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|Index||16 reviews in total|
Huston does very good work here, using a fine script in presenting the story
of Freud not as a standard biography, but concentrating only on his initial
work in examining the effect of the subconscious mind on conscious (though
perhaps involuntary) actions - an idea believed preposterous at the time.
The narrative is presented essentially as a psychological detective story,
as Freud tries to discover the root causes of one patient's multiple
afflictions and aberrant behavior, none of which has any physical cause. The
film uses depictions of memories, dreams, thoughts as visual clues - all
progressively revealing more - to lead us (and Freud) steadily closer to the
underlying truth in the case, as well as in other areas disturbing him.
The opening and closing narration (by Huston) is effective, though the occasional narration he does as the story progresses bothered me a little; it was as if they felt there was something missing from the film which had to be explained in voiceover, and it also pulled me out of the story momentarily. Probably it would have been more effective if Clift (rather than Huston) had done the narration, from Freud's point of view, in the body of the film.
The film, which maintains a serious, fiercely somber atmosphere throughout (similar to The Elephant Man though perhaps more so here), does not proceed with any real speed - you'll need to stay with it; and the dark, harsh style of photography and music (while effective) might be difficult for some viewers. You need not agree with Freud's concluding theories (many of which are not held in particularly high regard today) in order to recognize the importance and validity of his primary methods and pioneering work in what was then a highly ridiculed field. 8 of 10
John Huston does a great job telling the story of Freud's discovery of the
subconscious and the Oedipus complex -- and turning the plot into a mystery
Clift gives a sobering, troubled performance as Freud -- perhaps because Clift, like Freud, was haunted by his own demons.
The film is in black and white which is very effective, especially in the night and dream sequences. The music and atmosphere suggest vintage TWILIGHT ZONE. This is a fascinating film which reveals Freud in a new light and makes us look at ourselves also in a new light.
I use this film in my course, Psychopathology in the Cinema, at Adelphi University to depict the early years of modern psychoanalysis. It is also an excellent dramatic film.
I saw this film 40 years ago and see that no VHS is available,
which is a pity. It is much better than "The Young Freud" which has
recently been showing on PBS. It captures in some depth the
creativity and uniqueness of Freud's early discoveries, which were
amplified by him and others throughout the 20th century and into
the 21st. We see him doggedly and devotedly looking for the root
causes of a psychological illness which masqueraded as a
physical (neurological) illness for centuries. His discoveries,
stemming from this time, have greatly influenced modern thinking,
such that we call our times "The Age of Anxiety." They have led to
the appreciation of childhood sexuality and abuse and have taken
psychological abuse out from under the carpet, where these
pivotal events have been hidden for centuries. Freud was able to
see the classic appeal of the Greek tragedies and interpret why
they retain their power and are performed today, 3000 years later!
The very underrated 1962 picture "Freud" shows again why its director John Huston was a masterful biographer and adapter of the works of others. As much as a movie is able to, he captures the slightly mad, intense world of psychoanalysis using its father as his dramatic subject. In fact, the film is a perfect and popular introduction into this the most personal of sciences. The film puts me in mind of Hitchcock's "Spellbound", Bergman's "Wild Strawberries", Lynch's "The Elephant Man" and Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" - all of which deal with the stuff of which nightmares are made.
It's always interesting to see how the art of cinema... a form of expression which much too often suffers under an audience and financial backers who demand simple entertainment, easily taken in and processed... deals with topics that are more complex and intricate than can be explained to the common movie-goer in a limited space of time, that being between an hour and a half and about three hours(in recent years, there has been a return of the longer running times... for better or for worse, and with ranging success). Psycho-analysis was also dealt with by the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock... in Spellbound, in 1945. He, as Huston does here, gave it a fair treatment, though oversimplifying it some. What's interesting is that Huston, while his film seems to be the lesser known, is actually the better representation of the subject(though, mind you, not necessarily the better film). This deals with Freud and his discoveries, following him for half a decade, giving what may be a fairly accurate account of his first work with hypnosis and psycho-analysis. We see a few of his patients, and the film focuses on him as he works on one particular patient... whose symptoms strongly resemble some he, to a (considerably) lesser degree has himself, and we experience how he develops and presents(and is met with strong protest and outrage, as he indeed was in real life) one theory which would become a cornerstone of his psychological writings and his view on man. I will not reveal what it is here, but anyone should know what he believed before watching this, since it is a rather provocative idea(and it is somewhat glorified in this film... Freud comes across as more of a misunderstood genius than the hopeful man(who did yield some important and interesting discoveries) that he was in real life). The cinematic values of the film are fine... the pace could have been more consistent(it should be noted that I watched a cut that was 120 minutes, not 139, long), and there are one or two scenes which seem obsolete, but there's little else that stands out, neither positively nor negatively. The film's score is dramatic, but that is not uncommon for a movie of that period. There are several nice touches in the film, in regards to who it is about... among them the Freudian slip in a scene with a patient. I recommend this to anyone interested in psychology, regardless of their view on Freud... it's interesting to watch, and fairly nicely done, to boot. Just keep in mind that it's neither a documentary nor a proper biographical film. 7/10
I agree with most of the positive reviews here at IMDb, so I will
concentrate on another aspect of the film.
