la maison du docteur edwardes (1945) Alfred Hitchcock

Le docteur Constance Petersen travaille dans un établissement psychiatrique du nom de Green Manors, dirigé par le docteur Murchison. Ce dernier est sur le point de partir en retraite (anticipée) et doit être remplacé par le jeune et talentueux docteur Anthony Edwardes. Une fois installé, le nouveau directeur s’avère être un amnésique du nom de J. B., soupçonné d’avoir fait disparaître le véritable docteur Edwardes. Constance Petersen, qui en est tombée amoureuse, va l’aider à retrouver son identité. Ensemble, ils vont tenter de découvrir qui a assassiné l’infortuné docteur Edwardes.

Fiche technique

Distribution

Et, parmi les acteurs non crédités :

Analyse

Le titre anglais, Spellbound, signifie envoûté. Qui, dans le film, est envoûté ? Il y a d’abord J.B. (Peck) qui est amnésique et croit être le meurtrier du Pr Edwardes et de son jeune frère ; ensuite il y a Constance, envoûtée par l’amour qu'elle porte à J.B. ; enfin il y a le spectateur, que le metteur en scène mène par le bout du nez, jusqu'au double renversement final (l'annonce du meurtre par balles du Pr Edwardes et la découverte du véritable meurtrier, le Pr Murchison).

Comme c'est souvent le cas dans les films d'Hitchcock, c'est la question de l'identité qui est en jeu dans ce film. D'abord, il y a, au début du film, l'usurpation de l'identité du Pr Edwardes, usurpation rapidement révélée. Puis il y a l'amnésie de J.B. dont la question, tout au long du film est : qui suis-je? qu'ai-je fait? Et finalement il y a l'enquête qui amène à la révélation de l'identité du véritable meurtrier.

Cette question de l'identité se fonde, dans ce film, sur une vision simplifiée de la théorie psychanalytique de Freud, dont la finalité thérapeutique est de révéler les scènes originaires traumatiques afin de rétablir l'équilibre psychologique des patients. Dans le film, il y a en particulier une scène où J.B. raconte un rêve qui deviendra l’élément rééquilibrant de toute l’intrigue.

Autour du film

  • Caméo: À la 40e minute, Hitchcock sort d'un ascenseur de l'Empire Hôtel, un étui de violon à la main.
  • Les scènes de rêve/hallucination ont été dessinées par Salvador Dalí. Selon le témoignage d'Ingrid Bergman donné dans la biographie de Donald Spoto, The Dark Side of Genius (1983), la scène de rêve durait originellement 20 minutes environ1. L'actrice se changeait en statue de Diane. Le producteur David O. Selznick, qui détestait les conceptions de Dalí, décida de minimiser la scène de rêve.

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Spellbound is a 1945 American film noir psychological mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It tells the story of the new head of a mental asylum who turns out not to be what he claims. The film stars Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov and Leo G. Carroll. It is an adaptation by Angus MacPhail and Ben Hecht of the novel The House of Dr. Edwardes (1927) by Hilary Saint George Saunders and John Palmer.

Plot

The film opens with this quote:

The Fault... is Not in Our Stars,
But in Ourselves...

— William Shakespeare

and announces that it wishes to highlight the virtues of psychoanalysis in banishing mental illness and restoring reason.

Dr. Constance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman) is a psychoanalyst at Green Manors, a mental hospital in Vermont. She is perceived by the other (male) doctors as detached and emotionless. The director of the hospital, Dr. Murchison (Leo G. Carroll), is being forced into retirement, shortly after returning from an absence due to nervous exhaustion. His replacement is Dr. Anthony Edwardes (Gregory Peck), who turns out to be surprisingly young.

Dr. Petersen notices that Dr. Edwardes has a peculiar phobia about sets of parallel lines against a white background. She also soon realizes, by comparing handwriting, that this man is an impostor. He confides to her that he killed Dr. Edwardes and took his place. He suffers from massive amnesia and does not know who he is. Dr. Petersen believes he is innocent and suffering from a guilt complex. He disappears overnight, leaving a note for her. At the same time, it becomes public knowledge that 'Dr. Edwardes' is an impostor, and that the real Dr. Edwardes is missing and may have been murdered.

Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman in Spellbound

Dr. Petersen manages to track him down, and starts to use her psychoanalytic training to break his amnesia and find out what really happened. Pursued by the police, Dr. Petersen and the impostor (calling himself 'John Brown') travel by train to Rochester, New York where they stay with Dr. Brulov (Michael Chekhov), Dr. Petersen's former mentor.

The two doctors analyze a dream that 'John Brown' had. The dream sequence (designed by Salvador Dalí) is full of psychoanalytic symbols – eyes, curtains, scissors, playing cards (some of them blank), a man with no face, a man falling off a building, a man hiding behind a chimney and dropping a wheel, and being pursued by large wings. They deduce that Brown and Edwardes had been on a ski trip together (the lines in white being ski tracks), and that Edwardes had somehow died there. Dr. Petersen and Brown go to the Gabriel Valley ski resort (the wings provide a clue), to reenact the event.

