Anthony's Film Review

Notorious (1946)

Alfred Hitchcock masterfully interweaves romance, suspense, and two top performers...

Notorious is a film that can be considered a significant work in the careers of director Alfred Hitchcock and its two stars, Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. It is both a love story and a suspense story. Hitchcock, Grant, and Bergman make it all work just by doing what they do best. One of the things I liked about Notorious is the attempt to present a mixture of both genres. It's true that I've seen plenty of movies with romance and suspense. This one, though, blends the two but leaves room for some of each element to appear on its own.

The story involves Bergman as Alicia Huberman, the daughter of a German spy put on trial in Miami. She is approached by Grant as American intelligence agent T.R. Devlin. The agent asks her to be part of a mission for the Americans: infiltrate a Nazi spy ring in Rio de Janeiro. The first third of the film focuses on the romance between Devlin and Alicia. It's not the traditional romance where the man and woman finally kiss at the end. Rather, he kisses her in the beginning, and this is put on hold until much later.

The middle of the film involves a transition. The romance between the two main characters is still there but slowly fades as Alicia, in her efforts to spy on the Nazis, goes as far as to marry the German named Alexander Sebastian, played by Claude Rains. In addition, the element of suspense begins to creep in. This is noticeable during the scenes of a party at Sebastian's house. While Alicia is doing her best to keep Sebastian unaware of her real intentions, Devlin drops in for a little espionage work.

In the final third, suspense has overtaken romance. Alicia is alone with Sebastian with Devlin nowhere in sight. There is tension as her life is soon in danger. Hitchcock directs these scenes well by focusing the camera shots on certain details at the right time. By doing this, he maintains the audience's anticipation of something dreadful waiting to happen. This is why Notorious works great as a suspense film.

Whether it is Alfred Hitchcock's direction or the memorable on-screen presences of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, Notorious has plenty to offer. It deserves to be called a cinematic classic. I enjoyed the film very much and certainly agree with its recognition. I shall conclude with what I consider to be my favorite part of the film: the final scene. It nicely blends the romance and suspense one last time and brings the whole story full circle. It's like wrapping a lovely gift in a neat bow, a perfect analogy to describe Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Notorious, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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