Saturday 30 November 2013

Notorious [1946]

Truffaut, one of Hitchcock’s biggest admirers, qualified Notorious as “the quintessential Hitchcock film”, which clearly shows what solid a standing this enjoys in the British filmmaker’s oeuvre, even if this was far from his best works. This elegantly made film smoothly captured elements of espionage and romance, and deftly dealt with such subtexts as accepting real politik when it comes to “national security”, subverting the image of a villainous Nazi, or smartly evading the “three second” rule of kissing as per Hays Code. Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman), the luminously beautiful daughter of a disgraced Nazi sympathizer who spends all her time drinking and having a merry time, is engaged by secret service agent Devlin (Cary Grant) for a certain mission. She starts falling for him and is vocal about it, while he, despite his growing feelings for her, chooses to remain as icy and cold as possible – more so when he is apprised by his superiors of the mission at hand, that of trapping Sebastian (Claude Rains) through seduction as he is suspected to be the member of an underground Nazi group. Things become even more complicated when Sebastian, who has always been besotted with her, asks her to marry him despite oppositions from his domineering mother (Leopoldine Constantine), and she goes ahead with it more to spite Devlin than as a sacrifice for the job at hand. In Alicia we had a beautifully developed and truly well-rounded female character trapped by the ignominy suffered by her father and doomed to be considered as a loose woman and a Mata Hari substitute by conservative middle-aged men, and aptly complemented by the staid and brooding mood, and excellent B/W photography.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Genre: Romance/Spy Thriller
Language: English
Country: US

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