Near the bottom of the hill, Brown's memory suddenly returns. He recalls that there is a precipice in front of them, over which Edwardes had fallen to his death. He stops them just in time. He also remembers a traumatic event from his childhood – he slid down a hand rail with his brother at the bottom, accidentally knocking him onto sharp-pointed railings, killing him. This incident had caused him to develop a guilt complex. He also remembers that his real name is John Ballantyne. All is understood now, and Ballantyne is about to be exonerated, when it is discovered that Edwardes had a bullet in his body. Ballantyne is convicted of murder and sent to prison.

A heartbroken Dr. Petersen returns to her position at the hospital, where Dr. Murchison is once again the director. Murchison lets slip that he had known Edwardes slightly, and didn't like him, contradicting his earlier claims. Now suspicious, Dr. Petersen reconsiders her notes from the dream and realizes that the 'wheel' was a revolver, and that the man hiding behind the chimney and dropping the wheel, was Dr. Murchison who shot Edwardes, and then dropped the gun.

Petersen confronts Murchison. He confesses, but explains that he still has the gun, and threatens to kill her. She walks away, the gun still pointed at her, explaining that while the first murder was committed under the extenuating circumstances of Dr. Murchison's fragile mental state, her murder would certainly lead him to the electric chair. He allows her to leave, then turns the gun on himself.

Dr. Petersen is reunited with Ballantyne. They honeymoon together from the same Grand Central Station where they first tried to pursue the mystery of his psychosis.

Cast

Cameo

Hitchcock's cameo appearance is a signature occurrence in almost all of his films. In Spellbound, he can be seen coming out of an elevator at the Empire State Hotel, carrying a violin case and smoking a cigarette, about 43:15 minutes into the film. The trailer for Spellbound's original theatrical release in America made a great deal of fuss over this cameo, showing the footage twice and even freeze-framing Hitchcock's brief appearance while a breathless narrator informs us that this ordinary-looking man is the film's director.

Production

Spellbound caused major contention between Alfred Hitchcock and producer David O. Selznick. Hitchcock's contract with Selznick began in March 1939, but only resulted in three films: Rebecca (1940) and The Paradine Case (1947) being the other two. (Notorious was sold to RKO in mid-production.) Selznick wanted Hitchcock to make a movie based upon Selznick's own positive experience with psychoanalysis. Selznick even brought in his therapist, May Romm M.D., who was credited in the film as a technical adviser. Dr. Romm and Hitchcock clashed frequently.[5]

Further contention was caused by the hiring of surrealist artist Salvador Dalí to conceive certain scenes in the film's key dream sequence. However, the sequence conceived and designed by Dalí and Hitchcock, once translated to film, proved to be too lengthy and too complicated, so the vast majority of what was filmed was cut from the film during editing. About two minutes of the dream sequence appear in the final film, but Ingrid Bergman said that the sequence had been almost 20 minutes long before it was cut by Selznick.[6]

The cut footage apparently no longer exists, although some production stills have survived in the Selznick archives. Eventually Selznick hired William Cameron Menzies, who had worked on Gone With the Wind, to oversee the set designs and to direct the sequence. Hitchcock himself had very little to do with its actual filming.[6]

Spellbound was filmed in black and white, except for two frames of bright red at the conclusion, when a gun is fired into the camera. This red detail was deleted in most 16mm and video formats, but was restored for the film's DVD release and airings on Turner Classic Movies.

Casting

Selznick originally wanted Joseph Cotten, Dorothy McGuire and Paul Lukas to play the roles portrayed by Peck, Bergman and Chekhov respectively.[7][8] Greta Garbo was considered for the role of Dr. Constance Petersen.[8] Hitchcock wanted Joseph Cotten to portray Dr. Murchison.[9] Selznick also wanted Jennifer Jones to portray Dr. Petersen but Hitchcock objected.[10][11]

Bergman and Peck's relationship

Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck were both married to others at the time of production — Bergman to Petter Aron Lindström and Peck to Greta Kukkonen— but they had a brief affair during filming.[12] Their secret relationship became public knowledge when Peck confessed to Brad Darrach of People in an interview five years after Bergman's death: "All I can say is that I had a real love for her (Bergman), and I think that’s where I ought to stop…. I was young. She was young. We were involved for weeks in close and intense work."[13][14][15]

Music

The film features an orchestral score by Miklós Rózsa notable for its pioneering use of the theremin, performed by Dr. Samuel Hoffmann. Selznick originally wanted Bernard Herrmann, but when Herrmann became unavailable, Rózsa was hired; he won the Academy Award for his score.[6] Although Rózsa considered Spellbound to contain some of his best work, he said "Alfred Hitchcock didn't like the music — said it got in the way of his direction. I never saw him since."[16] During film's protracted post-production, considerable disagreement arose about the music, exacerbated by a lack of communication between producer, director, and composer. Rózsa scored another film, The Lost Weekend, before Spellbound was released, and he again used the theremin in that score. This led to allegations that he had recycled music from Selznick's film in the Paramount production. Meanwhile, Selznick's assistant tampered with the Spellbound scoring by replacing some of Rózsa's material with earlier music by Franz Waxman and Roy Webb.

Intrada Records released a re-recording by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra of the film's complete score. The album also featured music not heard in the finished film.[17]