Friday, October 21, 2011

Try to Remember: The Amnesia Trilogy. Part 3: SPELLBOUND

To wrap up The Amnesia Trilogy, here’s the amnesia film that started it all, at least for me: Alfred Hitchcock’s Oscar-winning thriller SpellboundI first saw it on WPIX-TV on a Sunday afternoon when I was a youngster in the Bronx. After the literally breezy opening credits, Spellbound sets the stage with a foreword by the film’s medical advisor, Dr. May Romm (more about her shortly):

“Our story deals with psychoanalysis, the method by which modern science treats the emotional problems of the sane. The analyst seeks only to induce the patient to talk about his hidden problems, to open the locked doors of his mind. Once the complexes that have been disturbing the patient are uncovered and interpreted, the illness and confusion disappear…..and the devils of unreason are driven from the human soul.”

Got all that? Yeah, it may sound quaint in today’s more sophisticated, complicated world, but somehow I find Dr. Romm’s foreword (which has also been attributed to screenwriter Ben Hecht) endearingly earnest. In fact, Spellbound’s more dated aspects, like its approach to psychotherapy, intrigues me when I think of how these things have changed over time.

The lovely, luminous, gentle-voiced Ingrid Bergman plays Dr. Constance Petersen, the youngest member of the crackpot, er, crack team of psychoanalysts at Green Manors, a posh psychiatric institution. Constance brims with book smarts, but her people smarts still need fine-tuning. Dr. Fleurot (John Emory), who’s a bit of a scholarly wolf in shrink’s clothing, is always trying to pitch woo at Constance, but she’s just not that into him. He says, “You approach all your problems with an ice pack on your head….I’m trying to convince you that your lack of human and emotional experience is bad for you as a doctor...and fatal for you as a woman.” Constance wryly replies, “I’ve heard that argument from a number of amorous psychiatrists who all wanted to make a better doctor of me.”
Doctor on Call-Me-Anytime!
If you could see Constance’s feet now, you’d see bobby sox on her feet! *swoon!*
Well, I can tell you from family therapy experience that sometimes it takes a few tries with a few different therapists to find one you really click with—and Constance soon discovers love can work that way, too, when Green Manors’ elderly head honcho Dr. Murchison (veteran Hitchcock player Leo G. Carroll) is about to retire, albeit reluctantly. Constance and the staff are sorry to see Dr. Murchison go, even though his imminent replacement, the renowned Dr. Anthony Edwardes, is supposed to be hot stuff. “Hot” is the word for the ruggedly handsome new doc on the block, especially considering Dr. Edwardes is played by young Gregory Peck, who became an Oscar nominee himself that year for The Keys of the Kingdom. (Little did Peck know he’d be playing another amnesiac in peril twenty years later in another New York-set suspense film, the 1965 thriller Mirage!) Cool Constance’s pleasant but prim demeanor thaws rapidly, Dr. Edwardes’ agitation at the sight of  lines scratched into a tablecloth notwithstanding, and those crazy kids fall in love lickety-split. Heck, how could anyone not fall in love with Bergman and Peck in this movie, with both of them at the peak of their yumminess? I can’t help smiling every time I see the scene with Constance and Edwardes (I’ve never once heard our heroine call him “Anthony” in the film’s early scenes) on their impromptu get-to-know-you picnic in the sunshine, and the way she dreamily accepts a sandwich from him. She says, “Liverwurst” as it if were the loveliest word she’s ever heard, bless her heart!

