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Notorious (1946)
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by Zarathustra

"One of Hitchcock's most complex and beautiful films"
5 stars

Notorious isn't one of Hitch's most popular movies, but it's one of his best. The plot is unbelievable, a Romance plot, but the situations ring true. Hitchcock takes a pulpy spy thriller situation and turns it into a meditation on truth, deception and romantic love.

T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant) enlists Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) in a scheme to infiltrate a nest of Nazi collaborators hiding out in Rio de Janeiro. Their leader, Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains) was once in love with Alicia, and by pretending to be in love with him, Alicia gains access to his house and his nefarious activities. But Alicia and Devlin fall in love, which adds a difficult complication: how can Alicia keep pretending to love Sebastian when her heart belongs to Devlin?

The performances are all excellent. Grant lends dark shadows to his debonair persona. Bergman is deeply sympathetic and luminous as the "notorious" woman (in Hitchcock's scheme, the femme fatale is "fatale" only to a Nazi: she and not he is the protagonist). Rains makes a fascinating villain: a civilized, wealthy Nazi who doesn't mind killing whoever double crosses him, yet who is an otherwise charming, even kindly older man. We like Rains, and feel sorry for him because he truly loves the Bergman character, yet doesn't know he's being manipulated into betraying himself. Plus, he has a domineering mother (the unforgettable Leopoldine Konstantin) who dislikes Alicia and still controls her middle-aged son. Because every character is beautifully portrayed as sympathetically as possible, our loyalty is divided. We empathize with everybody, yet we know somebody has to win and somebody lose. And the price of loss is death.

Hitchcock's structure is elaborate, with the final scenes played out as a mirror image of the earliest ones. He also creates some dazzling setpieces, most notably a sequence in a wine cellar; a long zoom from an overview of an entire room filled with revellers to a single tiny key in Bergman's hand; and a last-minute rescue straight from the pages of a fairytale. Everything works in "Notorious".

Excellent acting, startling visuals, and a compelling, morally complex story make "Notorious" a classic.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=3043&reviewer=213
originally posted: 05/28/00 05:47:05
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User Comments

6/09/12 keith miron Average at best 3 stars
6/05/10 User Name One of the master's most ingenius and elegant films. 5 stars
12/14/07 Pamela White Ingrid has an excellent performance 5 stars
8/06/07 Lee Wen David Very good movies,the cast were great! 5 stars
7/21/07 gr117 Incredible! My favorite Hitchcock film! 5 stars
5/21/07 fools♫gold The final scenes were the worst parts. I was wrong about "Suspicion", a 5/5 film. 4 stars
9/01/05 Zack love it 5 stars
5/20/04 Sean Scanlan Alfred Hitchcock dose it again 5 stars
1/12/04 ROSA PEREZ iT STINKS 1 stars
1/17/03 mans0n excellent film, the cinematography really is great here, and GREAT story to boot! 5 stars
10/26/02 jppatel good 4 stars
5/24/02 Charles Tatum Slow and boring, except final scenes 2 stars
9/11/01 Ian Barr Slow first half, dynamite second half 4 stars
8/29/01 Paul Guimond Hitchcock's best film from the "classic" era 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk Grant and Bergman's chemistry is fantastic. One of Hitch's best. 5 stars
4/12/01 Andrew Carden The stachue of liberty scene deserves an academy award. 5 stars
2/09/01 R.W. Welch Less gripping than the four Hitchcock classics, but still a better than average trip. 4 stars
11/20/00 mike ballard very good 5 stars
11/14/00 salvo toscano may I add a star more? Hitch, bravissimo 5 stars
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  22-Aug-1946 (NR)



Directed by
  Alfred Hitchcock

Written by
  Ben Hecht

  Cary Grant
  Ingrid Bergman
  Claude Rains
  Louis Calhern

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