Spellbound (1945)

DailyView: Day 252, Movie 352

Snow day!

With bad road conditions outside, the DailyView continued on with the week of Hitchcock as I watched the 1945 film, Spellbound on YouTube. It starred Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman.

Dr. Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) was a psychoanalyst at Green Manors, a mental hospital in Vermont. At the hospital, the director was Dr. Murchison (Leo G. Carroll) who was being forced to retire after a nervous exhaustion. He was to be replaced by Dr. Anthony Edwards (Gregory Peck), a young doctor who immediately started showing some cracks.

Dr. Petersen started to have feelings for Edwards, and she figured out the shocking twist, he was not the real Dr. Edwards. He was an amnesiac who could not remember who he was or what he did. He believed that he possibly had killed the real Dr. Edwards.

Dr. Petersen was convinced that he had not killed Edwards and she pursued him to New York in an attempt to prove his innocence.

Admittedly, the perception of the female doctor is different in the 1940s than it would be today so many of the comments leaned more toward misogamy than it would today, meaning that a good chuck of this movie does not work as well today. Many of Hitchcock’s films could fall into this category of not holding up because of outdated thoughts about women. But overlooking that, Ingrid Bergman does bring a strength to a character that may not have as much on the page as one might expect. Add to that the fact that Gregory Peck showed several moments of weakness and was more of the damsel in distress than Bergman was, perhaps this is more of a step than first considered.

The film has some wonderful POV shots, in particular one at the very end that was extremely effective and, actually, a bit disturbing. Hitchcock brought some really awesome moments of imagery in a film that could have just been a typical thriller. He lined the story with a lot of psychological drama and the scene with the dream was expertly shot and was completely engaging.

I did like the resolution of this movie and I found the relationship between Peck and Bergman to be excellent. I found Peck’s freakout moments to be very scary and intense and I was not sure what it meant. Peck was vey effective.

Spellbound received several Oscar nominations and they were all very well deserved. It is a difficult movie to find, but it is a great movie to watch if you can find it.

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