Study Guide

Spellbound What's Up With the Title?

What's Up With the Title?

We hate to admit it, but there is nothing up with this title.

"Spellbound" really doesn't have anything to do with the film. Okay, it suggests that someone is deluded or distracted, and the main character, John Ballantyne, is deluded and distracted, what with his amnesia and all. But "Spellbound" makes it sound like he's the victim of witchcraft or something, when actually he has experienced psychological trauma.

The fact is, Hitchcock wanted to call the film The House of Dr. Edwardes, which would make sense because the film is about Dr. Edwardes (both the fake one and the real one). Or, Hitchcock said, let's call it Hidden Impulse, because Ballantyne is just chock-full of hidden guilt and uncertainty… and generally doesn't know why he's doing what he's doing. That would be a good title. We could write about that.

But producer, David O. Selznik, liked Spellbound—and it tested well with pre-release audiences. So Spellbound it was (source).

If it were up to us, we would have called it Attack of the Giant Scissors.

Or maybe: Mutant Amoebas Eat Detroit. Hey, if Selznik can just put a random title up there, why can't we?

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