Review of 'Notorious'

notorious.jpg Alicia Huberman's (Ingrid Bergman) German father has been convicted of treason when she is recruited by U.S. government agent T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant) to infiltrate a German industrial syndicate in Rio de Janeiro. Despite her drinking and hard-living Devlin is convinced Alicia is a true patriot. During their time together the two become romantically involved with Alicia professing her love. In Rio Alicia meets one of her father's German acquaintances Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains) who she has been asked to get to know better. With Devlin's confusion over whether or not he loves her, Alicia becomes engaged to Alexander. Will she be able to figure out what is going on and resolve her conflicting emotions over Devlin?

Another classic Hitchcock piece though this one a bit lighter on both story and surprise (though the ending is, as you might expect, wonderful). The story generally moves quite quickly though slightly drags when they initially arrive in Rio. Even after the film ends there is a delightful ambiguity about how the German syndicate actually works, leaving it to the audience to decide this and, in fact, what actually happens. It is nice to see a film of the time set somewhere a bit more unusual though here Rio barely registers as little more than some pretty-looking scenery, which slightly disappoints.

Cary Grant is, as always, a bit of a stone wall showing very little emotion which Ingrid Bergman, being another strong female lead, is all emotion. Claude Rains plays a typically warm but unpredictable character that you feel you never completely understand. The three are the big stars here and they put on reasonable, though not exceptional, performances. Bergmen is a bit of a one-dimensional woman forever pining for the love of Grant's generally emotionless Devlin. It also has to be said that Leopoldine Konstantin is chilling as Alexander's cold, cruel, mother who is willing to stop at nothing to protect her son.

Hitchcock's masterful use of camera angles and pacing is again evident in “Notorious” though perhaps not as dramatic as would be seen in his more popular works. It is still more than enough to keep the film both entertaining and interesting, heightening the drama well beyond the printed script.

Another entertaining classic film from the master of suspense with reasonable performances by it's A-list cast.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2020-03-29

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Studio: RKO Radio Pictures

Year: 1946

Length: 102 minutes

Genre: Melodrama

Other reviewed films by Alfred Hitchcock: