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SPELLBOUND

Director: ALFRED HITCHCOCK

111 minutes| U.S.A.| 1945| Black and White| 35mm Notes by Neil Sinyard


This film screened in April 2010.

‘Will he kiss me or kill me?’ was the original poster tagline for Spellbound, showing an apprehensive Ingrid Bergman in the arms of a preoccupied Gregory Peck, who is holding Bergman with one hand and an open razor with the other. It is a familiar dilemma for a Hitchcock heroine. Here, Bergman’s psychiatrist has fallen for Peck’s doctor, who is a suspected murderer and amnesiac with recurrent nightmares that hold the clue to his past history. With a sequence designed by Salvador Dali and a sumptuous Oscar-winning Miklos Rozsa score, this was Hitchcock’s biggest hit of the 1940s and has many audacious visual flourishes: fork-lines on a linen tablecloth that will trigger Peck’s trauma; a succession of opening doors as the couple first kiss; and a fine scene in a white bathroom where Peck, enacting the fear that roams Bergman’s subconscious, discovers the terror that can lurk in everyday objects.

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