Pscyhoanalysis was coming to the mainstream in the 1940s when Hitchcock started working on Spellbound. He collaborated with the famous surrealistic artist, Salvador Dali to create the elaborate dream sequences for the film. It holds up amazingly well and even though the film tends to have more of a dramatic quality, the dreams certainly are worth watching, not only in filmmaking, but in artistry.
In the film, Dr Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) meets a man who is accused of murder (Gregory Peck) and attempts to help him get his memory back, all the while falling in love with him. This story is more love-at-first-site as the two explore his "guilt complex" to attempt to uncover the truth.
This film relies more on location shooting, except for a unbelievably terrible skiing scene that is downright hilarious. Besides that, there are some very cool shots of inside the Empire State Building and Penn Station in New York. The music is also very dramatic and this is one of the very first films featuring the theremin, and it's incredibly powerful when something triggers the patient's memory.
Again, the Bluray although not perfect, it does highlight the dream sequences quite well and is again, a premium viewing experience.
Theatrical release - 1945, Blu-ray January 24th, 2012
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Written by: Ben Hecht (screen play), Frances Beeding & John Palmer & Hilary St. George Sanders (suggested by novel "The House of Dr. Edwardes"), Angus MacPhail (adaptation by), May E. Romm (contributing writer: foreword) uncredited
Featuring: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov
Plot: A female psychiatrist protects the identity of an amnesia patient accused of murder while attempting to recover his memory.
Academy Award Winner: Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, MiklÃ³s RÃ³zsa
Academy Award Nominations: Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Michael Chekhov; Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, George Barnes; Best Director, Alfred Hitchcock; Best Effects, Special Effects, Jack Cosgrove (photographic); Best Picture, (Selznick International Pictures)
The Commentary with Author and Film Professor Thomas Schatz & Film Professor Charles Ramirez Berg, each from the University of Texas-Austin is enjoyable because you have the perspectives of two different people and it's more of a discussion. They do tend to talk more about the film in general and don't comment too much on the scene at hand though.
If you choose to watch only one special feature, watch this one: Dreaming with Scissors: Hitchcock, Surrealism and Salvador Dali. It's the closest thing you'll get to deleted scenes, as there are also stills of the other sections of the dream sequence that did not make it into the film.
Guilt by Association: Psychoanalyzing Spellbound is just under 20 minutes and explains the context of the film as therapy was more in the public eye due to the trauma after World War II. David O. Selznick related to the story of Spellbound, as his analysis was actually listed as an advisor. Since You Went Away (1944) and Let There Be Light (1946) are two World War II documentaries, the latter was not released for over 30 years due to it's striking authenticity of shell shock in war veterans. Several interesting facts are given, such as how Spellbound was the first Hollywood film to show psychoanalysis.
One of the young actresses in the beginning of the film is given her own short featurette, A Cinderella Story: Rhonda Fleming, and talks about how she was hired and her role in the film. My favorite story from this: Ingrid Bergman met Rhonda's husband when the Hollywood actress was entertaining the troops, then called to tell Rhonda that he was alright and that she told him how wonderful it was to work with his wife.
The 1948 Radio Play, Starring Joseph Cotten and Valli (aka Alida Valli), is an interesting feature and really takes you back in time.
You can listen to an original recording when Peter Bogdanovich Interviews Hitchcock. I love that these pieces were preserved and are being rediscovered.
I always enjoy watching the Original Theatrical Trailer, to see how different they are from today. It's quite eye-opening to see how trailers have evolved.
Review by Melissa Hanson
Please comment or email me at contact @ melissa-hanson.com. And donâ€™t forget to follow me on Twitter @DialMForMelissa