Release Year: 1946
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writer: Ben Hecht
Starring: Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Claude Rains, Louis Calhern, Leopoldine Konstantin, Reinhold Schünzel, Moroni Olsen, Ivan Triesault
Rating: Nominated for 2 Oscars: Best Supporting Actor (Claude Rains), Best Original Screenplay. Nominated for the Grand Prize of the Cannes Film Festival.
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #246, week 10 2019
The daughter of a German war criminal (Ingrid Bergman) falls in love with an American agent (Cary Grant) when she is asked to spy on some of her father’s old friends living in South America. But how far will she have to go to get the information the agency wants?
No one does thrillers with a romantic touch quite like Hitchcock. However, Notorious is among those of his films that really takes it to another level, due mostly to the engaging interplay between Grant (North by Northwest, 1959) and Bergman (Spellbound, 1945) who send sparks left and right in every scene. Made only a year after the end of World War II the subject of Nazi crème de la crème hiding in luxurious plain sight in the tropics must have been as current as can be. One can only imagine the though running through the audience back in the day. Rains (The Invisible Man, 1933) is a smart casting choice as the object of Bergman’s espionage. Not only was he a brilliant actor, he has that air of sophistication and ability to appear quite sympathetic but yet with a sense of a coldness underneath. Hitchcock (Psycho, 1960) directs with the assurance of an experienced master, with impeccable camera work and lightning and one stunning close up after another. A thrilling plot that stays clear of absurdity by the sheer power of the cast and crew as well as an engaging love story. Highly recommended.
NB: Like most old trailers, this does contain some spoilers.
In one shot Ingrid Bergman is sitting in the background and looking at a coffee cup in the foreground. Hitchcock managed to get both in focus by using an oversized coffee cup placed farther back than it appears.
Hitchcock and screenwriter Ben Hecht consulted Nobel Prize winner Dr. Robert Millikan about how to make a nuclear bomb. He refused to answer but did confirm that the uranium required for a bomb could fit in a wine bottle.
The legendary on-again off-again kiss between Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman was designed to circumvent the Hayes Code, which restricted kisses to three seconds.
Picture Copyright: Scanbox