Those who scratch the tablecloth do not get fruit cup!
When Dr. Edwardes doesn’t recognize a caller’s voice, he’s initially annoyed, then laughs it off as a practical joke. Moreover, Dr. Edwardes takes a personal interest in Mr. Garmes (Norman Lloyd, frequent Hitchcock player and later producer of TV’s Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour), a patient with a guilt complex about his late father. Garmes also seems to be way too intrigued with knives and letter-openers. When Garmes tries to kill himself, Constance and Edwardes assist at the emergency surgery. But to everyone’s shock, Edwardes freaks out and faints. In fact, this is the first of four fainting spells Dr. Edwardes has over the course of the movie. If you happen to have a thing for watching handsome men being rendered unconscious, Spellbound is your cup of Sleepytime Tea!
With a few more jokes and scientific types, we’d have Ball of Fire!
Uh-oh! Someone’s got some ‘splainin’ to do!
Love opens doors for Constance
Constance realizes what’s up when she compares the signature on Dr. Edwardes’ autographed book to a note he’d left for her. Turns out Dr. Dreamboat is an impostor with amnesia, and the lovebirds have to figure out why and how! They’d better hurry, because the initials “J.B.” on his cigarette case are their only clue to his real identity. But the jig’s up when Dr. Edwardes’ worried office assistant comes to Green Manors herself, confirming the ruse. Constance ends up playing footsie with a note J.B. had slipped under her door when the local police drop by. Apparently the real Dr. Edwardes is missing and presumed dead, with J.B. as a person of interest! Poor Constance—she lets her hair down for once, falls in love, and wouldn’t you know the guy might be a killer? No wonder more and more people meet through online dating services nowadays! Anyway, before he fled, J.B. left Constance a note saying he can be reached at the Empire State Hotel in NYC until the heat dies down. For the rest of the film, Constance is essentially a female detective, a comparatively rare bird in suspense stories. Cool! She can start by delving deeper into why J.B. resents smug women. Smugness is infuriating in both genders, but J.B. doesn’t seem to mind smug men!
Aww, J.B. sleeps so cute! (Faint #1)
When she hits NYC, Constance gets some unexpected but welcome help from the house detective (Bill Goodwin, who was also the announcer for The Burns and Allen Show on both CBS and NBC), who pegs Constance as a gal in trouble, “a schoolteacher or librarian.” I love the way the hotel dick comes so close and yet so far in his assessment of her as he helps her in his amateur “psychologist” capacity without revealing her mission! Oh, and what would a Hitchcock movie be without one of the director’s famous cameos? It’s in this very scene, about 37 minutes into the movie; you’ll see Hitch walking out of an elevator at the Empire State Hotel, wearing a fedora, carrying a violin case and smoking a cigarette. If you can’t wait that long, go back to the beginning of this blog post and click here for the trailer.
Ground floor, Hitchcock cameo, everybody off!
Pesky tourist Wallace Ford puts the “Pitts” in “Pittsburgh”!
Danger between the lines!
Once Constance and J.B. are reunited (and it feels so good), they’re able to figure out that J.B. is a doctor (“The eminent Doctor X,” he says ruefully). They also deduce that J.B. must have been with the real—and still missing and presumed dead—Dr. Edwardes when foul play apparently befell him. J.B. feels this is only further proof that he must have knocked off Dr. Edwardes. Also, J.B. has burn scars on his left hand, with a skin graft, and he relives the pain and horror of his accident as if it was happening all over again, poor guy. Well, at least it’s a start—but when the bellboy brings up the afternoon papers, there’s an article about the manhunt, including a lovely photo of Constance! Oops, gotta run—to Pennsylvania Station for train tickets to wherever it was that J.B. went with Dr. Edwardes. Constance figures when J.B. left the mountains after Dr. Edwardes’ accident, he must have passed through New York, so asking for train tickets might jog his memory. Poor J.B. can only stammer “Rome,” then collapse. If J.B. is gonna have these dizzy/fainting spells on a regular basis, I think Constance should get a wheelchair for him! So all roads lead our fugitive sweethearts not to Rome, but to Grand Central and Rochester, NY to see Constance’s dear old professor and fellow psychoanalyst Dr. Alex Brulov (played by Michael Chekhov, famed acting teacher, former member of the Moscow Art Theater, and nephew of playwright Anton Chekhov. Alex was one of my favorite Spellbound characters, so I was happy to learn he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his delightful performance).  On the way, Constance helps J.B. remember the fiery wartime plane crash in which he was burned, reliving the horror: “I hated killing. I can remember that much….”

One perk to J.B.’s fainting spells; he’s got the lovely and devoted Constance to catch him!
(Faint #2)


Yikes! Talk about unwanted publicity!
When our fugitive couple reaches Alex’s Rochester home, claiming they’re honeymooning newlyweds, there’s a nice little scene with two police detectives (Art Baker and Regis Toomey of Burke’s Law), with one of them complaining about his clingy mother and accusations of being a “mama’s boy.” Even John Law has neuroses! And once again, poor J.B. can’t catch a break: the line pattern on the coverlet upsets him so badly that he faints again. When he wakes up after everyone’s asleep, the poor guy gets freaked out again by the relentlessly white bathroom fixtures; with his white phobia, he can’t even wash up or shave, though he  seems perfectly capable of wandering dazedly through Alex’s house with a straight razor. Could’ve been worse, though; Spellbound could’ve taken place in the 1970s, with all those harvest gold and avocado green fixtures! Luckily, Alex turns out to be wilier than Constance gave him credit for; he slips bromides into J.B.’s milk, and it’s beddy-bye time!

