Spellbound Essay Research Paper SpellboundIn the film

Spellbound Essay, Research Paper


In the film Spellbound Dr. Murchison, the head of Green Manors mental asylum, is retiring to be replaced by Dr. Edwards, a famous psychiatrist. Dr. Edwards arrives and is immediately attracted to Dr. Constance Peterson. Nevertheless, it soon becomes apparent that Dr. Edwards is a paranoid amnesic fraud. He runs from the police and Dr. Peterson is compelled to find and help him remember what happened to the real Dr. Edwards.

Spellbound was not a film noir. Crime and detection wasn?t viewed in a dark and urban environment. The only part that was dark was when Dr. Peterson and the fraud Dr. Edwards where on the train to Rome, Georgia. Dr Peterson was trying to pry memories out of him. I admit that John Ballantine was a bit cynical, but only when he was trying to remember what had happened to him. Otherwise, he was very friendly and sociable.High contrast lighting was used once, that I noticed. It was used when Dr. Peterson and Dr. Brulov where analyzing ?Dr. Edwards? dream. They figured out why he was scared of white with black lines. Then they showed a picture of the outside where it was snowing and there were sled marks in the snow. Even though I don?t recall any low camera angles, I do know that they had deep focus on that same shot.

The hero in this film was Dr. Constance Peterson. She was not ruthless and greedy and neither was the assumed criminal. Dr. Peterson was disillusioned because of her love for John Ballantine, but it destructed her sight of logic not her sight to see that John was a criminal. She was but wasn?t alienated from society. The society that she knows is the people she works with, but since she works in a mental asylum she is alienated from ?normal? society. Dr. Peterson works against the police only to find out what actually happened to the real Dr. Edwards, but she is not a suspect to the crime. Personally, I wouldn?t call her psychologically wounded or morally ambiguous, just hard headed. Since she is a woman, I don?t think she could be destroyed by a femme fatale.

Some of ideas of a film noir are in Spellbound, but not enough to make it a film noir. There was only one death throughout the entire film and the viewer never even got to know him. It was not as dark or as mysterious as the other films our class has watched. The film was very bright considering its plot, but the plot wasn?t harsh enough to call it film noir.


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