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Spellbound

Spellbound(1945)

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Remind Me

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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When Dr. Anthony Edwardes, the distinguished psychologist who is to take over as head of Green Manors mental hospital, arrives at the countryside facility, his colleagues, including the outgoing head, Dr. Murchison, are surprised to see how young he is. That evening, Dr. Constance Peterson, the hospital's only female psychologist, meets Dr. Edwardes at dinner and is immediately attracted to him. At the doctors' table, Constance, who has been accused by her amorous colleague, Dr. Fleurot, of being cool and detached, talks animatedly about her idea for a woodside swimming pool and starts to draw her proposed design on the tablecloth with the sharp edge of her knife. Dr. Edwardes responds to the curved lines with a sudden burst of anger, baffling his peers. The next day, Constance receives a note from Dr. Edwardes, summoning her to his office. There, Dr. Edwardes asks Constance's help in calming the agitated Garmes, one of her patients who is convinced that he killed his father. After Constance reassures Garmes that his guilt is the result of a childhood trauma, Dr. Edwardes is telephoned by Norma Cramer, whose name he cannot recall but who apparently knows him. Dr. Edwardes abruptly ends the call and then invites Constance to take a walk with him. During their hike, Constance and Dr. Edwardes share a romantic moment, and Constance returns to Green Manors disheveled and starry-eyed. That night, unable to sleep, Constance retrieves a signed copy of a book written by Dr. Edwardes and goes to talk with him. After Constance and Dr. Edwardes confess that they have strong feelings for each other, they kiss. During the embrace, however, Dr. Edwardes notices that Constance's white robe has thin, dark stripes running through it and becomes frightened and dizzy. Just then, word comes that Garmes has stabbed Dr. Fleurot. Dr. Edwardes and Constance rush to surgery, but during the operation on Dr. Fleurot, Dr. Edwardes becomes disoriented and collapses. Later, while Dr. Edwardes sleeps, Constance compares the signature on the note he sent to her with the autograph in his book. Seeing that they are different, Constance questions Dr. Edwardes about his identity as soon as he wakens. Dr. Edwardes admits that he is an impostor and is sure that he murdered the real Dr. Edwardes, but insists that he has no memory. Constance dismisses his confession as delusion and prods him into revealing that he found a cigarette case with the initials "J. B." on it in his jacket. Constance speculates that J. B. are his initials and stresses that by working together, they can quickly reclaim his memories. Later that night, however, J. B. writes a note to Constance, announcing that he loves her but is going to New York. J. B. slips the note under Constance's door and leaves Green Manors. Early the next morning, the sheriff arrives at Green Manors with Norma, the real Dr. Edwardes' assistant. The sheriff and the doctors go to Constance's room to question her about J. B., but she denies knowing anything. The sheriff leaves Constance without discovering the note, which is still on her floor, and, after reading it, she sneaks off to find J. B. at his New York hotel. With inadvertent help from the hotel's house detective, Constance discovers in which room J. B., who registered under the name John Brown, is staying. J. B. is thrilled to see Constance, but worries about her safety and resists her questions. After the persistent Constance determines that J. B. has extensive medical knowledge and is probably a physician, he reads a newspaper report about Dr. Edwardes' disappearance, which states that the psychologist left a resort in the Cumberland Mountains with a patient, presumably him. Constance then notices that J. B. recently suffered serious burns on one arm and suggests that if they go the train station, he might be able to recall where he went with Dr. Edwardes. After a hotel bellboy recognizes Constance from a newspaper photo, she and J. B. rush to the train station. At the ticket counter, a woozy, mumbling J. B. finally recalls the name Rome, but worried that his odd behavior has called attention to them, Constance and J. B. board a train bound for Rochester, where her beloved mentor, Dr. Alex Brulov, lives. During the trip, J. B. remembers with fear that his arm was burnt after his medical transport plane was shot down by Germans near Rome. Later, at Alex's home, police detectives Lt. Cooley and Sgt. Gillespie question Alex about his relationship with Dr. Edwardes, but are unaware of Constance and J. B.'s identities. J. B. and Constance, who has told Alex that J. B. is her new husband, then retire to the upstairs guest room, where J. B. becomes unnerved by the shadowy dark lines visible on Constance's white bedspread. Then, in the middle of the night, J. B. gets up to shave and, after being transfixed by his white shaving cream, grabs his razor and walks downstairs in a daze. Still awake, Alex greets his guest cheerfully and offers him some milk. The next morning, as J. B. slumbers, Alex reveals to Constance that he slipped J. B. some bromide, never having been fooled by her honeymoon story. Alex fears that J. B. is a dangerous schizophrenic, but Constance persuades him to give her a chance to prove J. B.'s innocence before calling the police. After J. B. revives, Alex questions him, and J. B. tells him about the dream he had the night before. Seeing J. B.'s startled reaction to the snow falling outside, Constance then guesses that J. B. went skiing with Dr. Edwardes and helps him to recall the name of the resort, Gabriel Valley. Constance and J. B. take the next train to Gabriel Valley, and as they are skiing down a long slope, J. B. remembers a devastating moment from his childhood when he pushed his brother off a snowy roof, accidentally causing him to be impaled by the spires of an iron gate. J. B. then saves Constance from skiing off the same steep slope on which Dr. Edwardes, in J. B.'s presence, fell to his death. J. B.'s confrontation with his guilt over this painful childhood episode jars his memory and enables him to recall his name, John Ballantine, and some details about his encounter with Dr. Edwardes, who was helping him cope with his war experiences. Later, however, the police, led by Lt. Cooley, arrest J. B. for murder, as they have found Dr. Edwardes' body where J. B. said it would be, but have discovered a bullet in it. J. B. is convicted of the crime, and although Constance returns to her job at Green Manors after the trial, she remains convinced of his innocence. When Dr. Murchison, who has remained as head of the institution, inadvertently mentions that he knew Dr. Edwardes, Constance realizes that he lied about not realizing that J. B. was an impostor and re-reads her notes about J. B.'s dream. Putting together the pieces of the dream, Constance deduces that Dr. Murchison shot Dr. Edwardes after arguing with him in front of J. B. about taking over Green Manors. Constance confronts Dr. Murchison in his office, and he admits his guilt. The deranged doctor then pulls his gun on her, but as she inches her way to the office door, Constance calmly talks him out of killing her. As soon as she closes the door, Dr. Murchison turns the gun on himself and shoots. Later, at Grand Central station, Alex wishes newlyweds Constance and J. B. a wonderful honeymoon.