Filmic 2016: A History of Electronic Music in Film in Four Parts

Spellbound PG

Spellbound

Part of Filmic 2016

Famous for its surrealist dream sequence designed by Salvador Dalí and its Oscar-winning score by Hungarian composer Miklós Rózsa – who made notable use of the theremin in one of the eerie instrument's first film outings – Alfred Hitchcock’s enthralling tale of murder and repressed memory more than lives up to its name.

When the young and dashing Dr. Edwardes (Gregory Peck) arrives at a progressive mental hospital to take over as the new director, the bookish and reserved Dr. Constance Peterson (Ingrid Bergman) takes keen notice. But after observing Edwardes' erratic behaviour (including a mysterious aversion to parallel lines), Constance becomes aware that her new boss is an amnesiac whose strange phobia indicates a trauma buried deep in his unconscious — one that might reveal him to be a killer.

Riding a wave of popular fascination with psychoanalysis, Hitchcock’s film at the time was a massive critical and commercial hit. And Rózsa’s groundbreaking score - perfectly conceived and executed - serves as a milestone in the history of film music.

According to Rózsa, Hitchcock asked for ‘a big love theme coupled with the strange sound for the paranormal’. As such, he penned one of the most sumptuous love themes in film score history and introduced the then unique sound of the theremin to illustrate the paranormal - in the process pioneering the use of the instrument in many major Hollywood film scores henceforth.

Part of Filmic 2016.