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One of Alfred Hitchcock's classics, this romantic thriller features a cast to kill for: Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, and Claude Rains. Bergman plays the daughter of a disgraced father who is recruited by American agents to infiltrate a post-World War II spy ring in Brazil. Her control agent is Grant, who treats her with disdain while developing a deep romantic bond with her. Her assignment: to marry the suspected head of the ring (Rains) and get the goods on everyone involved. Danger, deceit, betrayal--and, yes, romance--all come together in a nearly perfect blend as the film builds to a terrific (and surprising) climax. Grant and Bergman rarely have been better. --Marshall Fine
- Flawless Hitchcock
It is often rumored that Hitchcock's favorite among his films was "Shadow of a Doubt" but for this reviewer, the 1946 "Notorious" heads that list. Equal parts suspense/film noir and high-octane romance, with a superb cast of Golden Age stars, an expert script by Ben Hecht, and a brooding black and white production by David O. Zelznick, "Notorious" is simply flawless, with scenes ensconced in Hollywood's Hall of Legend.
Ingrid Bergman is Alicia Huberman, daughter of an unrepentant Nazi spy caught and convicted just after World War II. Alicia hates her father's beliefs but is nevertheless tainted by them. After his conviction, her father commits suicide in his jail cell - left adrift, the embittered Alicia embarks on a life of hard partying and even harder drinking. But before too long, Alica receives a visit from Agent Devlin (Cary Grant) with a proposition from the US intelligence community (presumably the FBI, although they are never named as such): they want her help in penetrating her father's circle of ex-Nazis, whose other members escaped to Rio de Janeiro, where they are working on a project that they believe will reignite and support their old cause. A group of intelligence agents, headed by Captain Paul Prescott (Louis Calherne) believe that Alicia's credentials as the daughter of a loyal-to-the-death Nazi will gain her entry to this circle, not least because they know that one of its leaders, Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains), was once desperately in love with her.
After some resistance, Alicia agrees to help the agents, although she is not yet aware that they intend her to seduce Alex. She and Devlin fly to Rio where Alicia is given an apartment, elegant clothes, jewels, and some basic espionage preparation, as she waits for her assignment to begin. As they wait, Alicia and Devlin fall deeply in love, and Devlin, who knows what his colleagues hope will occur, is faced with two unhappy options: betray his newfound love by allowing her to go forward with this unsavory assignment, or betray his duty by persuading her to drop it. Devlin opts to stand by his duty to his country - when the call comes, he hides his unhappiness and stolidly places Alicia in Alex's path.
As hoped, Alex is enraptured at encountering Alicia again, and Alicia is invited to a dinner at Alex's beautiful mansion, where she immediately meets and is welcomed by the men her father worked with - as well as Alex's formidable and extremely possessive mother (Leopoldine Konstantin). Alicia has made a promising beginning on her assignment. At regular intervals, as she and Alex begin to see each other, she reports to Devlin, sometimes in public places such as the race track, where the middle-aged Alex jealously takes note of the tall, dark handsome stranger. Alicia introduces Devlin as a former admirer in whom she is not interested.
However, the plot succeeds too well: within a short time Alex asks Alicia to marry him. She reports to Prescott, to ask what she should do. And in this scene, the film points up the moral hypocrisy of the American agents - the "good guys". While they do not go so far as to insist that Alicia marry Alex, neither do they try to dissuade her, knowing full well that should she go through with the marriage, she will naturally be expected to engage in sexual relations with Alex (although this is never addressed directly). It is clear that the agents believe that since Alicia has a somewhat disreputable (i.e., sexually experienced) past, her feelings here do not matter, although they would never dream of allowing women from their own families to do such a thing. When Alicia realizes this, and realizes that even Devlin will not dissuade her from such a step, she is shattered, and in her bitterness no longer cares what happens to her, and she agrees to marry Alex.
When Alex and Alicia return from a brief honeymoon, they settle into domestic life, and the overjoyed Alex showers his bride with jewels, clothes, and affection. His happiness is not shared by his mother, Mme. Sebastian, furious at being supplanted by a beautiful young daughter-in-law. Alex throws a large party to introduce his new wife to their social set (most of whom know nothing of his clandestine activities). Devlin asks for an invitation to the party so that he can inspect the wine cellar, where Alicia suspects some clue to the mysterious project lies. She manages to obtain the cellar key from Alex and to slip it to Devlin after he arrives at the party.
