Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Spellbound ~ This one is a failing for me in many areas of my film watching and commentary career.  First and foremost, I've never seen Spellbound.  I know, for shame, a Hitchcock flick I've never seen, especially with the reputation this one has, and that legendary dream sequence designed by the great Salvador Dali.  To make matters worse, I've also never seen Mel Brooks' High Anxiety, mostly because I wanted to see Spellbound first. 

Wait, did you catch that vibe? If you know your Hitch, you definitely did. The above is the original opening I wrote for this review two years back, when I thought Spellbound was Vertigo - yeah, I know, I'm an idiot. I was confused, thought this movie was Vertigo not Spellbound, and therefore multiplied my disappointment. I know now, Vertigo is brilliant, Spellbound not so much. Back to my original review…

Hopefully, seeing Spellbound in a big beautiful old fashioned movie palace like the Walt Disney Theatre on the TCM Classic Cruise will make up for the long wait in viewing this one.  Seriously, it's the only way to see any film, classic or not.  And as I settled in to watch on an early Wednesday morning on board, the theater was packed, and a live introduction by the late Robert Osborne didn't hurt either. 

The story revolves around psychoanalysis, which at the time was new, but now is a bit old hat, if now completely outdated. That's where my suspension of disbelief fails. I just didn't buy the premise, and while the story doesn't hold together, and the performances are less than stellar, I did respect the direction and cinematography. Hitch has mad skills even in his least work.

All that said, obviously I didn't really dig the flick.  I realize it's a product of its time, but the sexism and clinical aspects of psychotherapy really angered and simultaneously bored me.  Besides that, I also didn't think this was Ingrid Bergman at her best, and this very young Gregory Peck didn't seem to have his chops yet.  Bill Goodwin (best known from Burns and Allen) as the hotel detective was one of the few bright spots for me.  Things livened up when he was on screen. 

And then there was that dream sequence.  I would have dug more of that but producer David Zanuck cut it from twenty-two minutes to two with narrative.  Knowing that before seeing it, and also knowing the full cut wasn't included, was a bit of a letdown within a film that was already a bit of a letdown.

Perhaps someday I sit down and try to watch this one again, give it a second chance. I just couldn't really get into it, and if I couldn't get into it in the best of all circumstances to see such a film, I don't hold out for much hope. I guess I just didn't like it. Your mileage may vary.

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