The Master of Suspense.

I am on a mission to watch everything Alfred Hitchcock ever made.

The last Hitchcock film I saw was Spellbound (1945) starring Ingrid Bergman and the wonderful Gregory Peck. Aside being a Hitchcock picture, I was drawn to the film because of Salvador Dali’s participation. I think Dali is a genius.

The film is about a man (Gregory Peck) who has lost his memory due to some traumatic event and has now assumed the identity of of a certain Doctor. This doctor has been selected to run the clinic where Ingrid Bergman works as a psychoanalyst, as the clinic’s current head has been asked to retire due to problems of his own. Gregory shows up at the hospital and has everyone fooled for a while, until his own demons reveal that he is an imposter. He flees. By this time Ingrid has fallen in love with him (of course), and she goes after him, determined to help me recover his memory and deal with his troubles. The film sees them trying to dodge the police, as they try to uncover the mystery of what happened to the real doctor.

Now to the famed dream sequence.

In an attempt to retrieve his memories, Ingrid makes Gregory repeat his dreams to her. This is where the magnificent Dali comes in. He creates wonderful surrealist images, in the way that only Dali could. I only wish I could have seen the dream sequence in colour. The dream, while interesting, made little sense to me, until the end when Gregory gets his memory back.

Spellbound is a decent film. I imagine some people may not appreciate Spellbound as much as some of Hitchcock’s other works, possibly because of its strong psychoanalytic theme. I personally liked it, and I was fascinated by the workings of the mind. I did find it a bit silly, in the way that films from that era are silly; characters falling in intense love after knowing each other for a mere twinkling. I guess I need to fully suspend my belief and allow myself to be swept up in the romance.

If you have seen Spellbound, let me know what you thought of it.

P.S: I recently found out that Hitchcock often made cameo appearances in his films. How did I never notice him? Now I feel I have to rewatch the films I have seen and look carefully.

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