardes leads deep into the tangled mindscape of Ballantine and proves that danger is very close indeed. To illustrate the psychological journey Ballantine undergoes, the film includes a captivating dream sequence designed by the legendary surrealist painter Salvador Dali."
In 1945, Freud & Co were beginning to have a profound influence on American thinking, so armed with a script by Ben...
In his eagerness to make the first serious film about psychoanalysis, Alfred Hitchcock so diluted the fantastical elements in Francis Beeding's novel The House of Dr Edwardes, all that remained was a melodramatic plot and an awful lot of psychobabble. Not even dream sequences designed by Salvador Dali could enliven the turgid script, made all the less palatable by the robotic performance of Gregory Peck as the amnesiac trying to unravel his troubled past with the help of sympathetic shrink, Ingrid Bergman. Hitch himself was disappointed with the picture, but there are enough masterly touches to prevent the attention from straying too far.
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