“You like close shaves, don’t you?”

From the folks who brought you the Fisticam: The Dairycam!
But Alex, this is a good boy...this is a nice boy...this is a mother's angel!  (Faint #3)

Next time J.B. comes over, we’re giving him the plastic cups! (4th and Final Faint!)

It takes lots of convincing, but the next day, Constance and Alex are able to get J.B. on the fast track toward helping him find out who he is and what happened to Dr. Edwardes. One more fainting spell and a look out the window on this snowy day, and our intrepid heroes realize the lines that freaked out J.B. were skiing tracks in the snow!  That’s where the dream sequence comes in:
 




Sled tracks on a snowy day gives our heroes the major clue they need: Dr. Edwardes had been into sports, saying it was a boon to the treatment of mental disorders. That’s why the dark lines in the white snow freaked out J.B. so severely. Using the notes from J.B.’s dream, they figure out that J.B. and Dr. E. went to Gabriel Valley for what turned out to be their ill-fated therapy vacation. Constance and J.B. go there to recreate the events leading to Dr. Edwardes’ death. The couple opts for downhill skiing, and the tension is almost unbearable as J.B. starts to remember the horrible thing he was trying to forget: the accidental death of his little brother as young J.B. tried to yell warnings to him. The point of impact where the poor kid is impaled lasts only seconds, but it still breaks my heart and chills me to the bone every time I see Spellbound. But the evil spell is broken as J.B. grabs Constance and saves her from flying off the cliff in the proverbial nick of time. Now they can forget the past and forge a future together as husband and wife, as well as Doctor and Doctor Ballantine (the “J” is for “John”). Nice day for a white wedding….

Or is it? When the police catch up with them, they confirm that Dr. Edwardes’ body is where our heroes deduced it would be, all right—but they didn’t figure on finding the cause of death was a bullet! After a montage of Constance desperately trying to convince the jury that John is innocent,to no avail, our heartbroken heroine returns to Green Manors. Ah, but the film and the surprises aren’t over just yet:




The screenplay by Ben Hecht and Angus MacPhail is loosely based on Francis Beeding’s 1927 novel The House of Dr. Edwardes; indeed, the opening credits specifically say “Suggested by Francis Beeding’s novel The House of Dr. Edwardes.” I’ve read in various sources that the original novel was a lot more gimmicky and Gothic-y. Hitchcock had no qualms about retooling a novel to serve his movie’s needs, so he, Hecht, and MacPhail improved upon it. But there’s one writer few can improve upon: William Shakespeare, whose lines from Julius Caesar open Spellbound with a most appropriate quote: “The fault…is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

Spellbound
was released in theaters in 1945, when World War 2 ended and soldiers were coming home suffering from shell shock, nightmares, and “battle fatigue” (or as we know it today, PTSD: post-traumatic stress disorder), so it was inevitable that Spellbound would strike a chord with moviegoers at that time (and even now, really, since war is unfortunately still with us). It also struck a chord with its producer, David O. Selznick, since he was undergoing psychoanalysis on account of his own family tragedy: Selznick’s brother Myron, a top Hollywood agent, had died after many years of alcoholism. On top of that, Selznick’s marriage broke up, so he wound up in therapy with psychoanalyst/psychiatrist Dr. May Romm. Interestingly, in 1944, the year before Spellbound was released, life during wartime was the subject of another acclaimed Selznick drama, Since You Went Away (which I must confess is known here at Team Bartilucci H.Q. as one of the most depressing movies ever made! But I digress….)

