Notorious: Celebrating the Ingrid Bergman Centenary: SPELLBOUND (1945) ★★★★★


Alfred Hitchcock, no doubt, is one of the best film-noir maker in film history. No one’s better than him at knowing how to present a film in a way that viewers will in no way predict what can happen next. Spellbound, directed in 1945, is the first role for Ingrid Bergman in Hitchcock’s film, and two more came in the form of Notorious (1946) and Under Capricorn (1949). In Spellbound the viewer gets a chance to follow how Ingrid Bergman will try to cure Gregory Peck from amnesia to find out that he is a murderer… but does she really be affected by it having already fallen madly in love with him?

Dr. Constance Peterson (Ingrid Bergman) is a young, but very gifted and insightful psychiatrist at Green Manors. She is very dedicated to her job so much so that it has locked her heart somewhere deep in her bright mind. But that will change very soon with appearance of a young and handsome head physician, Dr. Antony Edwards who finds a way to her heart without even a single attempt. Soon Constance finds out that a man who she in love with has amnesia, and believes that he murdered someone. In order to help him, she leaves the Green Manors for New York to solve the mystery that will lead both of them to romance.

Spellbound is visually stunning, and a truly beautiful film from the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. When film begins, we find Constance treating a patient using her psychoanalysis skills. But the woman who we meet in the beginning quickly disappears when she finds herself on her way not only to treat Anthony Edwards’ emotional problems, but also to unlock the door of his mind where she loses herself in it. It’s a well-crafted film, keeping suspense alive till the end, providing the solution the way Hitchcock usually does.

It’s also a special treat seeing Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck sharing scenes where one believes being a murderer, while the other one thinks otherwise. Hitchcock really manages to bring out tension and paranoia in every single scene. It almost impossible to tell what really happens with Edwards until the moment where the filmmaker brings us closer to its conclusion. Gregory Peck looks really fine as a patient with eyed reactions to lines. Even though some psychoanalysis part might look a bit strange in the 21st century, however, it does look relevant for 1945, where the science was not that advanced.

In conclusion, Spellbound is an effectively exciting thriller with a great cast of the Silver Screen. It’s fascinating mystery-romance will hold the viewer till the end. If you’re a Hitchcock- Bergman-Peck fan, then Spellbound is the right film for you to feel enchanted.

Screening time: Thursday, August 27, at 6:30 PM

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