It’s been a while since I’ve done a Hitchcock film. He’s the most prolific director on the list, and after two marathons and plenty of other opportunities to review his films I am down to just two remaining. I’ll save the one I’ve seen before for later; for now, I’ll cross the last one off my list and finally sit down to watch Spellbound, which stars Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck. The theme this time is another mental illness film, like The Snake Pit or Shock Corridor, and indeed the film features some trippy footage in the dream sequences (courtesy of Salvador Dali), but the core of the film is Hitchcock through and through.
As usual, Hitchcock recedes into the background and lets the film do the talking for him; his direction is barely noticeable, and aside from the dialogue, the film is rather quiet and only uses its music when it needs to, making a point of it whenever it appears. Most of the music hefts up the romantic aspects of the film, and this film has that in spades; no wonder Selznick reunited Hitchcock and Bergman in next year’s Notorious, as both that and that film are probably the most overtly romantic in Hitch’s career, even with the weird factor of amnesia and possible murder involved in this film’s romantic couple. Bergman is eerily sultry as a reserved, psychoanalytical woman, and Peck plays his amnesia well in his interactions with her, and in ways, with himself.
This one delves into melodrama a few more times than I felt comfortable with, and it relies a little too heavily on the crutch of the amnesia mystery, but it does keep the movie going forward, at least. The dream sequence seemed a bit odd considering the rest of the film up to then had been mild and normal, but a little artistic license never really hurt anyone. Or then again, I might just be making up excuses to save a Hitchcock film; I did like this one, but I felt it just barely covered the investment made to watch it. Indeed, if a handful of Hitch films were to be culled from the list, I’d nominate this one fairly early on, but don’t let that detract you from giving it a go; it’s still a decent puzzler of a drama, albeit without much rewatchability to it.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10