a look back at salvador dalí's design of a dream for 1945 hitchcock film
 

a look back at salvador dalí's design of a dream for 1945 hitchcock film

centred on a gripping tale of psychoanalysis and calling in the likes of prominent spanish surrealist, salvador dalí, to realise its most challenging scenes, alfred hitchcock’s 1945 film noir thriller, spellbound, was an obvious success. in it, ingrid bergman played the psychoanalyst dr constance peterson, the only female doctor at vermont asylum green manors, perceived by the other male doctors as detached and emotionless, fated by her female existence.

a look back at salvador dalí's design of a dream for 1945 hitchcock film

all images film stills

 

 

bergman’s character drives the film, as she embarks on a journey with a man who calls himself dr anthony edwardes – played by gregory peck – before later finding out his real name is john ballantyne. ballantyne suffers from dissociative amnesia and cannot remember who he is, or why he poses as dr edwardes, but believes himself to be guilty of edwardes’ murder. eventually peterson coaxes the events from ballantyne’s mind by analysing his dreams and studying his behaviour, eventually saving him from his mind in an act of love. 

a look back at salvador dalí's design of a dream for 1945 hitchcock film

 

 

to capture the scenes in which peterson infiltrates ballantyne’s mind, hitchcock hired salvador dalí who constructed a dream sequence for the film. the section of the film was to depict ballantyne’s dream, which peterson and her mentor dr brulov analyse in order to recover ballantyne’s memories. dalí and hitchcock came up with an elaborate, surreal 20-minute-long dream sequence that takes place at first in a gambling house and then on a rooftop in a forest-like setting. the scene was eventually cut to just two minutes.

a look back at salvador dalí's design of a dream for 1945 hitchcock film

 

 

what I was after was the vividness of dreams‘, hitchcock later said.as you know, all dalí’s work is very solid, very sharp, with very long perspectives, black shadows. this was again the avoidance of the cliché: all dreams in movies are blurred. it isn’t true – dalí was the best man to do the dreams because that’s what dreams should be.’

a look back at salvador dalí's design of a dream for 1945 hitchcock film

a look back at salvador dalí's design of a dream for 1945 hitchcock film

 

 

the clips that appear in spellbound capture the expectedly unusual style of dalí. in what he thinks is a ‘gambling house’, ballantyne sits playing blackjack opposite men with masked faces and blank cards, the walls covered with painted eyes. meanwhile a man with a large pair of scissors is cutting in half the large curtains that adorn the walls. in the next section, roots grow out of a chimney on a rooftop, and a rocky cliffside in the background takes the form of a man’s evil-looking face. the dalí scenes are a daring piece of cinema that sits within an otherwise logic-based sequence and plot.

a look back at salvador dalí's design of a dream for 1945 hitchcock film

a look back at salvador dalí's design of a dream for 1945 hitchcock film

a look back at salvador dalí's design of a dream for 1945 hitchcock film

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