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(Review originally written at 4 April 2009)

In my opinion Hitchcock didn't do his very best work in the '40's but that of course doesn't mean that he made bad movies during that time period. On the contrary, quite obviously. In a way '40's thrillers are all more or less the same but an Hitchcock genre movie is always something special to watch and better and more effective than the usual genre movie from the same time period.

The movie begins like so many other genre movies and is slow but steady with its build up. However when you are watching an Hitchcock movie you just know that things are never fully the way they seem and the movie has some surprising twists in its story, even though some of them are obvious because of the now days somewhat outdated way of story-telling within this movie. It's a quite solid story actually and I don't really understand some people's criticism that the story is too far fetched and not credible enough. Especially the movie its last 20 minutes are so are excellent for its genre and time period and are also one of the reason why this movie is better and distinct itself from other genre movies made during the same decade.

As you can expect the movie is filled with some trademark Hitchcock moments, in which different and original movie making techniques also play some key roles. The movie has some real memorable moments, of which the dream sequence, designed by Salvador Dalí, is of course the best- and most legendary example.

A character on the run is a very often reoccurring element within an Hitchcock movie. However in this movie there is a character who is mainly on the run for himself, as he suffers from amnesia while being haunted by some vague memories about something awful he thinks he has done. This makes the movie also really interesting. It's a thriller with early psychological elements. Also something that would later return in multiple other Hitchcock movies.

I was also impressed by the movie its acting. Although I always enjoy a good '40's movie I just also can't deny that its acting by todays standards is simply too over-the-top and emotional. Outdated to put it boldly. However the acting in this movie stands the test of time well and Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck really give away some fine performances. It actually was one of Peck's first acting roles and he was still in his late 20's at the time of this production. 2 years later he and Hitchock also did the movie "The Paradine Case" together, which wasn't a very big success. A shame they didn't do more movies together, fore Gregory Peck suited the role just as fine as for instance a James Stewart or Cary Grant-, actors Hitchock would later work with during his career.

The movie got nominated for 6 Oscar's, including one's for best picture and best directing. It only won one, for it's musical score though. The movie truly deserved that award, fore Miklós Rózsa's musical score is one of the best out of his long career. It's also truly one of his most memorable scores.

Simply just one fine solid genre movie!

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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