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Spellbound (Criterion Collection) (1945)

Cast: Ingrid Bergman, Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, more...
Director: Alfred Hitchcock, Alfred Hitchcock
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Criterion Collection
Running Time: 111 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
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This title is currently out of print.

As Alfred Hitchcock's classic psychothriller opens, the staff of a posh mental asylum eagerly awaits the arrival of the new director. When the man in question shows up, it turns out to be handsome psychiatrist John Ballantine (Gregory Peck). But something's wrong, here: Ballantine seems much too young for so important a position; his answers to the staff's questions are vague and detached; and he seems unusually distressed by the parallel marks, left by a fork, on a white tablecloth. Dr. Constance Peterson (Ingrid Bergman) comes to the conclusion that Ballantine is not the new director, but a profoundly disturbed amnesiac--and, possibly, the murderer of the real director. But is she correct in her inferences? Scriptwriters Angus MacPhail and Ben Hecht soon add to this the complication that Constance begins to fall in love with John. Director Hitchcock tapped surrealist artist Salvador Dali to design the visually arresting dream sequences in the film. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

This dvd is currently out of print and we only have a limited number of rental copies. Thank you for your patience.

Special Features:

  • Commentary by Hitchcock scholar Marian Keane
  • "A Nightmare Ordered by Telephone," an illustrated essay on the Dali-designed dream sequence by James Bigwood
  • Complete 1948 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation starring Joseph Cotten and Alida Valli
  • Excerpts from a 1973 audio interview with composer Miklos Rozsa

GreenCine Member Reviews

A Maverick's Darkling Vision (Freud Notwithstanding) by WimsWings April 2, 2007 - 12:37 AM PDT
Spellbound is the first Hitchcock title I've rented from the esteemed Criterion series, and I'm already hunting around to see what else is available...Strangers on a Train, perhaps? It was, in fact, the latter title - one of those Film Studies compulsories - that ended up leaving a mark with its noir-ish twinning and the director's psychological bent.

While Spellbound mines similar themes - specifically how appearances never tell the whole story - the whole is decidedly more pedigreed with the addition of Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck (even with a seemingly elusive mad man lurking about a mental asylum). Adapted from the "Francis Beeding" novel The House of Dr. Edwardes, Spellbound is that iffy gambit known as a contractually bound vanity project i.e. David O. Selznick wanted Hitchcock to direct a film based on the studio head's own experience with psychoanalysis.

In return we get a narrow character study of a professional woman who dives headlong into romance with a man she hardly knows, while a bunch of male colleagues cluck their tongues and share a wink at the expense of Bergman's otherwise stolid analyst. Of course, Peck is ideal as the handsome man who may not be who he says he is. But the surrealistic dream sequence conceived by Salvador Dali - much embattled according to the DVD extras - was probably not part of Selznick's vision. In spite of its penchant for allowing a woman to only inhabit either a professional role or a romantic one, lest she lose her head, Spellbound has much to recommend, including a stylish screen couple, one particularly inspired camera vantage and Dali's intriguing set piece.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.19)
341 Votes
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