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Showing 1-10 of 27 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
on June 13, 2004
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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on June 25, 2003
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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on March 23, 2003
Green Manors mental hospital is about to change management. The previous director Dr. Murchison has been worn-out from his job and is being replaced by Dr. Edwards (Gregory Peck), a famous psychiatrist who is well published. At the arrival to Green Manor Dr. Edwards meets the attractive Dr. Petersen (Ingrid Bergman), who is a determined scientist that does not let anything in between her and her work. However, the arrival of Dr. Edwards changes things for her and she ends up falling in love with him. It appears that Dr. Edwards is not who is supposed to be. He appears to be a pretender who suffers from amnesia and paranoia. As he escapes from Green Manor the police are contacted and he becomes a suspect in the murder of the real Dr. Edwards. An affectionate and loving Dr. Petersen is determined, based on her intuition, that he is innocent, which she is determined to prove while attempting treat the stranger's condition. Spellbound is a highly suspenseful thriller that provides many opportunities for suspicion and uncertainty. This leaves the audience with a brilliant cinematic experience, which will keep them in apprehension until the end.
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on December 6, 2002
This review refers to the Anchor Bay release of the "Spellbound" DVD....
Anchor Bay has done it again. This 1945 classic directed by Alfred Hitchcock, was beautifully transfered onto this DVD. The black and white images are sharp, crisp, and clear. Barely a sign of this film's age. The sound remastered in Dolby Dig 2.0 is great. If you're a fan of this film, you'll be thrilled at how good it looks.
Haven't seen it yet, but love Hitch, or maybe it's been a while since you have?....Here's a little of this riveting story.....
The beautiful Ingrid Bergman plays the distant psychiatrist Dr. Constance Petersen. She treats a number of troubled patients at the Green Manors Mental Asylum, but her toughest case is yet to come. With Dr. Murchison(Leo G Carroll) being forced into retirement a new chief of staff will be arriving. It is the esteemed Dr Edwards(Gregory Peck)who takes over. It is not long before Edwards and Constance find themselves attracted to one another, and it is not long before Constance figures out that Edwards is not really who he says he is. He displays signs of paranoia and amnesia and it is possible that he murdered the real Dr. Edwards.They are on the run to try to solve the case but as the original theatrical poster says,"Will he Kiss me or Kill me?"(The DVD comes with a mini version of this poster).
You'll be awed Hitch's definitive style of camera angles, shadow and lights, romance and a unique dream sequence designed by Salavdor Dali. Not to mention all the wonderful talent that graces this film. Bergman and Peck make screen magic together, Carroll is a legend and this film shows us why.Also starring is Rhonda Flemming,Michael Chekhov, and Wallace Ford. The music by Miklos Rozsa also adds greatly to the building tension, and romantic scenes in the story.
Looking for Hitch: About :40 minutes in, you may see him if you're quick!
It never ceases to amaze me that we are lucky enough to be able to see these great classics as they were first seen and with the added treat of the origianl theatrical Overture.(I will be adding this one to my listmania of "Old Movies That Look Great on DVD") Now, if you are looking for special features, this DVD does not have any, there is another version by Criterion that offers more in the way of extras,although quite a bit more expensive.(Criterion also does great transfers)Which ever you choose, this a a must have for fans of Hitch, Bergman or Peck.
So don't worry about trying to over anaylze this one....As Hitch himself said "It's just a movie." But a GREAT one! So enjoy!......
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on September 1, 2002
Spellbound remains a wonderful, romantic, suspenseful mystery despite the passage of time. Both Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck have such class and make a seemingly unlikely yet compelling match. After all opposites attract, don't they? While Alfred Hitchcock would go on to make even better films this remains a solid effort with enchanting results. Listening to people complain about the "bare-bones" DVD from Anchor Bay is amusing. The picture and sound quality are dazzling. Maybe they should remember that most of us shelled out more for VHS copies of Hitchcock films that didn't look this good on the first viewing and it was all down hill from there. While I agree extras are wonderful to have, especially considering the capacity of DVD, also remember the price! I got mine on sale, delivered no less, and the old adage of you get what you pay for is still true. Now the good news! The Criterion Collection is going to release this film at the end of September 2002. It is going to contain quite a bit in the way of extras, but with a price-tag to match. Even heavily discounted it will be triple what I paid for the Anchor Bay edition. Either way you go, I still recommend all fans of Hitchcock to buy one of these DVD's (or both if you a major fan like me) and enjoy the show!
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on August 30, 2002
For me, this is one the most entertaining films made by Hitchcock. It also represents a unique moment in Film History, where five unique minds joined forces to deliver a true masterpiece in the American Cinema: Alfred Hitchcock, David O. Selznick (producer), Ben Hecht (screenwriter), Miklos Rozsa (composer) and Salvador Dali. All of them masters on their own field.
