Release year: 1945
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Screenwriter: Ben Hecht,
Starring: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov, Leo G. Carroll, Rhonda Flemin, John Emery, Norman Lloyd
Ratings: 1 Oscar: Best Music. 5 Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Michael Chekhov), Best Director, Best Black-and-White Cinematography, Best Special Effects.
Dr. Constance Petersen (Bergman) takes an instant liking to her new colleague the renowned Dr. Anthony Edwards (Peck). When it appears, he is not who he says he is, but a presumed dangerous amnesia patient, she risks everything to prove his innocence.
The Master of Suspense uses several of his trademarks to raise the suspense in this film noir classic. The mistaken identity, a famous actress in the leading role, expertedly used shadows and music and off course, the inevitable cameo from the director himself (walking out of an elevator at the Empire State Hotel). Bergman (Casablanca, 1942) is a good match for a Hitchcock heroine, a feature she repeated twice with Notorious in 1946 and Under Capricorn in 1949 and opposite her tall, dark and handsome Peck (To Kill a Mockingbird, 1962) easily charms as well as bring unease as the mysterious doctor/patient. He too worked with the acclaimed director again in The Paradine Case in 1947. The story is well-written and well executed with great dialogue and there is no doubt the two famous leads, still known as two of the great ones, lifts the movie. But one of the more memorable parts is Chekhov’s (Specter of the Rose, 1946) sly Dr. Brulov, a former teacher of Petersen. The Oscar winning music is used to great effect to raise the suspense and terror with melodramatic moments in between, and as most of Hitchcock’s work, this is more than worth a watch.
The dream sequence was designed by no other than the famous surrealistic painter Salvador Dalí.
Alfred Hitchcock referred to the movie as a manhunt wrapped up in pseudo-psychoanalysis and is one of the first movies to deal with the therapeutic technique.
The Shakespeare quotation at the start of this movie is an abbreviated version of something that Cassius said to Brutus in Act 1 Scene 2 of “Julius Caesar”. The full quotation is “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
Picture copyrights: Scanbox