Miklós Rózsa is one of my favorite composers, and it’s no wonder that he won an Oscar for his glorious Spellbound score! It sets the film’s tone in every way, its theremin weaving foreboding throughout the emotion-packed, lushly romantic orchestrations. Ironically, according to Wikipedia, Selznick originally wanted a musical score from future Hitchcock composer Bernard Herrmann, another favorite of mine! But Herrmann wasn’t available, so Rózsa got the gig. Indeed, Spellbound also received five other Oscar nominations, not only for Chekhov’s supporting performance (James Dunn won for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn), but also for George Barnes’ gorgeous black-and-white cinematography (The Picture of Dorian Gray won); Jack Cosgrove’s special photographic effects (the Oscar went to another of my favorite movies, the Danny Kaye comedy Wonder Man); Hitchcock’s direction; and a Best Picture nomination for Selznick International (though I can't complain about The Lost Weekend winning the prize). Also, Ingrid Bergman won a New York Film Critics Circle Award for her performance. It’s also worth noting that Rhonda Fleming, only 22 at the time, made quite an impressive debut in the small but memorable role of Green Manors patient Mary Carmichael, whose flirty manner and beauty disguises a vicious hatred of men. Team Bartilucci favorite Dave Willock of the animated Hanna-Barbera series Wacky Races and Robert Aldrich films such as What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte played the bellboy who recognized Constance in New York. Vinnie recognized Willock’s voice; he's got an ear for such things, bless him. Many folks reading this may also remember Willock from another Team B. fave, It's in the Bag. 

Hello, Dali!
The scenes in Spellbound involving Salvador Dali’s surrealism were originally going to be even more surreal and elaborate than the classic dream sequence we movie fans know and love! However, as is explained in the Spellbound DVD’s special features, the rushes showed lighting problems, and worst of all for a romantic thriller, the footage just plain wasn’t packing the emotional and visual punch that Hitchcock had hoped for. So Selznick contacted production designer William Cameron Menzies, with whom he’d worked on Gone with the Wind. Menzies redesigned the shots, and the film certainly seems to have retained the impact and entertainment value that Hitchcock & Company wanted. Heck, I could go on and on about Menzies’ own extraordinary career alone, considering that in addition to being a brilliant production designer (a title Menzies created, by the way), he was also an Oscar-winning producer, director, and screenwriter in his brilliant 50-year career—but that deserves a blog post all its own, if someone hasn’t written one about him already!

If a honeymoon on a train was good enough for Mr. & Mrs. Thornhill, it's good enough for Dr. and Dr. Ballantine!



Sweet mystery of life, at last I've found you....

27 comments:

  1. You know, I think you're right. Hitchcock and Selznick can babble on all they want about psychoanalysis but we all know the real reason for this movie's existence: so that women can live out their fantasy of having Gregory Peck take them on picnics, faint in their arms, be nursed back to health by them, and then marry them.

    I remember reading that Ingrid Bergman didn't want to do this film because, in her words, "The heroine is an intellectual woman and an intellectual woman can't fall in love so deeply." That, combined with Dr. Fleurot's pick up lines, make me devoutly thankful I was not studying psychiatry in the 1940s.

    On a more serious note, the impalement of the little boy is, to my mind, one of the worst Hitchcock deaths. So hard for me to watch even though it's mainly kept to the imagination.

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  2. I've been looking forward to your comments on this film and, not too unexpectedly, you delivered!

    Yeah, John Emory should've copped an award for Most Annoying Wolf in a major motion picture. "You approach all your problems with an ice pack on your head" indeed. Had I been Constance (speaking of needed psychoanalysis here) I would've tartly replied: "And I'd like to approach your problem with an ice pick in YOUR head!"

    Also grateful you singled out Michael Chekhov's performance in the film as a favorite. Had I been a psychologist (Bog help all people needing analysis), I would've loved to have grown up to be Dr. Brulov. "You some kind of wise guy!" The entire scene between Chekhov and Peck ranks as one of my favorites in cinema.

    And add my vote to yours and Rachel's concerning the way Peck's brother died. Even Hitchcock must've experienced a shudder at considering it. I've never seen SPELLBOUND in a theater, but I'd love to witness a big audience's reaction to that particular scene. Probably would've delivered the same visceral reaction people had when seeing Snowdon's remains revealed in CATCH 22 (which I did see in a theater. You haven't experienced anything until you've heard a theater full of people go "EWWwwwwwwww" all at once).

    This is easily one of my top five Hitchcock films. An amazing accomplishment considering the fact that neither Grace Kelly or Cary Grant is in it (although Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck effectively carry the ball here).

