Spellbound (1945)

This review was originally written as part of my USA Road Trip for French Toast Sunday.

Dr. Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) is a brilliant psychiatrist, but is lacking in bedside manner. She works at Green Manor amongst some quite sexist male colleagues and has never found love, until the new hospital director, Dr. Anthony Edwardes (Gregory Peck, and I’d love it if in E.R. Anthony Edwards played a Dr. Gregory Pecke, but alas life isn’t perfect) arrives to take over from long-term serving director Dr. Murchison (Leo G. Carroll). Constance and Edwardes become close but his behaviour concerns her, particularly his outbursts whenever he sees dark parallel lines against a pale background and, in digging into his past, Constance discovers that Edwardes may not be quite who he seems.12518_55 Continue reading

HitchcOctober Day 26: Notorious (1946)

When her German father is arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison for treason, Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) is recruited by the American government as the perfect candidate to spy on some suspected Nazi agents in Brazil. For her mission, Alicia must become close with one of the agents, Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains) which doesn’t sit well with her American correspondent Devlin (Cary Grant), as he and Alicia have recently fallen in love.review625
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HitchcOctober Day 16: Under Capricorn

In 1831, Charles Adare (Michael Wilding) the governor’s cousin and youngest son of his family’s wealthy estate, arrives in Sydney to leave his mark. He soon meets Mr. Sam Flusky (Joseph Cotten) a local businessman and land owner, whose emancipated past leaves him with an ill reputation around town, particularly with the governor (Cecil Parker), with whom Charles is staying. Charles is forbidden from engaging with Flusky in any manner, but the reckless younger man disobeys his superior, and heads to Flusky’s house anyway, despite the many warnings he receives from numerous, unrelated people. At Flusky’s dinner party, Charles runs into Flusky’s wife, Henrietta (Ingrid Bergman), who usually remains out of the way and hidden. It soon becomes clear that Hetty has an alcohol problem and is regularly drunk, but once Charles recognises Hetty as being a friend of his sister’s from their youth, the newcomer sets about improving her condition, much to the annoyance of Hetty’s maid Milly (Margaret Leighton).bergman-and-wilding
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Casablanca

I’ve finally watched Casablanca! After Gone with the Wind and Singin’ in the Rain I’ll finally be able to call myself a film fan. Don’t worry, they’re on the list, and GWTW is on my DVD shelf, so watch this space. There are many films – these three included – that are held with such high regard in the cinematic community – nay, the world – that one cannot possibly expect to leave the film having had expectations met and a smile on the face, so I went in expecting nothing but misquoted famous lines, romantic clinches and a bitter sense of disappointment, yet when those closing credits rolled the sense of elation tingling up my spine cannot be exaggerated. What we have here is more than a film, it’s a landmark in history.

Humphrey Bogart is of course Rick, owner of Rick’s Cafe American in Casablanca, French Morocco around the outbreak of World War 2. Bogey set the template for cynics on screen, sticking his neck out for nobody but those that will help him along. Rarely is there a moment when he isn’t drinking, smoking or both. The story involves a concentration camp escapee and secret documents containing a letter of transit allowing a safe departure from the town, but what you’re really here for is the script. Everyone knows the classics, “Here’s looking at you kid” “all the gin joints…” and “we’ll always have Paris” (“play it again, Sam” is never actually uttered) but the lesser known phrases are just as good, if not better: “I have given him the best, knowing he is German and would take it anyway” “this gun is pointed right at your head”/”that is my least vulnerable spot”.

Long scenes make the film seem longer than it is (for a classic it is surprisingly sleight at only 102 minutes) and Ingrid Bergman wears a distractingly terrible blouse for much of the film, but if yuo haven’t seen this film, I urge you to do so soon.I think I’ll go watch it again.

Choose film 9/10