As Alfred Hitchcock's classic psychothriller opens, the staff of a posh mental asylum eagerly awaits the arrival of the new director. When the man in question shows up, it turns out to be handsome psychiatrist John Ballantine (Gregory Peck). But something's wrong, here: Ballantine seems much too young for so important a position; his answers to the staff's questions are vague and detached; and he seems unusually distressed by the parallel marks, left by a fork, on a white tablecloth. Dr. Constance Peterson (Ingrid Bergman) comes to the conclusion that Ballantine is not the new director, but a profoundly disturbed amnesiac--and, possibly, the murderer of the real director. But is she correct in her inferences? Scriptwriters Angus MacPhail and Ben Hecht soon add to this the complication that Constance begins to fall in love with John. Director Hitchcock tapped surrealist artist Salvador Dali to design the visually arresting dream sequences in the film.
by Hal Erickson synopsis