March 3, 2017
Review #910: Notorious.
Cary Grant (T. R. Devlin), Ingrid Bergman (Alicia Huberman), Claude Rains (Alexander Sebastian), Leopoldine Konstantin (Madame Anna Sebastian), Louis Calhern (Captain Paul Prescott), Moroni Olsen (Walter Beardsley), Ricardo Costa (Dr. Julio Barbosa), Reinhold Schünzel (Dr. Anderson), Ivan Triesault (Eric Mathis), and Eberhard Krumschmidt (Emil Hupka) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock (#219 - Rope, #223 - North by Northwest, #446 - Spellbound, #447 - Psycho, #450 - Vertigo, #455 - Rear Window, #553 - Strangers on a Train, and #800 - Strangers on a Train)
It has been a while since I covered a Hitchcock film on Movie Night, but I figured that it was time to do one that I had been thinking of doing for quite a while now, which is a brilliant spy film noir. The easiest benefit (aside from Hitchcock's direction, which I'll get to) is the trio of Grant, Bergman, and Rains. All three shine in their respective roles, with Grant and Bergman having great chemistry together, particularly during one stretch where the two engage in kissing alongside dialogue and looking at each other, and the sequence (lasting two-and-a-half minutes) is not only one of the most famous sequences in film but also a passionate one to watch. The production code of the time prevented kisses longer than 3 seconds, but the sequence works better than a scene that would've been allowed to linger on that kiss, in part because of the tension one can see between the two being framed better. Rains is also a good villain, being carefully crafted while also having his own kind of chemistry with Bergman, with the right kind of pace and movements. Konstantin (an Austrian actress popular during the pre-war times in Germany in her only American film performance) is also pretty good. The rest of the cast is also pretty good in their roles. The camera shots are also a key standout, from the shots that introduce Grant's character to the shots from a character's point of view during the climax, with every shot having a key element of finesse to it. The story is crafted excellently, with love and duty being a strong theme that makes for a riveting movie that also has moments of suspense that deliver a great payoff. The climax is a fairly good one, utilizing the characters and story to conclude itself without resorting to a big battle or anything that wouldn't have worked for this movie; this is the kind of a movie where it ends on a character going back to their own house (resigned to their fate), and it's just a neat way to end both that arc and the movie. At 101 minutes, it certainly is a movie with a good pace, and I can definitely recommend checking out this movie, especially if you are a fan of Hitchcock and his work.
Overall, I give it 10 out of 10 stars.