Blu-ray Review: SPELLBOUND

MGM Home Entertainment
Release Date: Jan 24, 2012

SPELLBOUND may be best known as the film that saw Alfred Hitchcock team up with Salavador Dali (Dali designed the dream sequences). But it also noteworthy as it was one of the first films to feature psychoanalysis so prominently.

The setting is the suitably creepy Green Manors, an asylum for those struggling with issues (as we would call them today). Gregory Peck arrives and is supposed to be Dr. Anthony Edwardes, a renowned leader in the psychiatric field. Dr. Edwardes is replacing Dr. Murchison (Leo G. Carroll)as  the head of Green Manor after Dr. Murchison has a breakdown.

From the moment she lays eyes on Dr. Edwardes,  Dr. Constance Peterson (Ingrid Bergman) is drawn to him. Dr. Peterson is a cool, reserved woman, but Dr. Edwardes’ presence has her off balance and feeling oddly emotional. She soon starts to realize something is wrong and gets Edwardes to reveal his secret: He is not Dr. Edwardes and is not even sure of his full name, only knowing his first name is John and his last name starts with a B.

John is haunted by a sense of guilt and thinks he may have killed someone. This would sound bad under any circumstances, but it turns out that the real Dr. Edwardes was murdered.

Dr. Peterson enlists the aid of her mentor as they attempt to help John break through his amnesia and find out not only who he is, but what he saw or did. This is where the amazing dream sequence comes into play. Dali put together a beautiful, bizarre dream in which the truth lies.

The film is presented in 1080p with the original ratio of  1.37:1. Overall quality is pretty good, the scratches are minimal and I did not see any obvious signs of digital noise reduction.  Because of the lack of DNR, I am guessing the transfer came from a  good print.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono soundtrack is good, perhaps better than the DVD releases. I remember being frustrated by the mix in the past, with the soundtrack music seeming to be much louder than the dialogue.  That is still the case somewhat, but not so much as to be distracting.

While SPELLBOUND may not be the strongest Hitchcock film, it is still a very entertaining, slickly crafted thriller. Hitchcock displays a mastery of tension that remains unmatched in modern cinema. SPELLBOUND is gripping and cloaked in a creepy setting that makes it far more effective than one might expect.

Jeremy Lynch