Study Guide

Spellbound Doors Opening

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Doors Opening

How many goofy dream sequences are there in Spellbound?

Short answer: Way more than in most movies from the 1940s.

Shorter answer: Two.

There is, of course, the big goofy dream sequence with the scissors and the eyes and the playing cards. And yep, when if you say "goofy dream sequence in Spellbound" (like you do, right?) that's the goofy sequence everyone thinks about.

But there's another sequence—shorter, but still goofy. It's the scene where Constance goes up to the room "Edwardes" is staying in, and they kiss. There's a close-up of Constance's face, and then a cutaway to a series of doors opening into the distance, as Miklós Rózsa's lush, romantic score does its hyperbolic lush, romantic thing.

The symbolism here is obvious: Constance was cold and shut off from the world, but now, with the kiss, she's being opened to love. All the barriers inside her are falling, one after the other.

The imagery is also a sexual joke, though. This is a film about psychoanalysis, after all—and Sigmund Freud, the Big Daddy of psychoanalysis, saw sex everywhere. This imagery of doors opening is a symbol of Constance opening sexually. The doors aren't just about Constance opening emotionally—they're also about a (tee hee) physical opening.

Films in 1945 couldn't show, or even directly imply, that the protagonists were having sex. But this is a way to say, "Hey, they totally did it" even while Constance and "Edwardes" are standing in the room, fully clothed.

The scene is also a way for Hitchcock to let you know that he knows that psychoanalysis is really all about sex… even though the film hardly ever talks about sexual symbolism.

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