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  3. Rachel, I loved your witty comments about psychiatry in the 1940s and the "real reason" SPELLBOUND exists! Gregory Peck's character was definitely crafted to be strong and manly, yet still just vulnerable enough to make us gals want to catch him when he faints, then cure what ails him and live happily and romantically ever after! This is why, as they used to say back in my dear mom's day, movies are your best entertainment! :-)

    And yes, Rachel, I agree wholeheartedly about about the emotional impact of the heartbreaking, harrowing scene of our hero's little brother's accidental death. That scene has always hit me hard since I first saw SPELLBOUND on TV as a child. As I grew up and became a wife and mother myself, the impact of that scene has only become more powerful, not to mention making me even more of a stickler for safety; I wonder if that scene made other moms more vigilant over the years, too?

    Thanks so much for joining the conversation, Rachel!

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  4. Michael, I had a feeling you'd especially enjoy this blog post, and I enjoyed what you had to say, as always! I'm glad I'm not the only one who wished I could substitute an ice pick for an ice pack when it came to the ever-annoying Dr. Fleurot, played most convincingly by John Emory (wonder if he was ever a med student?). I must say that our gal Constance's male colleagues really did remind me of some callow medical students our family has known! :-)

    With your excellent taste in character actors, I knew you'd like Michael Chekhov's Dr. Brulov as much as I did; for me, he steals the show! I wish he'd won the Oscar, but to be fair, winner James Dunn of A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN was no slouch, either. And I couldn't agree more about that wonderful scene between Chekhov and Peck!

    You and I have discussed the horrible accidental death of Peck's brother in the movie before, and we're still very much in agreement on the emotional impact! If I recall correctly, your dear son Jeremiah (tell him Auntie Dorian says "Hi!" :-)) was just as shocked and generally freaked-out by that scene, including Team Bartilucci, too, of course! That scene may not show any blood or gore, but that doesn't make it any less heartbreaking to watch, especially for us parents. I agree with you that when SPELLBOUND was in theaters, that scene in particular must have hit 1945 audiences with the force of a bullet (even more of a punch to the gut than the notorious bus scene in Hitchcock's SABOTAGE). Funny you should mention the harrowing scene with the unfortunate Snowden in the movie version of CATCH-22; that's another scene that freaked me out and broke my heart. ("EWWwwwwwwww" indeed!)
    In any case, Michael, I agree: SPELLBOUND has a cozy seat among our Top 5 Hitchcock movies, too! Always great to have you join in the conversation, dear friend!

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  5. Dorian, like your post,this is Hitch at his best. I've have sen this on a big screen and it's mind blowing.and I don't mean just that gun shot.What a great camera angle that isI. I've always wondered if Hitch borrowed it from King Vidor's Northwest Passage. And what about
    Leo G Carrol, has he ever been bad in a Hitchcock film, ?I don't think so.

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  6. GAHHH! I love Spellbound way too much. I do think Greg's performance is a wee bit over the top...but when you're playing a damsel in distress that faints in every other scene, that's to be expected. But young, ridiculously handsome Greg can basically do no wrong in my eyes.

    I dearly love that scene in the hotel lobby. Poor Constance is so desperate, and some bloke just wants to hit on her. And then the house detective decides that he knows all about her life...

    As a Wisconsin girl, I highly approve of the dairycam.

    On a side note: Since You Went Away didn't feel that depressing to me, because I knew Robert Walker's character actually just faked his own death in the war so he could assume the identity of Bruno Anthony and terrorize Farley Granger. (This is what too much Hitchcock does to my feverish mind.)

    Thanks for such a splendid post/series for all of us! It's been a real treat!

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  7. Paul 2, I'm most flattered and honored that you feel that "like (my) post, this is Hitch at his best." Thank you kindly, good sir! And lucky you, getting to see SPELLBOUND on a great big movie screen as God (the movie gods, at the very least) intended! :-) Mind-blowing in every way, you might say. That's how I felt when Vinnie and I got to see VERTIGO at the Ziegfeld Theatre in my hometown, NYC when the restored version was shown there in 1996; what a glorious experience that was!