But Devlin's investigation of the cellar proves disastrous - he breaks a bottle that contains, not wine, but a strange mineral ore, which he hastily pushes under the racks just as he is interrupted by Alex coming down for more wine. Devlin tries to cover by pulling Alicia into his arms. He apologizes profusely and tells Alex that he has never gotten over Alicia, and that she has just resisted his advances. But Alex's suspicions now extend beyond infidelity, and he inspects the cellar himself, finds the broken bottle of mineral ore, and realizes immediately that his wife and Devlin are working together, and who they must be working for.
When Alex returns to the party he makes no sign to Alicia that he has guessed her role, but when the party is over, in the middle of the night, he slips into his mother's bedroom and sits by her bed. In probably the film's most famous scene, when his mother awakens and asks what is wrong, Alex replies, "Mother, I'm married to an American agent." Mme. Sebastian urges Alex to let her handle the situation, and not to let any of their conspirators find out what Alicia is, or they will also kill Alex and his mother.
Mme. Sebastian begins to poison Alicia via her morning coffee, a little at a time. Her plan is to make it seem as if Alicia has some illness from which she slowly dies. Alicia begins to sicken, developing headaches and light sensitivity, becoming lethargic and pale. The also-bitter Devlin believes at first that she is drinking again. One morning, however, through a chance remark that the Sebastians let slip, Alicia realizes what is happening to her. But she is now so weak that she cannot even flee the house, and the Sebastians put her to bed in an upstairs room with no telephone and locked windows. Alicia, for the first time, misses a reporting assignation with Devlin, something she has never done before; her sudden silence convinces him that Alicia was not hung over, but ill, and, alarmed, he goes to the Sebastian's home to find out what has become of her.
The final scenes of the film, as Devlin finds Alicia near death in her prison bedroom and confronts the Sebastians, are some of the most memorable in Hollywood history. They really DON'T make them like this any longer.
A milkily beautiful Ingrid Bergman is sublime as Alicia, by turns angry and tender. Grant, dark, brooding, and self-controlled, is a perfect foil for her tumultuous feelings and hunger for love - without showing an inch of naked flesh, the two generate incredible erotic heat. Claude Rains was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the feckless Alex, and Ben Hecht was nominated for Best Screenplay for his script.
This is truly one of the great suspense films of all time, and an absolute MUST for the libraries of fans of this genre.
- Finally on DVD!!
I had been looking for this movie for years on DVD. The only ones I could find were the Criterion Collection that were outrageously priced. Finally it has been released with an affordable price. Great sound and picture, classic Hitchcock!!...more info
- 3.5 stars out of 4
The Bottom Line:
Notorious may drag a little before Claude Rains comes on scene, but for the majority of its running length it's a expertly-directed story with solid performances (especially by Rains) and a sublimely clever ending....more info
- Classic post-war Hitchcock film
An intriguing spy thriller, packed with Hitchcock's favourite themes and details. A good film always begins with a good script, of course, and Ben Hecht has written a dark, lively, noir-ish script, full of deception, subtle shadings, and twists. Ingrid Bergman is perfectly cast as Alicia, the "notorious" woman caught between love and duty. The character compares herself to Mata Hari, but Mata Hari was certainly never so beautiful photographed. You can tell how deeply Alfred Hitchcock was in love with Ingrid Bergman, in the many langorous close-ups. Cary Grant makes a very good Agent Devlin--this performance was in his formative years, before he became a self-parody. Claude Rains, although notably old for his part, is wonderfully conflicted and on-edge, and gives a great performance. The other "player" worth mentioning is the city of Rio de Janeiro, shot in beautiful black-and-white in all its 1940s glamour and glory. The city is as integral to the film as, say, Venice is to the 1973 film "Don't Look Now." "Notorious" is not Hitchcock's best film, by any means, but remains watchable and still remarkably fresh more than 50 years after it was made....more info
- One of Hitchcock's finest ever
Top-notch espionage thriller with all-star cast consisting of :
Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains. With a very similar plot to the much later made Mission Impossible II
it has the daughter (Bergman) of a man convicted of treason living in Miami and a debonair secret agent (Grant) spying on her and trying to convince her to help the United States goverment in capturing some spies that her father worked with during World War II. One of the spies "just happens" to be an "old flame"(Rains)who still wants to marry her. Of course by the time they (Grant and Bergman)get to Rio de Janeiro (where the spies are in hiding) they have inevitably fallen in love with each other. Bergman marries Rains, the "old flame" spy to get closer to him and find out anything important. But eventually Rains finds otu that she and Grant are American agents and he starts trying to poison her. Then Devlin finds out and comes to the rescue,. Being a gem of a movie that I highly reccomend, I think you will enjoy it immensely....more info
- Romantic Noir
Hitchcock framed this wartime noir film around a debonair Cary Grant and the youthful beauty of Ingrid Bergman. Luxuriant black and white cinematography was added to this elegant love story set in the world of secret agents, giving it a lusciously romantic glow not found in his other films. The love story plays out against mounting suspense, making this one of his best films.
