Spellbound (1945)

spellbound poster 1945 movie alfred hitchcock
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great visuals, classic Hitchcock

Rushed ending

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Spellbound

Studio:  Selznick International Pictures

Genre(s):  Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  October 31, 1945

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Ok, you thought you had weird dreams

A man (Gregory Peck) shows up at a mental hospital impersonating a famous psychologist named Dr. Anthony Edwards.  When Dr. Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) falls in love with him, she decides to try to help him when his lies are exposed by Dr. Murchison (Leo G. Carroll). The man is suffering from amnesia and is accused of killing the real Edwards.  Now it is a race against time for to find the man’s true identity and what it happened to Edwards.  Constance and the man (now calling himself John Brown) set out to uncover John’s past with the help of Constance’s teacher Dr. Brulov (Michael Chekhov) before the police find him.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Spellbound was well received and based on the 1927 novel The House of Dr. Edwardes by Hilary Saint George Saunders and John Palmer.  Spellbound followed Hitchcock’s Bon Voyage in 1944, and won an Academy Award for Best Music (Scoring) and was nominated for Best Cinematography (Black & White), Best Director, Best Picture, Best Effects, and Best Supporting Actor (Michael Chekhov).  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #136).


I can’t help thinking you’re pointing at me

The movie looks great.  It has a lot of fun inventive shots in true Hitchcock style.  Shots like through the milk glass, behind the gun, and replays of Peck’s dream (with imagery by Salvador Dali) are different and exciting for the time. The movie also has some shots that don’t hold up well including the skiing scenes with video behind them.  Peck and Ingmar look like they are going down a rather intense mountain at a resort (which humorously leads to a giant cliff…poor resort planning), but and look like they aren’t even trying.

Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck are fun in the title roles.  This was the first of three films with Hitchcock (followed by Notorius in 1946 and Under Capricorn in 1949). I actually wish she had made more films with Hitchcock, maybe some of his later ones, just to see where they had developed…of course she doesn’t fit his normal profile for Hitch’s girls (blonde).  Peck later did The Paradine Case in 1947, but like Ingrid, it also would have been good to have Peck return for a role in one of his later movies since I’ve always felt he was a lot like Jimmy Stewart.


There’s Hitch!

The story is typical Hitchcock with twists and turns. The start of the film easily could have had impersonating the doctor for the plot, but it is quickly exposed as a fraud. The movie then could just be all about uncovering Peck’s past, but then takes a big turn in the final fifteen minutes. What could have been more of a major plotline feels a bit rushed to wrap up the story and needs some developing.

I have a hard time faulting any Hitchcock.  This is a good one with a lot of classic Hitchcock touches.  It has a fun cast and though the story slows at some points and rushes at other points, it is compelling.  Hitchcock followed Spellbound with Notorious in 1946.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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