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4.5 out of 5 stars
Spellbound [1945] [DVD]
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2011
Anyone who has even a passing interest in psychology, and enjoys Alfred Hitchcock, should see this movie. Ingrid Bergman is sensational as the serious minded and unintentionally sexy psychiatrist, Contance Peterson, practicing at a mental institution. Gregory Peck is very convincing as the mysterious and peculiar Dr. Ballantine, who comes to work at the mental health facility. It becomes obvious that Ballantine, who turns out to be as troubled as many of his patients, was involved in a crime. Amnesia prevents him from remembering the details. Dr. Peterson, who falls deeply in love with him, is convinced that he is guiltless. She struggles to put together the puzzle that she believes will prove his innocence.

Jennifer K. Lafferty
Author of Offbeat Love Stories and More
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2010
`Spellbound' is best known as one Alfred Hitchcock's trippier films due to its involvement of Salvador Dali and storyline that centred on the brain and subconscious. However, just because Dali managed to design a couple of dream sequences does not mean that Hitchcock's fingerprints are not all over the film, as more than anything else, it is a solid thriller. The new head of psychiatric hospital Dr Edwardes is perhaps not what he seems at first, but this as not stopped the bookish Dr Constance Petersen falling for him. Can she prove his innocence when even Dr Edwardes is convinced that he may be a killer?

Taking the concept of trapped memories may not be a new idea, even in 1940s America, but Hitchcock paints the world of `Spellbound' in the new science of psychology. The medical clinic that houses the start of the film gives the concepts of repression and amnesia more gravitas than in most films that deal with some bloke forgetting something. It is genuinely interesting to discover what role Dr Edwardes played in a murder, if he is truly mad, or merely confused? Gregory Peck is a solid lead, is slightly dry. The same can be said for Ingrid Bergman as Dr Petersen; even though they dress her dowdy she does seem a little glamorous to be the book smart, but street naïve doctor.

What holds the film together is not the eccentric touches of Dali, nor the central performances. It is the story itself that works and keep you watching. As with many of his films Hitchcock spends most of the time allowing the story to breath and only throws in a cinematic trick once in a while. `Spellbound' is perhaps not the best Hitchcock film, but it still a very compelling slice of crime noir.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This is one of several Hitchcock films which have been released by Fremantle as having been "restored from the original negative and...also...digitally restored for optimum picture and sound quality". The results of the process used are patchy in the other films (Notorious [1946] [DVD] and Paradine Case [DVD] [1947]) resulting in a soundtrack which needs the volume turned up high and a rather 'soft' picture quality, but 'Spellbound' seems to have turned out best.

It's an everyday tale of psychiatrists at work and play in and around the Green Manors Mental Asylum, which is suddenly disrupted by the arrival of the famous Dr Edwards (Gregory Peck), who no one from the institution has ever met or seen before - or have they?

There then follows a love affair with Ingrid Bergman, dramatic handwriting comparisons, escape from the police, drugged milk, Peck wielding a cut-throat razor, gigantic 'prop' hands, Peck skiing down a mountain whilst still wearing his lounge suit, a single frame of colour (red) and the famous Salvador Dali "dream" sequence which is satisfyingly like one of his paintings come to life.

Magnificent fun in a decent print at a very attractive price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A solid, if not spectacular, blu ray version of Hitchcock's psychological melodrama. The definition and black levels vary tremendously and the score suffers a little too although it's fascinating to have both the overture and exit music contained on the disc. The extras are fascination and even if the plot isn't the Master's finest the luminous Ms Bergman and her co-star Gregory Peck are most impressive.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2006
It has been said to be one of Hitchcock's more interesting "failures". I loved it and I think the reason that it has been deemed a failure is because it doesn't consentrate on suspense as much as his others around that time. Plus David O. Selznick was not the best partner for Hitch and interfeered a lot.
The story revolves on the axis of psychoanalysis and maybe consentrates on the theme a little too much as Hitch was interested in the criminal mind. But it is obviously a classic Hitchcock and, contrary to another reviwer, has stood the test of time.
As for suspense, there are a number of obviouse occasions where it is being put to great use- With the gun at the end and the ski slope to name but two. And all through the movie there is a lingering shadow, or rather layer of dread that they may be found out before Peck is cured.
There are also some ingenuitive and ingenious Hitchcock moments; the milk glass and the flash of colour (in a black and white movie) as the gun is fired- from a great angle... plus Dali's dream sequence which is entrawling! Just one of those examples will definetly whet your apetite.
Ingrid Bergman is absolutly fantastic in this film; better, even, than in Notorious, and is a delight to watch. It will strike you straight away and she keeps it up throughout the entire picture.
Gregory Peck is, as always, a treat and matches Cary Grant as one of Hitchcock's top leading men.
The twists at the end are captivating and will get your pulse racing.
Maybe Hitchcock's most unusual U.S film and a must have for collectors and fans. It pairs well with the different but brilliant Notorious!
Nuff' Said!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2012
I enjoyed this film when I saw it on television many years ago and jumped at the chance to buy the DVD. The story is much as one would expect from a Hitchcock film; the acting is excellent, as one would expect from stars of the calibre of Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman. The Sigmund Freud character stands out too.
I was however disappointed to discover that while the film has been restored to its original pristine state, the sound leaves a lot to be desired.
I have poor hearing and strained to follow the dialogue, only to be knocked over the back of my chair by the teeth-rattling dramatic music that intruded at regular intervals.
The music is too loud and the film should have a subtitle option.
Pity really - I'd been looking forward to seeing it again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 2012
typically great hitchcock film I enjoyed the way it showed how two people can fall in love mainly because they cared about each other without all the gratuitous graphic sex scenes so prevalent in modern films.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2010
I already knew that I loved this film foremost the dream sequence especially made for this film by the great painter (in my mind)Salvidore Dali. As the video format will be no longer viable I wanted/required the dvd.

There is information on the main actors, notably, Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck which makes this dvd more collectable. As I also like the director Alfred Hitcock's work this is the start of my dvd collection of the films I admire best. One of them being "Marnie" with Tippi Hedren and one of the best loved 007 Sean Connery.
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on 10 November 2010
SPELLBOUND spellbinds despite obvious flaws such as the psychotherapy bit and a not too likely suicide. Apart from that, excellent photography, very assured and imaginative direction (though it borrows some ideas from Citizen Kane, notably the bit with all the doors opening), a handsome leading couple, and a quality support cast.

Though I could have done with some extras I found it well worth watching and seeing that the price is inviting I would recommend it.
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