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Spellbound (1945 Film)

Spellbound (1945 Film)

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Published by: galegator on Jul 04, 2013
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Spellbound (1945 film)1
Spellbound (1945 film)
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Alfred Hitchcock 
Produced by
David O. Selznick 
Screenplay by
Angus MacPhailBen Hecht
Story by
Hilary Saint George SaundersFrancis Beeding
Ingrid BergmanGregory Peck Michael ChekhovLeo G. CarrollRhonda Fleming
Music by
Miklós Rózsa
George Barnes
Editing by
Hal C. Kern
Selznick International Pictures
Distributed by
United Artists
Release date(s)
December 28, 1945
Running time
111 minutes
United States
US$1.5 million
Box office
US$6,387,000 (by 1947)
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, GregoryPeck, 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 ShakespeareThe film opens with Shakespeare's proverb, and words on the screen announcing that its purpose is to highlight thevirtues of psychoanalysis in banishing mental illness and restoring reason.Dr. Constance Petersen is a psychoanalyst at Green Manors, a mental hospital in Vermont, and is perceived by theother (male) doctors as detached and emotionless. The director of the hospital, Dr. Murchison, is being forced intoretirement, shortly after returning from an absence due to nervous exhaustion. His replacement is the much youngerDr. Anthony Edwardes.
Spellbound (1945 film)2Dr. Petersen notices that there is something strange about Dr. Edwardes. He has a peculiar phobia about seeing setsof parallel lines against a white background, first displayed after seeing a diagram drawn with the tines of a fork on atablecloth. 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 anddoes 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 StateHotel 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 psychoanalyticskills to unlock his amnesia and find out what had really happened. One of Hitchcock's characteristicinnocent-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 dreamthat '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 manfalling off a building, a man hiding behind a chimney dropping a wheel, and wings. They deduce that Brown andEdwardes had been on a ski trip together (the lines in white being ski tracks) and that Edwardes had somehow diedthere. Dr. Petersen and Brown go to the Gabriel Valley ski resort (the wings provide a clue) to reenact the event andunlock 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 fromhis childhood
he slid down a hand rail and accidentally knocked his brother onto sharp pointed railings, killinghim. This incident had caused him to develop amnesia and a generalized guilt complex. He also remembers that hisreal name is John Ballantyne. All is understood now, and Ballantyne is about to be exonerated, when it is discoveredthat 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 manhiding behind thechimney and dropping the wheel was Dr. Murchison hiding behind a tree, shooting Dr. Edwardesand dropping the gun. She confronts Murchison with this and he confesses, but says that he didn't drop the gun; hestill has it. He pulls it out of his desk and threatens to shoot her. She walks away, the gun still pointed at her, andexplains that while the first murder carried extenuating circumstances of his own mental state, murdering her as wellwould result in the electric chair. He allows her to leave and turns the gun on himself. Dr. Petersen is then reunitedwith Ballantyne.
Ingrid Bergman as Dr. Constance PetersenGregory Peck as Dr. Anthony Edwardes / John BallantyneMichael Chekhov as Dr. Alexander 'Alex' Brulov, a teacher of Dr. PetersonLeo G. Carroll as Dr. Murchison, the head of Green ManorsRhonda Fleming as Mary Carmichael, a patient in Green ManorsJohn Emery as Dr. FleurotSteven Geray as Dr. Graff Paul Harvey as Dr. HanishDonald Curtis as Harry, a staff of Green ManorsNorman Lloyd as Mr. Garmes, a patient in Green ManorsBill Goodwin as House detective of Empire State HotelWallace Ford as Stranger in Empire State Hotel Lobby
Spellbound (1945 film)3Art Baker as Det. Lt. CooleyRegis Toomey as Det. Sgt. Gillespie
The Maddest Love that ever possessed a womanWill he kiss me... or kill me?
caused major contention between Alfred Hitchcock and producer David O. Selznick. Hitchcock'scontract with Selznick began in March 1939, but only resulted in three films:
(1940) and
The ParadineCase
(1947) being the other two. (
was sold to RKO in mid-production.) Selznick wanted Hitchcock tomake a movie based upon Selznick's own positive experience with psychoanalysis. Selznick even brought in histherapist, May Romm M.D., who was credited in the film as a technical adviser. Dr. Romm and Hitchcock clashedfrequently.
citation needed 
Further contention was caused by the hiring of surrealist artist Salvador Dalí to conceive certain scenes of mentaldelusion. Hitchcock himself had very little to do with the actual filming of the dream sequence. Selznick thought thatit 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 theRoman 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 setdesigns 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, Rózsawas hired, winning the Academy Award for his score.
Although Rózsa considered
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 sawhim since."
was filmed in black and white, except for one or two frames of bright red at the conclusion, when a gunis fired into the camera. This red detail was deleted in most 16mm and video formats, but was restored for the film'sDVD release and airings on Turner Classic Movies.
Intrada Records released an album of a re-recording by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra of the film's completescore . The album featured music not heard in the finished film.

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