This week for My Friend Amy's Summer of Hitchcock, we watched Spellbound. The movie stars a very handsome-looking Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman, who has the weirdest hair ever. It's not even like hair, it's like playdough she just pushes around her head. She's the only female psychoanalyst at a mental institution in Vermont, and is a tad bit uptight. But then Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome shows up, and she's like, Rawr!!! I want me some o' that!
Unfortunately, Gregory Peck's chacter--who is alternately known as Dr. Anthony Edwardes, John Brown, and John Valentine--is a freakin' psycho. Or maybe that's fortunate, since Bergman (aka Constance) is a head doc. It turns out Dr. Edwardes isn't really Dr. Edwardes, but a patient of his with amnesia. And... Edwardes is dead! And Peck might have murdered him!
This movie was surprisingly sexy. Constance traipses into "Edwardes" room in the middle of his first night at the mental institution (they have their doctors living there? Yay. Sound like a great job.), and she's all like, "I'm here because... of this book?" And he's all like, "I know why you're here *smirk*," and then they start making out. There's another scene when they're staying overnight at Dr. Alex Brulov's as a supposedly married couple, and he asks, "Have you ever...?" And Bergman says, "No, of course not." Then Peck says (you're probably getting a good idea of why I don't write novels right about now), "Well, I don't remember anything, so as far as I know I've never, either." Huh. Thanks for putting that in there, Hitchcock! Nice to establish both parties are virgins right before... they decide he sleeps on the couch?!?!? Wat?!
My favorite character was Dr. Brulov, Constance's mentor. Pointy facial hair for the win! I also appreciated the fact that he told Constance she was acting like an idiot. Finally, a sane character! He also gets the best lines in the film. For example, "Vomen make the best psychoanalysts--until they fall in lofe. Then they make the best patients. Hohohoho!" Ahhh, psychoanalyst humor.
The one other really interesting thing about this movie is the dream sequence, which was designed by Salvador Dalí. This was the first time Surrealism was exposed to a wide, general audience. If you had never seen a Surrealist painting before, I guess the scene would be pretty shocking. Personally I was kind of underwhelmed by it. Dalí basically quotes from his previous paintings and doesn't really use a lot of imagination. It was a little too quote-y for me. The eyes, the shadows, the melty wheel... yawn.
In case you've never seen this movie or need a refresher, here's the dream sequence:
Other than the romance, Dr. Alex, and the dream sequence, this movie was actually pretty boring. I didn't really like the characters except for Burlov and Peck's yumminess; and the story didn't really grab me at all. Not to mention that Edwardes'/Brown's/Valentine's psychological breakthrough was way too easy. This movie was 100x better than The Birds, don't get me wrong; but I still wasn't as involved in it as I was with Psycho or Dial M for Murder.
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