Hollywood legend contends that during the shooting of FREUD, John Huston gleefully and sadistically brutalized poor, trusting Montgomery Clift, both physically and emotionally. The story took hold and has been repeated countless times by Clift biographers down to this day, despite the lack of any corroborating witnesses, plus no other actors ever came forward to say that Huston was so cruel to them on other shoots.
For the most part, John Huston didn't care what people said about him, but this story actually did damage to his reputation. It is the only negative story about Huston that he felt the need to respond to. In his 1979 memoirs, AN OPEN BOOK, Huston gives a detailed account of the shooting of FREUD, and addresses the specific allegations against him. We may never know the whole truth, but Huston does quite a credible job of defending himself. Naturally, his side of the story never got as much attention as the original charges. You should find the book and read it.
More trivia: After Jean-Paul Sartre's death, his admirers published much of his original, unused screen treatment, and predictably condemned John Huston for not filming Sartre's eight-hour screenplay (as if anyone would have tolerated an eight-hour movie).
Because of Sigmund Freud's theories, FREUD was arguably the first motion picture to deal, even briefly, with the subject of incest. In real life, Freud contended that many adolescents go through a phase where they have sexual feelings for their parents of the opposite sex, and then go into denial that they ever felt such things after they get older. If Freud was correct, the denial is very strong, for he is reviled for this theory to this day. But readers, can you HONESTLY say that, as a young teen, that you never once cast a glance at mom's legs or her cleavage?
FREUD is a good biographical film, and it is a shame that it has never been pleased on VHS or DVD. One has to wonder why---maybe Freud's theories still hit that raw of a nerve?
According to the Citadel Film Series book about the films of John
Huston, he was interested for about 20 years in bringing Sigmund
Freud's life and work to the big screen. When he finally got a script
from philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre it was an eight hour epic which he
finally trimmed down to less than two and half hours. A manageable
length and it only covers the years 1885 to 1891 when Freud developed
his theories about infant sexuality and the Oedipal complex.
Just the mere fact that when you mention psychology and ask who is the person most associated with the field and Freud is the answer 99% of the time qualifies him to be the first man of his field. Those theories which he expounds have been challenged down through the years, but more often than not his peers are building on what he started and not just outrightly dismissing Freud.
The subject is probably too complex a one to bring to the screen for the lay person, but Huston makes a valiant effort. Huston also had Code parameters to deal with in 1962. Huston is also helped along by a great performance he coaxed out of Montgomery Clift and God knows Clift was a man by that time beset with his own demons of the mind and had seen enough of psychology as well as more addicting methods of pain control. Huston had the devil's own time with Clift, but Clift responded greatly. It was a miracle this film was finished at all.
This was Montgomery Clift's last really great film. He did a rather pedestrian spy novel The Defector four years later as his last film. That was like a tune up film for him to do before he was to start Reflections In A Golden Eye. Monty was way too gone by then and essentially just walked through that one. He should have gone out with Freud.
There are a couple of other performances of note. Sussanah York as the girl who Clift treats that really gets him thinking along the lines of sex and David McCallum as well as a mental patient who shows some interesting subliminal sexual behavior under hypnosis. Larry Parks also makes an appearance as Freud's colleague, friend, but critic in the end Joseph Breuer.
