Call#: Van Pelt Library BF315 .T32 2002
Tallis explains how psychoanalysis, which had a strong influence on cultural life in Europe in the 1930’s, spread to America. He argues that psychoanalysis became widely known in America through the movies. One of the first people to acknowledge the dramatic potential of psychoanalysis, according to Tallis, was film producer Samuel Goldwyn who actually tried to entice Freud to write him a script. Freud tersely refused in a note to Goldwyn: “I do not intend to see Mr. Goldwyn.” Freud’s reputation had such a broad reach that his response to Goldwyn actually made headline news. The New York Times featured an article on January 25, 1935, entitled “Freud rebuffs Goldwyn. Viennese psychoanalyst is not interested in motion picture offer.”
Freud’s disinterest did not dissuade Goldwyn from pushing forward in his resolve to find a scriptwriter for an analytically based screenplay. One of Freud’s disciples, Karl Abraham, was willing to work with Goldwyn’s studio, resulting in a silent film called The Secret History of a Soul. This was one of the first Hollywood movies made with a narrative based on the theory of psychoanalysis. Hitchcock followed in the tradition of many Hollywood directors who were also influenced by Freud’s work. Several of Hitchcock’s films including Marnie, Spellbound and Psycho reflect a well developed understand of psychologically sophisticated material. His 1945 film Spellbound was written by his producer David O. Selznick, who was himself in psychoanalysis. Spellbound, not regarded as one of Hitchcock’s best movies, stayed true to the psychoanalytic methodology using surreal dream sequences, to help move along the narrative. The director’s interest in the subject manner of Marnie seems to be a natural progression of his continuing interest in the psychoanalytically based storyline.