The Theremin in Spellbound


Also known as: Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound
Score by Miklos Rosza
Theremin played by Samuel Hoffman

The head of the Green Manors mental asylum Dr. Murchison is retiring to be replaced by Dr. Edwards, a famous psychiatrist. Edwards arrives and is immediately attracted to the beautiful but cold Dr. Constance Petersen. However, it soon becomes apparent that Dr. Edwards is in fact a paranoid amnesiac imposter. He goes on the run with Constance who tries to help his condition and solve the mystery of what happened to the real Dr. Edwards...

Generated by David O. Selznick, who purchased the rights because of his keen interest in psychoanalysis, the film often gets bogged down in psychiatric and psychoanalytic jargon, but it is counterbalanced by the love story that develops between J.B. and Dr. Peterson. Depending on the viewer's preference, the breakthrough to J.B.'s mystery can be credited to one of two things: the success of modern psychiatry or the power of love. As Hitchcock describes it, the film is "a manhunt story wrapped up in pseudo-psychoanalysis." Although heavy on dialogue, it is not without some brilliant visual touches, most obviously the heralded dream sequence created by avant-garde artist Salvador Dali. In its original conception it was far longer and more complex than the two-minute sequence that finally appeared. It was to have run 22 minutes (much of which was actually shot but edited out) and included a disturbing sequence described by Hitchcock: "He [Dali] wanted a statue to crack like a shell falling apart, with ants crawling all over it, and underneath, there would be Ingrid Bergman, covered by ants! It just wasn't possible." As it happened, Hitchcock did not even shoot the dream sequence, returning instead to London. The brilliant visual stylist Josef von Sternberg was first considered as the director of the sequence, but William Cameron Menzies (THINGS TO COME) was finally chosen, though he later expressed dissatisfaction and asked that his name be removed from the credits.

Items & Reviews for Spellbound



Spellbound Concerto
MP3 792 KB

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