The idea for a thriller based in psychoanalysis came from producer David O. Selznick, who was undergoing analysis himself. When Alfred Hitchcock finished the film, however, it was much more than a paean to psychiatry. Working from a little known 1920s novel The House of Dr. Edwardes, about an asylum taken over by its patients, Hitchcock and writer Angus MacPhail instead developed a script with three love stories unfolding at an asylum. Selznick wanted something more focused, so he brought in Ben Hecht, who suggested tackling a single story, that of a female psychiatrist helping her amnesiac patient deal with the fear that he committed a murder. That plot marked the first time Hitchcock dealt with one of his key themes: the crippling power of guilt. It also provided powerful leading roles for two of Selznick’s top contract players, Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck (who reportedly fell in love during filming). Selznick also brought in composer Mikós Rózsa, whose Oscar-winning score became one of the first hit soundtrack recordings. Hitchcock and Hecht suggested hiring surrealist painter Salvador Dalí to design the dream sequences that held the secret to the film’s mystery. Although Dalí’s concepts were pared down, they were still the first on-screen dream scenes that captured the surrealist nature of dreams. (d. Alfred Hitchcock, 111m, 35mm)
**From the collection of the Library of Congress
***Nitrate projection made possible through support of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Turner Classic Movies, and The Film Foundation in partnership with the American Cinematheque and the Academy Film Archive.