Spellbound (1945 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Produced by||David O. Selznick|
|Screenplay by||Angus MacPhail
|Story by||Hilary Saint George Saunders
Leo G. Carroll
|Music by||Miklós Rózsa|
|Editing by||Hal C. Kern|
|Studio||Selznick International Pictures|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Running time||111 minutes|
|Box office||US$6,387,000 (by 1947)|
Spellbound is a 1945 American psychological mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It tells the story of the new head of a mental asylum who turns out not to be what he claims. The film stars Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov and Leo G. Carroll. It is an adaptation by Angus MacPhail and Ben Hecht of the novel The House of Dr. Edwardes (1927) by Hilary Saint George Saunders and John Palmer (writing as "Francis Beeding").
The Fault... is Not in Our Stars,
But in Ourselves...—William Shakespeare
Dr. Constance Petersen is a psychoanalyst at Green Manors, a mental hospital in Vermont, and is perceived by the other (male) doctors as detached and emotionless. The director of the hospital, Dr. Murchison, is being forced into retirement, shortly after returning from an absence due to nervous exhaustion. His replacement is the much younger Dr. Anthony Edwardes.
Dr. Petersen notices that there is something strange about Dr. Edwardes. He has a peculiar phobia about seeing sets of parallel lines against a white background, first displayed after seeing a diagram drawn with the tines of a fork on a tablecloth. Dr. Petersen soon realizes, by comparing handwriting, that this man is an impostor and not the real Dr. Edwardes. He confides to her that he killed Dr. Edwardes and took his place. He suffers from massive amnesia and does not know who he is. Dr. Petersen believes that he is innocent and suffering from a guilt complex.
'Dr. Edwardes' disappears during the night, having left a note for Dr. Petersen that he is going to the Empire State Hotel in New York City. It becomes public knowledge that 'Dr. Edwardes' is an impostor, and that the real Dr. Edwardes is missing and may have been murdered.
Dr. Petersen goes to the Empire State Hotel, knowing that the police are in pursuit. She uses her psychoanalytic skills to unlock his amnesia and find out what had really happened. One of Hitchcock's characteristic innocent-person-pursued-by-the-police evasions ensues, as Dr. Petersen and the impostor (who now calls himself 'John Brown') travel by train to Rochester, to meet Dr. Brulov, who had been Dr. Petersen's teacher and mentor.
The two doctors analyze a dream that 'John Brown' had. The dream sequence (designed by Salvador Dalí) is full of psychoanalytic symbols—eyes, curtains, scissors, playing cards (some of them blank), a man with no face, a man falling off a building, a man hiding behind a chimney dropping a wheel, and wings. They deduce that Brown and Edwardes had been on a ski trip together (the lines in white being ski tracks) and that Edwardes had somehow died there. Dr. Petersen and Brown go to the Gabriel Valley ski resort (the wings provide a clue) to reenact the event and unlock his repressed memories.
Near the bottom of the hill, Brown's memory suddenly returns. He recalls that there is a precipice in front of them, over which Edwardes had fallen to his death. He stops them just in time. He also remembers a traumatic event from his childhood—he slid down a hand rail and accidentally knocked his brother onto sharp pointed railings, killing him. This incident had caused him to develop amnesia and a generalized guilt complex. He also remembers that his real name is John Ballantyne. All is understood now, and Ballantyne is about to be exonerated, when it is discovered that Edwardes had a bullet in his body. Ballantyne is convicted of murder and sent to prison.
A heartbroken Dr. Petersen returns to her position at the hospital, where Dr. Murchison is once again the director. After reconsidering her notes from the dream, Dr. Petersen realizes that the 'wheel' was a revolver and that the man hiding behind the chimney and dropping the wheel was Dr. Murchison hiding behind a tree, shooting Dr. Edwardes and dropping the gun. She confronts Murchison with this and he confesses, but says that he didn't drop the gun; he still has it. He pulls it out of his desk and threatens to shoot her. She walks away, the gun still pointed at her, and explains that while the first murder carried extenuating circumstances of his own mental state, murdering her as well would result in the electric chair. He allows her to leave and turns the gun on himself. Dr. Petersen is then reunited with Ballantyne.
- Ingrid Bergman as Dr. Constance Petersen
- Gregory Peck as Dr. Anthony Edwardes / John Ballantyne
- Michael Chekhov as Dr. Alexander 'Alex' Brulov, a teacher of Dr. Peterson
- Leo G. Carroll as Dr. Murchison, the head of Green Manors
- Rhonda Fleming as Mary Carmichael, a patient in Green Manors
- John Emery as Dr. Fleurot
- Steven Geray as Dr. Graff
- Paul Harvey as Dr. Hanish
- Donald Curtis as Harry, a staff of Green Manors
- Norman Lloyd as Mr. Garmes, a patient in Green Manors
- Bill Goodwin as House detective of Empire State Hotel
- Wallace Ford as Stranger in Empire State Hotel Lobby
- Art Baker as Det. Lt. Cooley
- Regis Toomey as Det. Sgt. Gillespie
- The Maddest Love that ever possessed a woman
- Will he kiss me... or kill me?
