Mesmerized (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Laughlin
Screenplay byMichael Laughlin
Story byJerzy Skolimowski
Produced byAntony I. Ginnane
StarringJodie Foster
John Lithgow
Michael Murphy
CinematographyLouis Horvath
Edited byPetra von Oelffen
Music byGeorges Delerue
RKO Pictures
Challenge Corporate Services
Distributed byThorn EMI Screen Entertainment (Australia)
Cannon Home Video (UK)
Vestron Pictures (US)
Release dates
  • November 18, 1985 (1985-11-18) (United Kingdom)
  • December 31, 1986 (1986-12-31) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes
United Kingdom
New Zealand
United States
Budget$4.2 million[1]

Mesmerized (also known as Shocked and My Letter to George) is a 1985 drama film directed by Michael Laughlin and starring Jodie Foster, John Lithgow and Michael Murphy.[2][3]

Loosely based upon the Pimlico mystery, the film was a co-production between Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States with RKO Pictures. The film was titled Mesmerized during production and upon release in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. It was released in the US in 1986 as My Letter to George, and elsewhere as Shocked.


An orphaned 18-year-old New Zealand girl marries a much older wealthy businessman. Strains soon develop between them, at great emotional and physical toll on them and those around them, from family and servants, to business and trade associates and clientele.

She proceeds to cultivate a game with him in which she reads to him and also hypnotizes him. While he is under hypnosis she feeds him chloroform, thus gradually poisoning him. He finally dies and she is arrested and accused of poisoning him. Although chloroform is found in his stomach, there is no proof that she was involved, so she is acquitted. She then leaves New Zealand with his brother George, whom she loves.

The film ends by stating that her story was "based on a real character, crime and trial" and that it was assumed that they had emigrated to America to begin a new life. She was 19 years old.



  1. ^ "Production Survey", Cinema Papers, August 1984, p. 259.
  2. ^ "Mesmerized (1984)". Archived from the original on 13 January 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  3. ^ Ed. Scott Murray, Australia on the Small Screen 1970–1995, Oxford Uni Press, 1996 p107

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