Thursday, April 22, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #354: Psychological Thrillers

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of Thursday Movie Picks, the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week's theme is "Psychological Thrillers", another one that seemed a bit tough, so I decided to go with three suspense movies in which people try to solve murders at some danger to themselves, with pyschiatric analysis playing a part in all three movies:

Spellbound (1945). Gregory Peck plays the new head of a sanitarium in Vermont where one of the staff psychiatrists, Ingrid Bergman, falls in love with him. The only thing is, Peck isn't the new boss, but an amnesiac under the care of the man who was supposed to be the new boss, and who was murdered, with Peck being an obvious suspect. Bergman and Peck go on the run to try to solve the murder, before the authorities can catch up with him. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, there's a very famous dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali, and a laughable Freudian kiss involving a double exposure of a long hallway with doors opening up. (Almost as memorable and obvious as the train going into the tunnel at the end of Hitchcock's later North by Northwest.)

Klute (1971). John Klute (Donald Sutherland) is a detective in small-town Pennsylvania who gets asked to investigate the disappearance of a local businessman who disappeared in New York City. Klute goes to the big city and finds that the disappeared guy was seeing prostitute Bree (Jane Fonda in her first Oscar-winning role), who may know more about what's going on. In asides, Bree discusses with her psychoanaylst why she's into prostitution. As Klute keeps investigating, both he and Bree might be in danger.

Still of the Night (1982). Roy Scheider plays a psychiatrist who is visited by the mistress (Meryl Streep) of one of his patients. The patient winds up murdered, and as the good doctor investigates, he winds up falling in love with the mistress, even though she's an obvious suspect in the killing, and both of them might be in more danger the closer he gets to finding out who committed the murder.


joel65913 said...

Always up for a theme within the theme.

Klute is a great pick! It never occurred to me but it's a super fit. Jane deserved her Oscar.

I wish I liked Spellbound more. It has some great touches, the Dali dream sequence is marvelous, and you can't beat Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck but it's rather mushy without Hitchcock's usual sharp focus.

I thought Still of the Night was a big mess, it made me happy after I saw it to discover Meryl Streep felt the same way. She named it as the worse film she's made.

All three of mine deal with the psychology of mental illness in some way.

The Baby (1973)-Recently widowed social worker Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer) is given the case of the Wadsworth family: raspy-voiced Mrs. Wadsworth (Ruth Roman in a wonderfully complex performance), her two very strange adult daughters Alba and Germaine (Suzanne Zenor & Mariana Hill), and her 21-year-old son Baby (David Mooney) whom they have kept infantilized to the point that he still lives in a crib and diapers. Discovering that Baby’s condition isn’t physiological but rather a result of abuse and neglect Ann tries to intercede, but Mrs. Wadsworth is having none of it. Thus begins a battle that escalates to extremes as Mrs. Wadsworth fights to keep control and Ann insists that she’s only interested in Baby’s best interests…. but is she?

Shock Corridor (1963)-In pursuit of a Pulitzer Prize ambitious reporter Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck) feigns madness and has himself committed to an insane asylum to investigate and solve a recent murder sure it will win him the award. But once inside the rigors and horrors of confinement lead him to slowly lose his grip on reality. Lurid by necessity but director Sam Fuller keeps a firm hand preventing the film from slipping into exploitation.

Shutter Island (2010)-In the 50’s two Federal Marshals, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), enter the peculiar dream like world of Ashecliffe Hospital, an insane asylum located on the remote, windswept Shutter Island, to investigate an apparent escape from the seemingly impenetrable skerry. As a hurricane engulfs the madhouse the men and in particular Teddy begin to question all they know as both their safety and sanity are imperiled. Top-flight Scorsese uses a very effective fractured version of the great Dinah Washington song “This Bitter Earth” to maintain the film’s edgy vibe all the way through the credits.

Cinematic Delights said...

Good picks, Ted. I've heard of Klute and Still of the Night but have yet to watch them.

Brittani Burnham said...

I'm 0/3 again with your picks. I haven't seen a lot of younger Sutherland. I should check out Klute.

ThePunkTheory said...

I remember watching Spellbound and being really annoyed how very outdated the depiction of women was. 😅

Birgit said...

I have not seen the last movie but I love your other 2 picks. I do like Speelbound even though it is often maligned. I have not seen the last film probably because I am not a big Meryl Streep fan.