Notorious (1946) 720p

Movie Poster
Notorious (1946) - Movie Poster
Film-Noir | Romance
Frame Rate:
23.976 fps
English 2.0  
Run Time:
101 min
IMDB Rating:
8.2 / 10 
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Directors: Alfred Hitchcock [Director] ,

Movie Description:
Following the conviction of her German father for treason against the U.S., Alicia Huberman takes to drink and men. She is approached by a government agent (T.R. Devlin) who asks her to spy on a group of her father's Nazi friends operating out of Rio de Janeiro. A romance develops between Alicia and Devlin, but she starts to get too involved in her work.


  • Notorious (1946) - Movie Scene 1
  • Notorious (1946) - Movie Scene 2
  • Notorious (1946) - Movie Scene 1

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Intriguing and enthralling Hitchcock espionage-thriller

It is 1946 and while World War 2 might be over, Nazis still loyal to the Third Reich can be found. Alicia Huberman's (played by Ingrid Bergman) father was such a man, and he has just been convicted of treason in the US. Ms Huberman did not share her father's views, but has gained notoriety as the daughter of a convicted traitor. US Intelligence, in the form of Mr Devlin (Cary Grant), see this notoriety as an opportunity, recruiting her to infiltrate a group of Nazis living in Rio de Janeiro. The group is lead by Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains), an ex-flame of Alicia's. Alicia manages to infiltrate the group, but her previous relationship with Sebastian complicates things, as does her developing relationship with Devlin...

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and this has many of his cinematic traits. The innocuous start, the slow-burning intrigue, the ramping up of the suspense and the thrilling conclusion, all executed with the deft Hitchcock touch. Great twist at one point, just when the plot was looking predictable.

Not perfect though. The start and the initial scenes involving Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman feel a bit clumsy. The whole romantic side feels overly sappy and forced and seems to have too much weight in the script. This is made up for by an espionage plot that gets better as it goes on.

Not in the same league as Hitchcock's best - Rebecca, Rear Window and Psycho - but still very good nevertheless.

Romance -- Hitchcock style

Dark, cruel, beautifully photographed, and deeply erotic, Notorious in one of Hitchcock's very best. It's remarkably sexual and sophisticated story from a time in Hollywood where the power of the Breen Office was at its apex. Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) is the daughter of a convicted Nazi. American agent Devlin (Cary Grant) contacts her and convinces her to spy against some of her father's Nazi colleagues in Brazil. The chief of these of Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains), one of the most genial Nazis depicted on the silver screen, who has a crush on Alicia. Of course, Alicia has fallen madly in love with Devlin, and he with her, though he could never admit it, and instead pushes her to seduce Sebastian to obtain his secrets. He wants her for the mission when she accept, he brands her a whore. Only a whore would sleep with a man for his secrets, right? Hitchcock gathers some of Hollywood's best and casts them against type. Ingrid Bergman, who hitherto had played a fair number of virginal ingénues, plays Alicia Huberman, a powerfully sensual woman but also a drunken nymphomaniac. You get the sense that she can merely stroke Devlin's cold, frozen face and bring him magically to life. The great comic-acrobat-sophisticate Cary Grant is cast as the emotionally stunted and almost sadistic T.R. Devlin, a mysterious secret agent who recruits Alicia to work for the government. Cary Grant utilizes his inherent reticence to create a character who is isolated and closed off, who can lash out and act disinterested so easily toward the woman he loves. Claude Rains, with his rich English voice and amiable face plays Nazi Alex Sebastian, a rather nice fellow who happens be plotting against the United States. He is genuinely in love with Alicia and when he learns of her betrayal, his despair and terror is palpable and moving. Madame Constantin, imported especially by Hitchcock from Germany for this film is the brilliant and icy cold Madame Sebastian, Alex's powerful mother. In one particular scene she smokes a cigarette with a malice unequaled by any actress in Hollywood history. It's like she has it clasped in her talons. Louis Calhern is Devlin's boss, breezy, narrow minded, and casually misogynistic.

Notorious is a very stylish production. Ingrid Bergman, who usually wore little makeup in her films, has a very natural sensuality and wears lovely 40s hats and suits very elegantly. Cary Grant is hitting his stride as the fashion icon he later became in the 50s. The suits are slimmer than they were in earlier roles and help emphasize Grant's lean and powerful, but graceful, physicality. Hitchcock's camera is characteristically authoritative, shaping the audience's impressions. It is very open to Bergman and very closed to Grant. Bergman is often shot in close ups and medium shots, and in flattering soft focus, and in accessible to the audience. Her heartrending luminosity, used so brilliantly in Casablanca is used again here by Hitchcock. Grant, on the other hand, is several times shot with his back to the camera, looking away from from the camera or with his face obscured by shadows. You suspect, but you never really KNOW what Devlin is feeling for the majority of the film. Grant is inscrutable and here is really demonstrating his economy --and brilliance-- as a performer. Sometimes he does seem a bit too stiff, especially since we know that he's capable of doing Dr. David Huxley and Editor-in-chief Walter Burns, but most actors wouldn't have dared to give such an understated performance as Grant does here.

