Freud: The Secret Passion - Reception - Critical Reception

Critical Reception

" it's a fascinating attempt to mix a traditional biopic with more experimental elements, such as rather surreal dreams sequences.
As director John Huston's voiceover suggests, it's a film that's less interested in Freud himself than the possibilities of unlocking the human mind and how that can be shown on screen – how can you portray the ideas of psychology on screen? As a result it plays fast and loose with history in favour of trying to uncover what Freud's ideas mean. It is an interesting and entertaining movie, with a great central performance from Montgomery Clift." — Tim Isaac (Big Gay Picture Show), Freud (DVD) " a curiously involving biopic about that which interests us all – ourselves and what ails us. Freud is a strong and sombre drama about life's psychological traumas and the first man who attempted to quantify and cure them. It's a well-acted and very solid movie but stay well clear if you fancy a bit of diverting amusement. Both Freud and A Dangerous Method deal with the fact that movies about people talking are not exactly visually exciting but Huston (and Cronenberg) pull off the drama within the subject in their own very different and intriguing ways." — Cineoutsider, Alien landscapes - A UK region 2 DVD review of FREUD "A sincere and competent biopic on the early years of Dr. Sigmund Freud (Montgomery Clift) Clift makes for a brooding and introspective Freud, obsessed with proving his controversial theories correct. Huston films it as film noir, with Freud the detective. What makes Huston's black-and-white film remarkable is the dream sequences, which are photographed mostly in negative or overexposure. This mise en scéne gave it a tantalizing German expressionist look and made the patient's repressions come to life on the screen, telling more about the subject matter than the narrative's wearisome simplistic didactic tone." — Dennis Schwartz's Movie Reviews, FREUD (aka: Freud: The Secret Passion) "Montgomery Clift delivers a superb, yet troubled and complex interpretation that benefits from remarkable direction. Probably too risky for its day, the film had little success, and the producer sought to rename it at the final hour to try and stir up public interest, to no avail. An overlooked gem even to this day, this is an unfortunate loss since Freud: The Secret Passion is a remarkable film." — Le Monde, Freud, passions secrètes (1962) de John Huston "Huston's problem was to render an intellectual quest, one that wants to be told in words, in images suited to film. He chose a metaphorical structure that runs all through our literature, from the Odyssey to Star Trek: THE MIND IS A BODY MOVING THROUGH SPACE. The substitution of face for body, body for mind, movement through space for movement in thought — there is a pattern of substitutions running throughout Freud. My point about Freud, the movie, then, is finally that it is a tremendous success — if you look straight at it. I think that it is not only an extraordinarily good film as a visual experience, as acting, as structure, but it also embodies a highly personal vision of psychoanalysis and its founder. My vision of Huston's vision in Freud is that psychoanalysis reveals human life as an endless series of displacements from what we really and originally desire and seek. It is a vision that profoundly expresses Huston's own "as if" view of life. Huston is indeed an auteur, a genius, at least by his own definition. He enables you and me to see Freud and psychoanalysis in a strikingly new, but highly intelligent way." —Norman N. Holland (A Sharper Focus), John Huston, Freud, 1962

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