Friday, February 18, 2005

No, it's not about cute kids asking for word origins: "Spellbound"

How can you not love the Turner Classic Movies channel? They run all these movies I know I should have seen but never bit the bullet and rented at the video store. Exhibit A: "Spellbound."

Not to be confused with the recent documentary on the National Spelling Bee -- a movie I was much more quick to see as a former spelling geek (from the Latin "geekus") -- this always seemed to be one of those Alfred Hitchcock movies that wasn't that famous. "Psycho?" "Look out for that knife!" "North by Northwest?" "Look out for that plane!" "The Birds?" "Look out for those ... um, birds!" Perhaps accordingly, "Spellbound" didn't dazzle me that much.

Not that it was bad. Hey, I could watch Ingrid Bergman cut her toenails for two hours (although that can't be good for her nails). And it was interesting to see Gregory Peck, more famous for his later role in "To Kill a Mockingbird" -- Atticus! Atticus! Atticus! -- play a befuddled amnesiac prone to dark looks at random moments.

And then there's Hitchcock, whose look at psychoanalysis in 1945 (wow, 60 years ago) must have been ahead of its time. Some of the weird visuals, such as a Salvador Dali dream sequence, worked. Others -- namely Peck and Bergman skiing cheek-to-cheek -- didn't. But hey, this isn't a James Bond movie. (Still, naming Bergman's character "Constance R. Gassem" instead of "Constance Peterson" would have been something.)


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