The world of Notorious is very insular. Most of the film, with the exception of the love scenes, is indoors. Any other scenes that find the characters outdoors find the characters closed off. Barricaded between objects or people. All this gives the film a claustrophobic feel, like Devlin and Alicia have no place to hide and no place to breathe. People said that Hitchcock disliked actors. I don't think that's true, but Hitchcock seems to have extraordinary control over the technical aspects of filming. In order scenes to work actors must explicitly follow direction; they are the tools of film-making. All this attention to detail is absolutely necessary considering the complex composition of many of his scenes. The reputed "Longest kiss in film history" where Devlin and Alicia embrace and talk and kiss for several is a very intricate piece of blocking as the characters move from one room to another, Devlin speaks on the phone, reach, turn etc... If Hitchcock worked like someone like Howard Hawks, for instance, this sort of scene wouldn't be possible.

Since this is a Hitchcock film, people may be mislead into thinking that it's a thriller. It's not. It's really a perverse romance. The characters are more intricately drawn than they are in thrillers. Indeed, plot and character development seem to be equally important. The story does not move quickly but you don't really notice, you're too busy being immersed in Hitchcock's world. Thrilling, sexy, and moving, Notorious is highly recommended

"I'm the girl nobody remembers"

Alfred Hitchcock's reputation as the Master of Suspense was built largely upon his ability to create suspense out of thin air. Now that he was completely settled into a stylistic method for making effective thrillers, it was time for a bit of showing off, building tension from the simplest of situations. Notorious is one of his purest pictures in that regard – a plot you could condense onto the back of a postcard, but a tour-de-force of suspenseful technique.

The screenplay is by Ben Hecht, a writer who fully understood Hitch's aims – the two are very much in synch with the structure, pacing and presenting of the material. The first twenty minutes are incredibly fast paced, full of jump cuts and thirty-second scenes. We waste no time in establishing the romantic link between Grant and Bergman. The political background is briefly stated, but not dwelled upon, and to this end Hitchcock shoots the court scene in a distant point-of-view shot from outside the room, before sweeping the camera into the Bergman's attention-grabbing entrance. This is not a film about motives – it's a film about consequences.

After this, once Bergman is assigned to her spying mission and the "game" as it were begins, there is a shift in pace. From now on Hecht and Hitchcock's aim is to place us inside the experiences of our two leads – with a slightly different angle for each. With Grant, the focus is upon his pain and bitterness at having to give up Bergman to Claude Rains. So, when Bergman and Rains first meet in the horse-riding scene, we do not see what dialogue passes between them – instead we are shown Grant's point of view, and his distressed reaction.

With Bergman however the focus is upon her fear and vulnerability as she carries out her work. As opposed to the snappiness of the opening, many of Bergman's scenes unfold in excruciating real-time. Hitchcock's camera technique emphasises the sense of danger, making the nazi stooges appear more menacing by having them fill the frame. Another very effective trick used in the party sequence is to cut between close-ups of Bergman to point-of-view shots that show off the vastness of the rooms, which make us feel her disconcertedness.

The slow and deliberate pace of the main part of Notorious also allows for the effective staging of several suspense set-pieces. The simplest of scenes, the simplest of acts are drawn out to breaking point, cut up into numerous shots and carefully timed to turn them into heart-thumpers. The ultimate example of this is of course the final scene. You can also see when looking at scenes like the business with the key or the wine bottle why Hitchcock disliked last-minute twists – the suspense wouldn't work if the audience weren't aware of the actions and knowledge of all the characters.

We have here one of the most stellar casts Hitchcock had ever bagged, with both Grant and Bergman at the height of their popularity. Both are in quite demanding parts, as characters who have to stifle their emotions and play a role within the role. Unfortunately Hitchcock was no master when it came to motivating his cast, and while the leads are good they are not outstanding. Claude Rains too has a complex part, as a man who has to come to terms with his own gargantuan mistake, and it was his steady, deep performance that got the Oscar nomination.

In the end though, it is Hitchcock's utter devotion to suspense over substance that is the Achilles heel of Notorious. The purely functional screenplay is lacking in humour and sparkling dialogue, the romance lacks chemistry and the characters lack motivation. It is undoubtedly one of his most carefully crafted thrillers, but it is ultimately a slightly hollow experience.
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