The head of the Green Manors mental asylum Dr. Murchison is retiring to be replaced by Dr. Edwardes, a famous psychiatrist. Edwardes arrives and is immediately attracted to the beautiful but cold Dr. Constance Petersen. However, it soon becomes apparent that Dr. Edwardes is in fact a paranoid amnesiac impostor. He goes on the run with Constance who tries to help his condition and solve the mystery of what happened to the real Dr. Edwardes. Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
David O. Selznick wanted much of the film to be based on his experiences in psychotherapy. He even brought his psychotherapist in on the set to be a technical advisor. Once when she disputed a point of fact with Alfred Hitchcock on how therapy works, Hitchcock said, "My dear, it's only a movie." See more »
When the hotel bellboy brings the newspaper to Constance he notices her photograph on the front page. Freeze-framing reveals that the articles adjacent to the photograph are actually random paragraphs of text. See more »
Miss Carmichael, please. Dr. Petersen is ready for you.
See more »
Just before the opening credits, an overture is played. See more »
Hitchcock marshaled some strong forces for this dark exploration of the psyche, with A-list leads in Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman, plus crack writer Ben Hecht and perhaps most famously Surrealist artist Salvador Dali to create Peck's defining dream sequence. It's still Hitchcock's film though.
And a very watchable one at that. It has its faults, with almost every scene carrying some expository message, none more so than when Bergman's psychiatric nurse pieces together not only how the real Dr Edwardes' was murdered but where and by whom, glaring plot-gaps, plus it just has too many words, but helped along by some typically stylish direction from the Master, with some memorable set-pieces along the way, it's still a reasonably gripping and exciting noir-esque movie.
No matter that Peck and Bergman don't seem right for their parts, they play out the fantastic plot with conviction and almost have you think they mean it while U.N.C.L.E.'s Mr Waverley Leo G Carroll is excellent as the displaced hospital governor.
As for those set-pieces, nothing outdoes Dali's memorable sequence containing many of his artistic talismen, such as soft constructions, masked figures and eerie landscapes, but Hitch gets in his tuppenceworth too with Bergman's doors-opening first kiss, another suspense-ful drink of milk (after "Suspicion") and the subjective finishing shot (literally) which must have blown away (again, literally) its original audience. However there are also many less showy, subtle touches with unusual camera angles and fluid camera movements sewn seamlessly into the whole.
To make implausible material like this work takes no little skill and Hitchcock does a grand job in taking his audience along with him, leaving them if not exactly spellbound, then certainly entertained.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?