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In 1945, Freud & Co were beginning to have a profound influence on American thinking, so armed with a script by Ben Hecht and the services of a consultant, Hitchcock decided to 'turn out the first picture on psychoanalysis'. The story is simple enough: Bergman is a psychoanalyst who falls in love with her new boss Peck, and when it's discovered that he has a Problem (an amnesiac, he may also be a killer), goes to work on his memory. The characterisation is also straightforward, with a maternal Bergman fascinated by father figures (a delightful cameo from Michael Chekhov) and young boys (Peck, suitably artless). But Spellbound is also a tale of suspense, and Hitchcock embellishes it with characteristically brilliant twists, like the infinite variety of parallel lines which etch their way through Peck's mind. The imagery is sometimes overblown (doors open magically down a corridor when Peck and Bergman kiss), and the dream sequences designed by Dalí are exactly what you'd expect; but there are moments, especially towards the end, when the images and ideas really work together.

Release details

Duration: 111 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Screenwriter: Ben Hecht
Cast: Leo G Carroll
Gregory Peck
John Emery
Rhonda Fleming
Michael Chekhov
Ingrid Bergman
Wallace Ford
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