Study Guide

Spellbound Shock Rating

Shock Rating

PG

Freud was a shocking guy. He wrote about incest, child abuse, and how everyone thought about sex-sex-sex all the time (except when they took a break to think about murdering their fathers. Then they'd go back to thinking about sex again).

So a movie about psychoanalysis should be filled to the brim with sexy, naughty bits. Right?

Well, not exactly. The fact is, Spellbound in a lot of ways is Freud without the naughty bits. There's remarkably little discussion of sex—even the scantily clad "kissing bug" in Ballantyne's dream isn't that scantily clad (the producers made Hitchcock put more clothes on her in order to avoid shocking anyone). Constance and John kiss a couple of times, but the film is careful to make sure you know they don't have premarital sex. (Just in case you were worried about that.)

The film does have some violence. There's discussion of a murder, a quick glimpse of a child being killed by a fall onto a fence, and of course Dr. Murchison's final, disturbing suicide, when you're looking with him down the barrel of the gun. But none of it's gory, and it's certainly much tamer than Hitchcock's later horror films.

Overall, Spellbound is a film you can watch without being shocked. Freud would be disappointed.

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