    I must admit I've never seen NORTHWEST PASSAGE, Paul, but now that you've brought it to my attention, I'll keep an eye on the TCM listings. And I agree, Leo G. Carroll is The Man. He's so cool, even in non-Hitchcock roles like Alexander Waverly in THE MAN FROM UNCLE; heck, Carroll even gave the wild and crazy TARANTULA a touch of class! :-)

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  8. Emm, you're a genius! You've absolutely hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head in pointing out that Our Man Greg's SPELLBOUND character is essentially a damsel-in-distress role. In my eyes, this is not at all a bad thing; I for one like fellas who can be both sensitive and strong, as needed! :-)

    I loved what you said about Constance in the hotel lobby scene, too! But don't be too hard on the house detective; he may not have guessed right about everything about Our Gal Constance, but at least he was able to help out enough to locate poor amnesiac J.B. -- though the look on the house detective's face later was priceless!

    You gave your ol' Auntie Dorian a big smile and a hearty laugh with your approval of the Dairycam, as well as your clever tongue-in-cheek theory that Robert Walker's character in SINCE YOU WENT AWAY faked his own death to assume Bruno Anthony's identity and terrorize Farley Granger! That sounds like just the kind of thing a Patricia Highsmith character would do. :-)

    "Thanks for such a splendid post/series for all of us! It's been a real treat!" You're most kind and most welcome, Emm; thank you, too, for following The Amnesia Trilogy! I always look forward to your witty, enthusiastic comments; you're always welcome to drop by and join the conversation anytime!

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  9. I love the 'Dairy-cam' too! Dorian, you're a hoot!
    That's high praise from me. :)

    Loved this review - no surprise there.

    I haven't seen this film in so many years that I'd forgotten most of it. Certainly I'd forgotten the ubiquitous fainting spells. What other hunky hero actor in Hollywood would have gone along with fainting at the drop of a hat throughout the movie?

    Kudos to the beautiful but rugged, Gregory Peck. Obviously a very secure man.

    I must see this again.

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  10. Yvette, I'm most grateful for your high praise, and I'm tickled that you got a kick out of the Dairycam -- thanks! :-) You make a good point that it takes a brave actor like Gregory Peck to play a role requiring him to be vulnerable and prone to fainting, especially back in the he-man 1940s. But hey, that's one of the things we like about Peck; he's tough yet tender, even if he can't toss off witty lines as effortlessly as Cary Grant (but few among us can)! :-)

    By the way, Yvette, if you or anyone else here doesn't have a copy of SPELLBOUND, it's also on YouTube in 13 installments! Here's the first link:

    youtu.be/eZP2lIrWvk0

    Always delighted to have you join the conversation, my friend!

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  11. When you began this "I Can't Remember Who I Am" series I suspected SPELLBOUND would be included. One of Hitchcock's finest though, in my own hierarchy, due to the fact he had so many great films it would not make my own top ten list of Hitch. Bergman is always appealing to watch, one of the favorites. The term "Battle Fatigue" always intrigued me. Not really appropriate for what the traumatic stress many soldiers face after coming home. I think the term better explains how the rest of us feel back home after two long wars that never seem to end (actually Iraq may be finally over). I admire PAUL 2 seeing this on the big screen and the Dali sequence, to express in my archaic 1960's terminology, must have been mind blowing to see. Rozsa's music is wonderful, and I never noticed Rhonda Fleming in the film, that was a real surprise here! Great job from the always well written and engaging Ms. Dorian!

    John

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  12. "Spellbound", is one of the few of Hitchcock's films, that have not yet seen. After reading your amazing review, I can not believe that I missed watching it.

    This film sounds like it has some great scenes with couple of good plot twists. I remember hearing that it had an amazing dream sequence, which is very creatively done.

    I hope you do not mind if I spotlight your, "The Amnesia Trilogy", over on N and CF.

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  13. John, your kind and copious praise is an honor; many thanks indeed, my friend! I wouldn't dream (no pun intended) of doing The Amnesia Trilogy without SPELLBOUND, especially since it's been one of my favorite Hitchcock movies (indeed, one of my favorite movies, period) since I was a kid. Our family has loved Ingrid Bergman since my dear mom was a young girl!

    Being from a family of veterans from both World War 1 and World War 2, I feel you made good points about the term "Battle Fatigue." I'd say you pegged it with your remark: "...the term better explains how the rest of us feel back home after two long wars that never seem to end (actually Iraq may be finally over)." From your mouth (keyboard?) to God's ears!

    Thanks again for your wonderful feedback and for joining the conversation, John, as always!

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  14. Dawn, I'm honored and delighted that you're interested in spotlighting "Try to Remember: The Amnesia Trilogy", over on N and CF! That would be wonderful; thanks a million!

