Chris' Review of Spellbound
I honestly expected to be a little spellbound by Alfred Hitchcock's 1945 mystery Spellbound given that they are some talented talents behind it. I mean this film's got stars Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck, and director Alfred Hitchcock behind it. Given that I have reasonably high expectations based on their work, I wanted to get into this film for the sake of those people involved. Unfortunately, such talented people as these can't save a disappointingly dull film such as Spellbound.
In the film, we follow a psychiatrist (Ingrid Bergman) at a mental hospital who is considered by her fellow doctors as one of the best. She and her fellow peers welcome the new director (Gregory Peck) of the hospital, but fairly soon, she begins to notice some peculiar aspects about him. She notices that he has a unusual fear of seeing dark parallel lines and a white background together. In addition, she eventually finds out that he isn't who he claims to be and that he has a serious case of amnesia. When she also learns that he accidentally committed a murder, she tries to cure him of his mental struggles by learning more about his past.
I should mention the few aspects of this picture that I found were decent. One thing is that there are a few eye-catching shots that I thought were well executed. There's a shot in which is similar to the type of camera shots you see in today's first person shooter video games, where someone is pointing a gun at one of the main leads and we see through their point of view. I thought that shot and similar shots like that were worthy of praising. I also don't find the performances from the leads that bad and I thought they were doing whatever they could to keep the film moving.
So what did I think made Spellbound as disappointing as I'm claiming it to be? Well, my problem with Spellbound can be summarized as such: it's boring beyond belief. Why do I find it boring? I thought the direction seemed to indicate that everything that was happening in the plot was not the slightest bit interesting. The screenplay by Ben Hecht didn't give its characters anything fascinating to talk about and hardly did anything to get us invested in following the plot.
This film is basically trying to force us to avoid emotionally attaching to it as much as possible. What's worse is that it succeeds well at doing just that. About 10 to 20 minutes into watching this film, that's the point where I completely lost interest in following the narrative since it is told in such a lifeless manner between the boring conversations the characters have and the boring things that are being captured on film.
I believe this is definitely one of Alfred Hitchcock's weakest films because of its lack of emotional involvement, because of its uninspiring direction, because of its lame script, and because of the fact that the story that was being told wasn't that good to begin with. Maybe I didn't pick up on something in the main plot, maybe I followed it just fine enough, either way I expected much more from the talents involved that what I got. Unless you're a hardcore Hitchcock fan and just want to look at it for the sake of seeing all his flicks, I'd definitely say there are much better Hitchcock films to check out.