The story revolves around a beautiful (but cold) psychiatrist (Bergman) who works in a mental asylum and her attempt to uncover the truth about a amnesiac impostor (Peck) with whom she happens to be in love with. As she goes deeper and deeper into her patient's mind she discovers that he may be unwantingly hiding the true identity of a murderer. Danger seems innevitable as the pacient is accused of being a dangerous murder - will she end up as his next victim?
Being a briliant piece of classic narrative, SPELBOUND is also a film where all the elements are first rate: Cinematography, Music, Screenplay, Costumes and Casting. The tension around the film is beautifully constructed and the climax is very potent.
Salvador Dali's dream scenes are beautifull and surreal. They give the most perfect setting for the enigmatic configuration of Gregory Peck's apparently irrational dreams. The freudian interpretations may be dated, but this is fiction (and Hitchcock makes it delightfully believable). Dali's vision is simply astounishing. Unfortunatelly the full original sequence was trimmed before its original release and that unsused footage is lost. But the remaining scenes are still impressive.
This CRITERION edition is highly superior to all other available editions for its superior image and sound quality. Is also comes with an impressive pack os extras such as lots of photos, essays, a great commentary. The Lux Theatre radio version is a interesting piece of curio. Also worth of noting is the fact that some frames at the end of the film (a gun shot)are in color - a great idea from a director who loved to experiment.
This is one of my favorite Hitchcock black and white films. A true gem. Congratulations to Criterion. This is a great job!
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on June 17, 2001
Bergman and Peck make an off centered couple and never seem to hold that lustful glue that makes her pairing with Cary Grant so marvelous but there is something that draws the viewer to Peck. For this is the only film I have ever seen him in upon which his cold eyes and structured face seems to haunt you making everything he says unbelieveable and down right creepy and with a film built around his mysterious background it truly is visually stunning and keeps you glued to the edge of your seat!! Even after we learn that Bergman's character trusts this mystery man the viewer always will have second thoughts based on Peck's gravel voice and stoic apperance-at times you just sweat in anticipation of Peck's character at any moment just jumping up and killing Bergman off when ever they are alone in a room! It'sas if the devil (Peck) is teasing the angel(Bergaman)! Hitchcock also had the sense to allow the full interaction of shadows and light-just watch how Peck's character creeps down the stairs at a another doctor's upstate residence! The glare off the blade is menacing! The ending in true Hitchcock style is a mind blower and the turns and plot shifts upon plot shifts are truly unexpected this film is up there with Notorius and even surpasses it in terms of overall suspense! Great casting, script, and a great movie to watch but just not alone!
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on March 7, 2000
Spellbound is a fantastic movie and it is very difficult to describe it. When you see the movie you can easily be engulfed in a world where dream and reality melt together. The enthralling music of Rozsa underline very well romance and suspense, particularly when Gregory Peck holds a razor in the bedroom where Ingrid Bergman sleeps. The actors are very excellent, Gregory Peck is wonderful as a man trying to recover his memory and Ingrid Begman is perfect as cold psychoanalyst. The camera shot used by Alfred Hitchcock are very astonishing, the dream sequence and the murder of the little boy are breathtaking, at the end of the movie don't miss the fantastic scene with the "hand of the death". Don't believe idiots people who think the plot of the movie is too old for today standards, or the psychological story is idiot, these people lack of imagination, or perhaps they are trying to convince other people that today movies are better. If you think like that kind of people, you can watch more psychological movies like I Still Know what you did last summer or Basic instinct. For other people who enjoy good plot, characters and who like to open widely their imagination watch Spellbound which drives you at boundaries of dream.
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on May 20, 2003
In my opinion, although the film has less of the Hitchcock touch than other films, notably Rear Window, Psycho, North by Northwest, and Vertigo, probably due to the shared partnership with producer David O. Selznick, it still is one of the most interesting films ever made. The dialogue is well written, the cinematography gorgeous, the dream sequence a masterpiece within itself, and the score is beautiful. This film is not Hitchcock's best, in my opinion that's shared by Vertigo, Psycho, and Rebecca. However this film is good entertaiment and, as the title suggests, Spellbinding. Criterion has done, as expected, a bang up job on the DVD release of the film. The packaging is gorgeous, the extras are incredibly in-depth and numerous. However, the video transfer is not as good as Criterion's transfers of Rebecca, Notorious, and The Lady Vanishes. Watch this film, you WILL NOT be dissappointed!
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on August 13, 2000
In my opinion, "Spellbound" is one of Hitchcock's most underrated films. It was a great movie, from teh romance to the suspense Hitch is so famous for. The score for the movie is also great (It won an Academy Award!) The romance in this movie is also great, it's very innocent and sweet. "Spellbound" is enjoyable as a romance or as a suspense thriller. The POVs are great. How many times do I have to say "great" to convince you? It is a really good film and I really don't know why it hasn't gained as much fame as Hitchcock's other movies, because I really think it belongs up there. Although it has a few flaws-some cheesy scenes- it's still a very good movie. Go and buy it now!
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