    By all mean, if you love Hitchcock and romantic suspense, SPELLBOUND is well worth seeking out. If you don't have a SPELLBOUND DVD handy, the movie is also on YouTube, if you don't mind watching it in 13 chapters on a computer screen! :-) Here's the link to Part 1 to get you started:

    youtu.be/eZP2lIrWvk0

    Thanks again for your kind words and offer, Dawn!

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  15. Dorian, nifty review of one of the most entertaining of all Hitchcock thrillers. I especially love the opening scenes when the mysterious new psychiatrist first arrives. I agree that Rozsa's eerie, yet lush, score contributes mightily to the film's atmosphere. Originally, I was disappointed in the Dali dream sequence (especially after LE CHIEN ANDALOU with Bunuel), but it has improved on subsequent viewing. Still, glad my dreams don't look like that!

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  16. Rick, glad to have you back among us, and glad you enjoyed my SPELLBOUND post -- many thanks! Miklos Rosza has long been one of my favorite composers, and the SPELLBOUND score in particular has always been one of my favorites. Funny you should mention that it took you a while to warm up to the Dali dream sequence and LE CHIEN ANDALOU, because the SPELLBOUND dream sequence on the movie clip I attached to this blog post also happens to have LE CHIEN ANDALOU as well. Compare and contrast as you will! :-)

    By the way, Rick, I presume you and everyone else here are already familiar with the classic Bugs Bunny cartoon SLICK HARE, including affectionate parodies of Bogart and Bacall, among others. If anyone here hasn't seen it, about one minute and twelve seconds into it, you'll see a most chuckleacious spoof of Gregory Peck in SPELLBOUND, using a straight razor to cut his steak! Here's the link to it on YouTube; enjoy!

    http://youtu.be/cxBZVulaxs8

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  17. Just wonderful, Dorian! Funny, informative, great assessment of the movie -- fascinating background on EVERYTHING! I was especially interested in the behind-the-scenes activity with Dali's dream sequence. Most of all, I was fascinated to about "...Michael Chekhov, famed acting teacher, former member of the Moscow Art Theater, and nephew of playwright Anton Chekhov." What a family tree and career!

    Best of all, in the humor category, were the Young Frankenstein quips. Fruit cup, a mother's angel and Sweet Mystery of Life -- you gave me a real falling off the chair and snorting huge laugh. And you know right now I needed that! Kudos for this excellent post!

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  18. Becky, dear friend, beaucoup thanks for your kudos! I must admit you leapt to mind as I was writing the funny captions, especially the ones inspired by YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, since we both love that marvelous mirthful madman Mel Brooks! I'm happy I could bring some fun and laughter to you in my own humble way. Here's hoping you'll soon be happy, comfy, and agita-free in your new home!

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  19. You have a way of making me warm up to a movie that has always left me a bit cool. As I read the post, scenes that I used to recall as "oh, yeah" (read with the voice low and sarcastic) are now recalled as "oh, yeah" (read with the voice high and excited). How'd you do that?

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  20. Caftan Woman, your comment put a big smile on my face! I guess the fun of SPELLBOUND (or any movie, when you get right down to it) depends on the viewpoint of the blogger and the reader as well as the viewer. :-) Thanks a million for your feedback, C.W.!

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  21. Dorian,
    I was going to wait and comment after watching then commenting on Mirage but I'm so behind.

    This was such an enjoyable read and the work you've put in on this series shows. It's funny that I saw the 'sleeping Peck' pic and said to myself "Gregory is such a handsome devil, even while sleeping" before reading your caption. His phobias, the fainting, the the subtle things showcase Hitchcock at his best. Spellbound is in my top 5 Hitchcock films with Rebecca and Suspicion being 1 and 2 of course.

    It's odd but I like Spellbound a lot but I didn't care for Vertigo. Perhaps because I'm not a Kim Novak fan. Ingrid and Peck together was perfection. This is my 2nd favorite of Ingrid's films behind Gaslight of course. You did such a great job in capturing the relationship between the two stars too.

    You described the characters and the plot beautifully and I really enjoyed your trivia about Selznick, Dali and of course the war and this films release during a time when PTSD was a sensitive but REAL issue.

    Oh, and I agree that Since You Went Away was depressing, right up there with Johnny Belinda for me but I still love both films.

