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Spellbound (The Criterion Collection)


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Spellbound (The Criterion Collection) + Notorious
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov, Leo G. Carroll, Rhonda Fleming
  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Angus MacPhail, Ben Hecht, Frances Beeding, Hilary St. George Sanders, John Palmer
  • Producers: David O. Selznick
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion / Vid Canada
  • Release Date: Oct. 1 2002
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006FMDV
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #66,015 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

Dr. Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) is a psychiatrist with a firm understanding of human nature-or so she thinks. When the mysterious Dr. Anthony Edwardes (Gregory Peck) becomes the new chief of staff at her institution, the bookish and detached Constance plummets into a whirlwind of tangled identities and feverish psychoanalysis, where the greatest risk is to fall in love. A transcendent love story replete with taut excitement and startling imagery, Spellbound is classic Hitchcock, featuring stunning performances, an Academy Award(r)-winning score by Miklos Rozsa, and a captivating dream sequence by Surrealist icon Salvador Dali.

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Alfred Hitchcock takes on Sigmund Freud in this thriller in which psychologist Ingrid Bergman tries to solve a murder by unlocking the clues hidden in the mind of amnesiac suspect Gregory Peck. Among the highlights is a bizarre dream sequence seemingly designed by Salvador Dali--complete with huge eyeballs and pointy scissors. Although the film is in black and white, the original release contained one subliminal blood-red frame, appearing when a gun pointed directly at the camera goes off. Spellbound is one of Hitchcock's strangest and most atmospheric films, providing the director with plenty of opportunities to explore what he called "pure cinema"--i.e., the power of pure visual associations. Miklós Rózsa's haunting score (which features a creepy theremin) won an Oscar, and the movie was nominated for best picture, director, supporting actor (Michael Chekhov), cinematography, and special visual effects. --Jim Emerson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Simon Davis on July 5 2004
Format: VHS Tape
The words "Directed by Alfred Hitchcock", in the opening credits always alerts me to the fact that I am possibly about to see something special up on the screen no matter what the genre. This legendary director put his stamp on a large number of classic films such as "Rebecca", "Notorious",and "Rear Window". With "Spellbound", Hitchcock made cinematic history by beginning his successful collaboration with favourite leading lady Ingrid Bergman that also produced the classic "Notorious", co starring Cary Grant. Ingrid Bergman here has a most challenging vehicle as a dedicated psychiatrist who through psychoanalysis attempts to uncover the dark secret life of an amnesia victim that possibly involves murder. Bergman here shows what total emersion into a character can do for the conviction of a story and the results are most satisfying in what was to become one of her many fondly remembered roles by fans and critics alike.
The action begins at Green Manors Psychiatric Sanitarium where there is a change occuring in the head personnel with the "retirement", of facility head Dr Murchison (Leo G. Carroll), after a bout of illness. His replacement a Dr. Anthony Edwardes is due to arrive shortly and in the meantime we are introduced to young psychiatrist Dr. Constance Peterson, (Ingrid Bergman), an all business enthusiast of psychoanalysis totally dedicated to her job. When Dr. Edwardes arrives however all is not well and not only does he appear to be far too young for such an important role but he has a number of "spells", where his own mental health is called into question. Constance finds herself experiencing an immediate attraction to this strange young man who before long she realises is not actually Dr.
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Format: DVD
What's remarkable about "Spellbound"--aside from wonderful performances by stars Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck--is that despite its foundation in psychology for plot, it never devolves into the dark, pretentious psychobabble of contemporary films. Instead, the framework of a brilliant man (Peck) suffering from amnesia that results from a murder he may have committed is just that--a framework for what is essentially a mystery-love story. And it works because of Alfred Hitchcock's dream-like direction and the chemistry of its eminently watchable stars. Less film noir and more expressionism, the film delights in a terrific atmosphere of the strange, including a brief but interesting animated sequence by Salvador Dali. Nonetheless, the main characters are always warm and sympathetic. Add Miklos Rosza's elegant score (which will remind some viewers of his work 30 years later on "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes") and the result is an often overlooked masterpiece from an era of great films.
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Format: DVD
Although not up to the standard of Notorious, Hitchcock's Spellbound had a number of interesting elements. The film stars Gregory Peck as Dr. Edwardes the head of a new mental institution. He's immediately smitten with Dr. Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman in her first of three Hitchcock films)and she with him. There's just one problem; Dr. Edwardes isn't Dr. Edwardes at all but an imposter suffering from amnesia. Constance tries to use psychoanalysis to help uncover who her mysterious new love is and just what has happened to the real Dr. Edwardes. The faux Edwardes is suspected of murdering the real Dr. and suddenly their both trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together while on the run.
Spellbound was the second film that Hitchcock made directly under producer David O. Selznick (Foreign Correspondent, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Susicion, Saboteur and Shadow of a Doubt were all made while out on loan to other studios)and Hitch's vision was somewhat compromised by Selznick's interference. The budget was cut, a minute of the famous Dali dream sequence was hacked out along with about twenty minutes of Hitch's footgage were sacrificed as well. Despite all these set backs, Spellbound works due to Bergman and Peck's uneasy performance as "Edwardes". Peck was a second choice for the role; originally Hitchcock wanted Cary Grant for the role but Grant's salary demands and lack of committment to the project meant that the two weren't going to collaborate on this film. This was only Peck's third film but he pulls off the difficult role.
The Criterion transfer is sharper than the soft looking Anchor Bay edition. Personally, I prefer the crisper looking Criterion transfer but it's all a matter of preference. The extras here aren't as interesting as some of the other Criterion releases.
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Format: DVD
Perhaps it's understandable that Hitchcock had reservations about this film-- "Notorious" is more truly dreamlike in its sheeny darkness and ruthless forward momentum. And the splendid aesthetic elements in "Spellbound", including Miklos Rozsa's unforgettable score, the famed Dali designs, and the George Barnes/Rex Wimpy cinematography, don't congeal into as splendidly gothic an artifice as "Rebecca". But "Spellbound" is still a terrifically entertaining, and subtly intelligent, film. That intelligence manifests itself best in the subversive ridicule that Hitchcock and Ben Hecht deal out to the chauvinist swine who Ingrid Bergman's Dr. Constance Peterson encounters casually and professionally-- including her harumphing mentor (played with defining neurotic zeal by Michael Chekhov) and even her ornery patient and lover (played by the young Gregory Peck). The opening sequences are the film's most delirious, culminating in Dr. Petersen's yielding to the compulsion to open "Dr. Edwardes"s door, an act which climaxes with the opening of several other doors-- here Hitchcock's use of pure cinema is more spectacularly surreal than anything on loan from Salvador Dali. While the rest of "Spellbound" may fall a little too clumpily into long scenes where pseudo-pop-Freudian psychology is used to decode Peck's predictably strange recollections, it is certainly a very watchable, and rewatchable film. Though not a masterpiece, "Spellbound" is a Hitchcock classic, an evocative and lasting triumph among his immortal series of romantic thrillers.
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