Review: Hitchcock: The Real Master - Notorious @ Chapter
I had seen Notorious, yet I could not recall anything about it, even though I had only seen it a few months ago. It was whilst seeing it again, that triggered my memory with specific scenes and use of camera by Hitchcock.
Alicia Huberman played by Ingrid Bergman has to spy on Germans in post war South America. Her father was been jailed for Nazi-related actions and Devlin played by Cary Grant has to do the persuading. Reluctant at first, she then realises the cause, then falls in love with Grant in the process. But sadly her mission is to develop a relationship with an old German friend Alexander Sebastian, played by Claude Rains. South America seems to be the only continent not affected by the World Wars, therefore making it a haven for exiled Nazis. Some of which were warmly welcomed, which is hard to comprehend today...
What follows is a web of double bluff, envy, revenge and attempted murder. The story has a firm grip on the viewer. The relationship between the two leads is sound, yet it's sad to see them both tear their hair out at the thought of not being with one another. Bergman also acts as a very convincing drunk at the start of the film. In her hangover, we see Grant walk into her bedroom and the camera turns multiple degrees as he walks close toward the camera, to give the appearance of her sickness that comes with a hangover.
Another great visual is Bergman looking through binoculars at a race and in the glass we see the horses darting by. It's an image that stays with me since Grant and her both put an end of sorts, to their relationship at this point. The second most suspenseful scene of the film is in the cellar with Grant observing wine bottles for clues. As he does this, one of the bottles is on the brink of falling on the floor and giving away his cover. The first most suspenseful scene is at the end of the film and is better seen without a written description.
This film is very effective in its output. Made just after the war, it's very bold to have been made so quickly after. This sense of urgency is well balanced with Hitchcock's suspense tricks. Who's to know what would have happened after the war back then? People must have been fascinated with this film yet slowly recovering from what has been considered mankind's darkest hour.
If you haven't seen a black and white film before, this is a firm recommendation.
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