- Spellbound review by Steve Mason
The Master gives us a familiar Hitchcockian hero in flight from the law, and another innocent man fighting to clear his name. But this time the MacGuffin is an incident suppressed in the guilt complex of a doctor wrongly accused of murder. It is one of the first of the run of psychoanalysis thrillers that appeared after WWII, and the authority of the subconsciousness became one of the Master's recurring themes.
When Ingrid Bergman (in her glasses and lab coat) and Gregory Peck appear as psychiatrists at the start of the film, so glamorous are they it takes about twenty minutes to suspend disbelief.
In the era of film noir, it is diverting to see a film so white, as Peck reacts unpredictably to any memory of snow. But apart from that visual motif, it is as quintessential as any Hitchcock film and the first of three adapted with and written by the great Ben Hecht.
It has a strikingly modernist style. Obviously the dream sequence featuring original artwork by Salvador Dali lends it that image. But it has many startling visual perspectives. I like the scene where an abstracted Gregory Peck is followed by the camera down a stairway until we see a cut throat razor in his hand in close up. It looks like something you see in a seventies horror, such was Hitch's influence..
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