Sunday, April 6, 2014

1945 - SPELLBOUND, another Hitchcock vs Selznick film collaboration


Spellbound made a lot of money for producer David Selznick.  Selznick had the idea of producing a thriller using Freudian psychoanalysis as a background.  Selznick had Alfred Hitchcock and Ingrid Bergman under contract and they were both hot proprieties.  Ben Hecht a legendary writer wrote the screenplay (which Selznick probably rewrote).   Since it was a Selznick production everything everything was at a very high caliber.  Watching it this weekend, Spellbound now comes off as a hopeless naive film with lots of unintentional laughs particularly at the expense of psychoanalysis.

Hitchcock brought in surreal artist Salvador Dali to help visualize the dream sequences but Selznick didn't really understand what Hitchcock and Dali were up to so he had the whole thing modified and reshot.  What's left of the dream sequences are probably the only interesting parts of the film.

Ingrid Bergman and Salvador Dali chat before filming a dream sequence that was cut by Selznick

It's well know that Hitchcock and Selznick fought throughout production of the film.  Selznick insisted on using his own psychiatrist Dr. May Romm as the technical advisor during the film.  Considering the ridiculous prattle that comes out of the mouth of Ingrid Bergman playing a therapist it's entirely understand that Hitchcock had a lot of concerns about the screenplay.

Spellbound is basically just a murder mystery with a bunch of psychiatric goobly gook double talk.  The film has a few Hitchcock touches but the film is a mess and has a real dated 1940's quality to it.

111 minutes.

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