Essentially Freud is Clift's show all the way and a grand show it is. And this review is dedicated to my father Leonard S. Kogan who was most prominent in this field and had a bust of Freud along with Einstein and Washington among the bric a brac in our house as people he admired.
I found this film by accident. A happy one? Montgomery Cliff, John
Huston, Jean-Paul Sartre and an image of Marilyn Monroe are purposely
put together though it comes across as accidental.
On the plus, it is educational to see how something mainstream presents material which should be avant guard. The dream sequences are interesting for that reason as the film would have been much better if they pushed the envelope. Instead, the film maintains a balance in the imaginings of what an Oedipal Complex were, of what dreams are like, and, I suppose, the images are as developed as they could be for 1960's America. For that reason I recommend it: The film is a bit of time capsule in how films were made.
Against the film, the pacing is unnecessarily slow and the acting is wooden or melodramatic for todays audience. The dialogue presents the Freud's ideas with ease but there 's no art in the language.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With a friend about to start her second year studying counselling at
university,I began looking round for a psychology/counselling movie
that she could enjoy watching on her upcoming birthday.Catching me
completely by surprise,a 'recommend' came up on Amazon UK's site for a
bio-pic on Sigmund Freud that I had never heard about before,which led
to me excitingly getting ready to enter the mind of Sigmund Freud.
Deeply uncomfortable with Dr. Theodore Meynert's out right dismissal on 'hysteria' and it's connection to patients physical illnesses, Sigmund Freud decides to travel to Paris,where Jean-Martin Charcot has been experimenting with some new techniques on his patients.Meeting Jean- Martin Charcot,Freud is amazed at Charcots use of hypnosis to cure his patients physical disorders.
As he spends time studying Charcots work,Freud becomes friends with Josef Breuer,who like himself also has a deep desire to expand upon Charcots work.Returning to Vienna,Freud and Breuer begin to focus on the mental,rather than the physical,issues that their patients are facing.Finding Cecily Koertner to be a deeply troubled patient,Freud and Breuer begin to use Charcots techniques to uncover what lays in in Koertners subconscious.
View on the film:
Despite the movie having a number of backstage 'issues' which Freud would have had a field day with, (Jean-Paul Sartre taking his name off the title after his script got chopped to bits,director John Huston having a falling out with actor Montgomery Clift,due to Huston reacting negatively to Cliff's homosexuality,which led to Huston acting like a 'sadist' towards Cliff for the entire shoot.)The film works in a surprisingly strong manner,which combines fragmented imagery with cleverly worded psychological insight.
Whilst the screenplay by Charles Kaufman (whose not the Charlie Kaufman that wrote Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind!) and Wolfgang Reinhardt leaves behind some of the most controversial aspects in Freud's life, (such as there being no trail of the nose candy which Freud used!)the writer's show a tremendous skill in painting a full portrait of Freud,as the writer's balance Freud's belief in treating mental illness with a stubbornness,which shows Freud being unable to accept any doubt or alternative views which fellow psychoanalysis share with him.Changing the name of Bertha Pappenheim/Anna O. (who Freud lied about Breuer having an affair with,after he and Breuer had fallen out)to Cecily Koertner,the writer's give the movie a fantastic shot of Film Noir,with Freud's accidental discovering a counselling route,leading to Koertner and Freud discovering the most disturbing,darken thoughts that lurk in their subconscious.
Covering the film with each of the character's dreams/nightmares,director John Huston and cinematographer Douglas Slocombe bring Freud's dreams alive by giving the dream sequences a distinctive appearance, by splashing the scenes in Jerry Goldsmith's surreal score,and giving the corners of the scene a delightful fading memory atmosphere.
Along with the startling dream moments,Huston also soaks the title in thick Film Noir ink,with Huston expertly using extreme close-ups to show the unravelling of Koertner's mind,and also using smoke and striking low- lighting to bring to life the dark corners of the mind that Freud lights up.
Although he had a far from easy time filming, Montgomery Cliff gives a fantastic performance as Freud,with Cliff softening some of the blunt edges of the screenplay by showing a real sense of wonder in his eyes,as Cliff allows his perfect fake-German accent to crack,as Freud begins to realise what he has uncovered. Aged 17 at the time of filming, Susannah York gives an extraordinary performance as Cecily Koertner,thanks to York showing Koertner's mix of fear and desire,as Koertner begins to dig up her buried subconscious with Sigmund Freud.
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