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Ingrid Bergman in Spellbound
Ingrid Bergman in Spellbound

Bloody hell. This is such sexist shite. It’s embarrassing. Everybody tells Constance she’s just a silly woman in love and she is. Despite being a fucking psychiatrist. The psychoanalysis is painful, the score is over wrought, the acting abysmal, the dialogue poor.

There is a hilarious moment when a photo of a glamorous looking Bergman is defaced with a pair of spectacles as if she was Clark Kent and was unrecognisable otherwise.

The ending with Constance confronting Dr Murchison is effective but otherwise the film is boring and annoying.

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I don’t really like Lifeboat. I don’t like any of the characters or any of the actors playing them. I can feel sorry for them but a lot of the time they are rather annoying, or rude, or naïve, and it certainly feels a little weird that the German is portrayed as being cleverer than the allied characters. Hume Cronyn’s accent is very aggravating – why couldn’t he have just been Canadian!

I appreciate how ingenious the film making is and it never feels gimmicky but it doesn’t work for me.

One of the characters I did like.
One of the characters I did like.

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Shadow of a Doubt is one of my favourite films. I think this is in spite of it being an Alfred Hitchcock film. It is the first of his films that deserves scholarly analysis not that you are getting one here.

On a basic level I love it because Teresa Wright is one of my favourite actresses. This stems from the first time I became aware of her which is when we were probably the same age (or at least she was playing that age range) so I could relate to her. She was dark haired and so naturally beautiful but also intelligent and honest. And who wouldn’t want to be that? And what films those first films were! The Little Foxes, Shadow of a Doubt, The Best Years of Our Life, Pursued, Enchantment, even Mrs Miniver and The Pride of the Yankees. And she is just so good in Shadow of a Doubt.

I cannot imagine anyone better cast as Young Charlie. That is another reason to love the film, the cast is superb. Cotton, Collinge, Cronyn, Carey, and that’s just the Cs.

It is very funny. Much funnier than Mr and Mrs Smith!

I like that it was shot on location and in a real house. I even think the romance is handled well. It is easy to laugh at Hollywood’s instant love affairs but this is much more subtle. And it takes place in a garage.

My other favourite film stars at that time were Bette Davis and Ingrid Bergman. Now Davis is a tremendous star but I couldn’t ever imagine being either her or the roles she played. She was simply too brittle, too highly strung, and too angry. And Bergman was too utterly gorgeous and unattainable. Film stars weren’t called goddesses for nothing! As an aside I have difficulty imagining a film with Bergman and Wright as co-stars. They seem so incompatible.

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Saboteur is a thoroughly likeable thriller with charming leads. It’s like a cross between The 39 Steps and North by Northwest and there are several set pieces that wouldn’t be out of place in any of Hitchcock’s best films.

The brightly lit sunny scene at the ranch with sweet Susie and her suavely sinister grandfather played by Otto Kruger.

Robert Cummings and Otto Kruger with sweet Susie

The circus caravan sequence is beautifully written with lovely engaging characters.

Circus folk

I love scenes set in ghost towns. Perhaps they are romantic because they are a rarity in the UK. The scene in the office reminded me of a point and click adventure as they locate the tripod and the telescope.

Robert Cuimmings and Priscilla Lane in the ghost town

The finale at the Statue of Liberty is brilliant and very exciting (though as has been pointed out it really should be the hero hanging by a thread not the villain).

Norman Lloyd hanging on to the Statue of Liberty

Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane were lovely and fresh and an age appropriate couple.

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Johnnie may be played by Cary Grant but he’s actually not at all charming but unattractively weak, lazy, and manipulative. And infuriating.

Cary Grant is creepy

(And creepy.)

That ending is so bad. It’s almost as weak as Johnnie’s character. I prefer to think of the film ending just after Johnnie walks up the stairs with the glass of milk and Lina sits up in bed.

Lina has her suspicions

The following are more interesting than Johnnie and Lina: Nigel Bruce as the lovable Beaky, Auriol Lee (who was killed in a car crash on her way back home from filming this) as the crime writer, and her lesbian friend played by Nondas Metcalf who is uncredited but thanks to the Internet her life can be filled in by calling at the James A. Michener Art Museum (I love the Internet).

Transport: train, many cars (occasionally driven along a suspicious looking Californian coastline)
Animals: dogs and horses
Alma fact: screenplay co-written by
Source: Warner Brothers (USA)