October 31, 1945
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
What is ‘Spellbound’ about?
When famous psychiatrist Dr Anthony Edwardes (Gregory Peck) arrives at Green Manors Mental Asylum to replace retiring head, Dr Murchison (Leo G. Carroll), Edwards and staff psychiatrist Dr Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) fall in love. It soon becomes apparent to Petersen that Edwardes is not who he says he is and is, in fact, John ‘J.B.’ Ballentyne, a paranoid amnesic imposter and a possible murderer. Consequently, Petersen and Edwardes go on the run so that she can psychoanalyze him and, hopefully, answer the question of what happened to the real Dr Edwardes.
What does the opening caption say?
It reads: “Our story deals with psychoanalysis, the method by which modern science treats the emotional problems of the sane. The analyst seeks only to induce the patient to talk about his hidden problems, to open the locked doors of his mind. Once the complexes that have been disturbing the patient are uncovered and interpreted, the illness and confusion disappearand the evils of unreason are driven from the human soul.”
The dream sequence was designed by surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, and was originally supposed to run slightly longer. It included a scene in a ballroom with hanging pianos and still figures pretending to dance, folled with J.B. dancing with Dr. Peterson who turns into a statue. It was cut from the final film, due to lack of time, to appropriately build the set to scale (little people were used in the background to give the illusion of perception, which did not satisfy Alfred Hitchcock or Dali). Only part of it was filmed, and even less of it ended up in the release version.
About Salvador Dali
Alfred Hitchcock was a big admirer of Salvador Dalí‘s work and realized that no one understood dream imagery better. David O. Selznick was opposed to using Dalí from an expense point of view, until he realized the marketing mileage that could be gained from such a hiring.
Alfred Hitchcock himself referred to the film as “just another manhunt wrapped up in pseudo-psychoanalysis.”
The shot where the audience sees the killer’s view down a gun barrel pointing at Peterson was filmed using a giant hand holding a giant gun to get the perspective correct.
One of the first Hollywood films to deal with psychoanalysis.
“My dear, it’s only a movie.”
David O. Selznick wanted much of the film to be based on his experiences in psychotherapy. He even brought his psychotherapist in on the set to be a technical advisor. Once when she disputed a point of fact with Alfred Hitchcock on how therapy works, Hitchcock said, “My dear, it’s only a movie.”
Alfred Hitchcock persuaded David O. Selznick to buy the rights to the novel for $40,000.
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
The Shakespeare quotation at the start of the film is an abbreviated version of something that Cassius says to Brutus in Act 1 Scene 2 of the play Julius Caesar.[section label=”RT/Meta Critic Review”]
RT/Meta Critic Review
It has a lot of great stuff..(Click here to see)