Spellbound caused major contention between Alfred Hitchcock and producer David O. Selznick. Hitchcock's contract with Selznick began in March 1939, but only resulted in three films: Rebecca (1940) and The Paradine Case (1947) being the other two. (Notorious was sold to RKO in mid-production.) Selznick wanted Hitchcock to make a movie based upon Selznick's own positive experience with psychoanalysis. Selznick even brought in his therapist, May Romm M.D., who was credited in the film as a technical adviser. Dr. Romm and Hitchcock clashed frequently.
Further contention was caused by the hiring of surrealist artist Salvador Dalí to conceive certain scenes of mental delusion. Hitchcock himself had very little to do with the actual filming of the dream sequence. Selznick thought that it was not Dalí's fault, for his work was much finer and much better for the purpose than he ever thought it would be, and although much of Dalí's work was used, one dream sequence depicting Bergman turning into a statue of the Roman goddess Diana was cut. Ingrid Bergman is quoted in the Hitchcock biography The Dark Side of Genius (1983) by Donald Spoto that the Dalí sequence ran for almost 20 minutes before it was cut by Selznick.
The cut footage apparently no longer exists, although some production stills have survived in the Selznick archives. Eventually Selznick hired William Cameron Menzies, who had worked on Gone With the Wind, to oversee the set designs and to direct the sequence.
The film boasts an orchestral score by Miklós Rózsa notable for its pioneering use of the theremin, performed by Dr. Samuel Hoffmann. Selznick originally wanted Bernard Herrmann but when Herrmann became unavailable, Rózsa was hired, winning the Academy Award for his score. Although Rózsa considered Spellbound to contain some of his best work, he said "Alfred Hitchcock didn't like the music - said it got in the way of his direction. I never saw him since."
Spellbound was filmed in black and white, except for one or two frames of bright red at the conclusion, when a gun is fired into the camera. This red detail was deleted in most 16mm and video formats, but was restored for the film's DVD release and airings on Turner Classic Movies.
|Intrada Records Album|
|1.||"Main Title; Foreward"||3:13|
|5.||"The Awakening; Love Scene; The Dressing Gown; The Imposter - Parts 1 & 2; The Cigarette Case"||16:49|
|7.||"The Empire Hotel"||1:22|
|8.||"The Burned Hand - Parts 1 & 2"||2:29|
|9.||"The Penn Station"||2:44|
|11.||"Honeymoon At Brulov's; The White Coverlet; The Razor - Parts 1 & 2; Constance Is Afraid"||10:03|
|12.||"Constance And Brulov - Parts 1 & 2"||4:15|
|13.||"Gambling Dream; Mad Proprietors Dream; Roof-Top Dreams"||2:37|
|14.||"Dream Interpretation - Parts 1 & 2; The Decision"||6:10|
|15.||"Train To Gabriel Valley"||1:23|
|16.||"Ski Run; Mountain Lodge"||5:51|
|21.||"End Title - Short"||0:24|
Hitchcock's cameo appearance is a signature occurrence in almost all of his films. In Spellbound, he can be seen coming out of an elevator at the Empire State Hotel, carrying a violin case and smoking a cigarette, about 37 minutes into the film. The trailer for Spellbound's original theatrical release in America made a great deal of fuss over this cameo, showing the footage twice and even freeze-framing Hitchcock's brief appearance while a breathless narrator informs us that this ordinary-looking man is the film's director.
It earned rentals of $4,975,000 in North America.
Spellbound won the Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, and was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Chekhov); Best Cinematography, Black-and-White; Best Director; Best Effects, Special Effects; and Best Picture. Ingrid Bergman did not receive an Academy Award nomination for the film, although she was nominated the same year for The Bells of Saint Mary's. She received the New York Film Critics' Circle Award for Best Actress for the film in 1945.
Adaptations in other media 
See also 
- "SPELLBOUND (A)". British Board of Film Classification. 1946-01-30. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
- David Thomson, Showman: The Life of David O. Selznick, Abacus, 1993 p 445
- Spoto, Donald (1999). The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock. Da Capo. p. 277. ISBN 0-306-80932-X.
- "Miklós Rózsa - Biography". Retrieved 2009-12-21.
- "Spellbound". Intrada Records. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
- "All-Time Top Grossers", Variety, 8 January 1964 p 69
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Spellbound (1945 film)|
- Spellbound at the Internet Movie Database
- Spellbound at the TCM Movie Database
- Spellbound at Rotten Tomatoes
- Spellbound Criterion Collection essay by Leonard Leff
- Spellbound Criterion Collection essay by Lesley Brill
- Spellbound at Eyegate Gallery
- Spellbound Concerto by Miklós Rózsa Music to the film arranged by Rózsa
- Spellbound on Lux Radio Theater: March 8, 1948