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Spellbound

Screening on Film
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
With Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov.
US, 1945, 35mm, black & white, 116 min.

The tremendous popularization of Freudian psychoanalysis in postwar American cinema and popular culture informs Hitchcock's witty and sophisticated romantic thriller about a bookish analyst falling for a mysterious amnesiac analysand who is either himself a brilliant therapist or a traumatized patient with murderous tendencies. Inspired by David O. Selznick's own "cure" through psychoanalysis, Spellbound was Hitchcock's second picture under contract with the mercurial and tyrannical producer who struggled to impose ideas that Hitchcock, working closely with screenwriter Ben Hecht, was largely able to deflect and subvert. Sadly, Hitchcock was unable to prevent Selznick from damaging one of the film's centerpieces – an extended and now lost dream sequence designed by Salvador Dalí which Selznick considered excessive and ordered recut by William Cameron Menzies. Miklos Rozsa's moody score is often credited as the first use of a theremin in a Hollywood film.

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The Complete Alfred Hitchcock

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