    I promise that I will watch Mirage then leave a comment. That's the least I can do after you've put so much work into this highly entertaining trilogy.
    Hi Vinnie!
    Page

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  22. Oh Team B, I had to feature this one on my sidebar.
    Please submit this series for a CiMBA Award next year too. (Don't worry I'll remind you when it gets close) : )
    Page

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  23. Page, you are kindness itself! Thanks oodles for your lovely praise and prose about SPELLBOUND and the other entries in the Amnesia Trilogy. I'm truly flattered and honored that you feel it's good enough for CiMBA consideration next year. Thanks for offering to remind me! :-)

    I'm especially grateful to you for so generously giving SPELLBOUND real estate on MY LOVE OF OLD HOLLYWOOD! If you ever need us to toot your horn, just let us know and we'll cheerfully spread the word over at TotED!

    No rush on MIRAGE; the post will be here anytime you want to read it and discuss it! :-) Incidentally, I own the MIRAGE DVD from the Gregory Peck Collection that Vinnie gave me for Christmas last year, so I can watch MIRAGE anytime. :-)) If/when you do check it out, I think you'll enjoy it, especially since the Universal full-length movie print on YouTube is excellent quality, even if it might seem smallish on a computer screen!

    "Gregory is such a handsome devil, even while sleeping" -- you said it, sister! :-)

    I like your taste in Hitchcock movies, too, Page. Only two slight differences in our Hitchcock movie love lists: my Top Two are NORTH BY NORTHWEST and REAR WINDOW. Blame my NYC upbringing; I can't resist witty suspense movies set in my hometown, especially if they're produced and directed by Hitchcock! Also, like you, I loved the relationships among the characters, including supporting characters like Michael Chekhov as the endearingly irascible Dr. Brulov. While VERTIGO has a comfy spot on my list of favorite Hitchcock films (in particular, I liked Kim Novak and James Stewart together; even more so in their non-Hitchcock comedy BELL, BOOK, AND CANDLE, but maybe that's because I'm a sucker for a happy ending), I think I'm most drawn to the characters in Hitchcock's movies from the 1940s through the 1950s. All kinds of different Hitchcockian characters; there's something and someone for every viewer to like! :-) Thanks again, Page; Vinnie sez "Hi!"

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  24. Absolutely brilliant! I loved all of these. I have had many of these thoughts rumbling around my brain, too, but you say them so much better! Really - excellent work.

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  25. FlickChick, thank you very much indeed for your much-appreciated praise! The whole Amnesia Trilogy was a labor of love, and I'm so happy you enjoyed it!

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  26. At last! a "Try to Remember" post about a movie I've seen, so I can read it! (Had to skip the first two, at least until I can catch up with Mirage and Wrecked.) Another fun and incisive post, Dorian (as if you knew how to write any other kind).

    And hey, thanks ever so for the "13 of 13" clip; first time I've ever seen that gunshot in color. I remember way back in 1977, two friends of mine in a show we were doing together had the night off from rehearsal and were off to see a college screening of this one. I couldn't go, but told them to watch at the ending -- "Don't tell us! Don't tell us!" they cried, but I said relax, I won't give it away. But you'll see a gun from the shooter's point of view, turning it on himself and firing. In 1945, I told them, the shot had two frames of Technicolor and the blast flashed red, or so I'm told. They were excited to come back the night after and tell me the color frames were in! That was the first I'd heard of it being restored. Now, 34 years later, I've finally seen it.

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  27. Jim, you're making me blush! Thanks a million for your praise of my SPELLBOUND post, my friend! I loved your anecdote about your friends at the college SPELLBOUND screening. Ah, I remember those days well, having spent many an evening at classic movie screenings during my own college years!

    I remember once seeing a print of SPELLBOUND that DIDN'T have the red frames at the end; boy, did I feel cheated! Happily, I now own the DVD with all the whistles and bells, so I can see the red frames as Hitchcock intended! :-)

    Hope you catch up with the other Amnesia Trilogy films. I think you'd especially enjoy MIRAGE; it's available on YouTube if you feel like sitting at your computer and watching MIRAGE in its entirety:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to2xYmWnQAc

    Or if you just want a little taste of it to whet your appetite, check out this amusing clip with Peck meeting P.I. Walter Matthau:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to2xYmWnQAc

    Enjoy! :-)

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