11 October 2008 | tom-456
Mirage vs. Spellbound
I saw "Mirage" on television shortly after its theatrical release (1965) and I never quite forgot it, especially the part about the stairs that lead to nowhere, and the dream scene where the two men are standing under the tree on the lawn. My earliest recollection of seeing "Spellbound" was a decade or two later. Both movies feature Gregory Peck in the role of an amnesiac that may have committed a murder, and even though I was greatly intrigued by the similarity, I was keenly aware of the fact that it was not the same movie that I remembered from the '60s. These two movies are each intriguing in their own right, and the unlikely similarity between them only adds to that intrigue. Eventually I saw "Mirage" again just a couple of years after seeing "Spellbound", and I was glad at having finally untangled these two movies in my mind.
Another similarity shared by these two movies is that in both movies, the character played by Gregory Peck is befriended by a charming young woman, played by Ingrid Bergman in "Spellbound" and by Diane Baker in "Mirage". Both movies also incorporate the use of surreal dream sequences. "Spellbound" is of course noted for its use of dream sequences that were created by Salvidor Dali.
"Spellbound" has the feel of a Hitchcock movie from an earlier era, whereas "Mirage" has the feel of a movie made in the middle '60s, and one that could have been made by Hitchcock at that later date. They are both good movies, but personally I prefer "Mirage", and I think that "Spellbound" would be largely forgotten were it not for the inclusion of the Dali dream sequences and for the fact that Hitchcock directed it. The dream sequences in "Spellbound" are far more surreal than the dream sequences in "Mirage", and they are brought to consciousness through psychoanalysis. In "Mirage" the plot is more intricate (which is to be expected of a movie that was made in the '60s as compared to one made in the '40s) and the dream sequences, which occur as spontaneous flashbacks, are more involved with the unfolding of that more intricate plot. In "Mirage", the character makes a couple of hasty visits to a psychiatrist while trying to understand what is going on with his mind, and it is during the first such visit that he comes to grips with the fact that he is suffering from amnesia. The psychiatrist helps him to understand what is going on with his mind, but there is no psychoanalysis. Interestingly, whereas psychiatry is treated with due respect in the movie made in the '40s, the psychiatrist is practically made fun of in the movie made in the '60s.
Both movies are certainly entertaining to watch, and anyone who has found either of these two movies enjoyable will almost certainly enjoy the other one as well. You may also derive some satisfaction from the untangling of your memories of these two uncannily similar movies.