Spellbound (1945) Poster



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  • When famous psychiatrist Dr Anthony Edwardes (Gregory Peck) arrives at Green Manors Mental Asylum to replace retiring head, Dr Murchison (Leo G. Carroll), Edwardes and staff psychiatrist Dr Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) fall in love. It soon becomes apparent to Petersen that Edwardes is not who he says he is and is, in fact, John 'J.B.' Ballentyne, a paranoid amnesic imposter and a possible murderer. Consequently, Petersen and Edwardes go on the run so that she can psychoanalyze him and, hopefully, answer the question of what happened to the real Dr Edwardes. Edit

  • Yes. Spellbound is an adaptation of the 1927 novel The House of Dr. Edwardes by British authors Hilary Saint George Saunders and John Palmer, writing in tandem as "Francis Beeding". The novel was adapted for the movie by screenwriters Angus MacPhail (British) and Ben Hecht (American). Edit

  • It reads: 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 disappearand the evils of unreason are driven from the human soul. Edit

  • Murchison was taken by surprised that Edwardes was arriving in the first place, and he wanted to assess the situation before making a scene and getting himself in trouble. When he finally realized the extent of the situation, it became more expedient for him to pin the murder on J.B.. Edit

  • While resting at a resort in the Cumberland Mountains, J.B. ran into Dr Edwardes, who was vacationing there, and asked for his help. The two had never met before but, being a doctor himself, J.B. was aware of Edwardes' eminence in the field of psychotherapy. Edit

  • Dr Petersen tells J.B. that some of her patients refer to her as an "eggbeater" but does not explain the meaning. Viewers of the movie have suggested several possibilities. (1) As a psychologist, Dr Petersen churns up her patients' brains with her analyses, making them feel scrambled. (2) It is Dr Petersen herself whose brain her patients perceive as "scrambled" (i.e., the patient isn't the crazy one...the doctor is). (3) In dream analysis, whole eggs supposedly represent fertility, so an eggbeater may be a vague sexual reference, particularly to the fact that Petersen is seen as cold, repressed, and unwomanly, even by her colleagues. (4) The egg symbolizes a testicle, so an egg "beater" becomes a "ball breaker", a threat to masculinity. Edit

  • J.B. witnessed the murder of Dr Edwardes and his falling over the cliff while skiing. This triggered a memory of the death of J.B.'s brother, caused by J.B. sliding down a banister and accidentally pushing his brother onto a spiked fence. His emotional distress forced him into a state of amnesia coupled with the lingering guilt for his brother's death. Edit

  • According to J.B.'s memory, he got the burn while he was flying a WW II mission over Rome, Italy in an American warplane. He had to parachute out to save himself. He was given a medical discharge from the Army but suffered from "nerve shock" (today, we might call this Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome) and went to the Cumberland Mountains for a bit of R&R (rest and relaxation). This is where he first ran into Dr Edwardes. Edit

  • Once J.B. starts to get back his memory, he starts telling Dr Petersen about his past. Some viewers think that they hear: "I went to Columbia Medical School, met a girl with a giggle, BUT luckily married my roommate KIM." Actually, the exact line is: "I went to Columbia Medical School, met a girl with a giggle, who luckily married my roommate, Ken." So, no, J.B. had not been married before. Edit

  • Coffee with an egg in it is an old-fashioned way of making coffee...prior to percolators, drip coffeemakers, and Folger's instant. The egg causes the coffee grounds to settle to the bottom of the pot, producing a coffee that is tasty, clear, and free of grounds. Sometimes referred to as "egg drop coffee" or "Swedish egg coffee", it was attributed to a Scandinavian or Eastern European origin. Here's one way of brewing it: You will need an egg, coffee for up to ten cups (one tablespoon per cup), and a coffee pot or kettle. Crack open the egg and mix it (shells and all) with the coffee grounds, adding a small amount of water to make it easier to mix. Boil enough water to make the amount of coffee that you wish to brew. When the water is at a full boil, stir in the coffee-egg mixture and return to boil. When it comes to a rolling boil, remove it from the heat and add one cup of ice cold water. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. The egg and grounds will settle to the bottom, and you will need only to pour the coffee gently so that they stay there. Edit

  • J.B. is accused of the murder of Dr Edwardes and sent to prison, but Dr Petersen doesn't give up trying to clear him. When she discusses J.B.'s case with Dr Murchison and he lets it slip that he once knew Edwardes and didn't really like him very much, a red flag arises in Petersen's mind since Murchison should have recognized from the beginning that he was an imposter. She fetches the notes she made of J.B.'s dream and attempts to analyze them with Murchison, e.g., the eyes stand for the guards at Green Manors, the 7 of clubs in the game of 21 refers to the 21 Club, the proprietor of the club who accused Edwardes of cheating was actually Murchison, the sloping roof was a ski slope, and the small wheel dropped from the hand of the proprietor hiding behind the chimney was a a revolver, the gun that was used to shoot Edwardes in the back just before he skiied right off the cliff. Murchison agrees with her analysis, but when Petersen concludes that the gun should still be there in the snow, Murchison disagrees and pulls the gun out of a drawer. Reminding her that two murders bear the same penalty as one, Murchison points it at her. Realizing that she is in danger, Peterson begins to psychoanalyze him, telling him what he's thinking, i.e., the murder of Edwardes could be seen as an act committed during a nervous breakdown and would not earn him the death penalty whereas killing her would be seen as cold-blooded murder and lead to the electric chair. All the while she is talking, Petersen is inching for the door. When she exits the room and closes the door behind her, Murchison turns the pistol on himself and pulls the trigger. In the final scene, J.B. (John Ballentine) and Constance Petersen are married and embarking on a train trip, taking the same train and kissing each other in front of the same conductor that they encountered on their previous trip to Gabriel Valley. Edit

  • Yes. About 40 minutes into the movie, just after Dr Petersen arrives at the Empire State Hotel, Hitchcock can be seen coming out of an elevator, carrying a violin case, and smoking a cigarette. A photo of the scene can be viewed here. Edit



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