From sun-drenched Miami to exotic Brazil, this intertwined story of spies and romance is exciting to watch. American secret agent Delvin (Grant) is forced to use Alicia (Bergman) to get close to a suspected Nazi, Alexander Sebastion (Claude Rains). Alicia's father was convicted of being a German agent, and his playgirl daughter has been living fast and hard trying to forget ever since. Delvin reluctantly recruits her under orders from above and the vulnerable Alicia falls hard for him.
Her assignment must take top priority, so Delvin cannot let on that he too has fallen for her. Claude Rains does a good job as the deceptively dangerous Sebastion, in love with Alicia but growing more suspicious by the moment. His suspicions reach a fever pitch when her old friend Delvin arrives on the scene.
All Alicia wants is for Delvin to tell her not to get close to Sebastion. He can't, of course, and the romantic tension builds side by side with the suspense, creating an almost unbearable anxiety on two fronts.
The romance gets equal billing until Alicia and Delvin discover something in the wine cellar and Sebastion realizes she is a spy. Since Delvin has been reassigned to Spain, he may not be in time to save her. The famous staircase scene is just one highlight in a film filled with memorable images.
Hitchcock took an alluring Bergman, a handsome Grant, and a tightly written and suspenseful script, and made one of the most exciting and lusciously beautiful films in screen history. Ingrid Bergman is lovely and vulnerable and Cary Grant has his hands full keeping his feelings to himself so he can do his job. Don't miss this one. It is one of Hitchcock's best....more info
- THE NAMES BOND.....JAMES BOND.
And to all saying "HUH" Look at the cover of this DVD...
It should say it all. This is a great Hitchcock thriller
and the directing,lighting script and acting superb.
See Steven Kaczmarek's review on this for details on the film.
(scroll down about 4-5 reviews) I'm typing this for I love
James Bond(oh! R.A. the horrors!)And when I had all the
James Bond films on VHS Notorious was first in line!
Reason being Cary Grant was the Broccoli's first choice
for the SECRET AGENT(no really it's true!)But he turned it
Still worth noting that Grant was best man at Broccoli's
wedding(true!) The movie Notorious really shows us how
Grant would have portrayed Bond. With his style of humour
and charisma,the smoking expensive cigs. and drinking
what really looks to be a dry martini this movie is
a MUST for not only lovers of film but BOND fanatics!
Bond fans please note Connery was second choice! And
only for his likeness to Grant(I love Connery so don't
think I'm dissen the SCOTTSMAN) But I really would have
loved Grant for one movie and than Sean. Well Clint
here's your wish..NOTORIOUS! Which plays more like
a LICENCE TO KILL or FOR YOUR EYES ONLY a straight
thriller as oppose to gadgets. CRITERION COLLECTION
also has a great version of this film..Also recommend
for those who wanted a Grant Bond to watch NORTH BY NORTHWEST
TO CATCH A THIEF and CHARADE. So please Bond fanatics buy
Notorious along with Goldfinger,Casino Royale For your eyes
only and GOLDENEYE..You will not be dissapointed!
Also worth mentioning Cary Grant was born in England!!!
The names GRANT...CARY GRANT(sorry Pierce! But even you
need to step aside for the MAN..."UGH" did I just type that???)...more info
Great Hitchcock film! Grant and Bergman are terrific in the film. Claude Rains outshines both as the creepy momma's boy. Highly recommend!...more info
- One of my favorites movies of all time....
...but, where is amazon coming up with the names of the principal characters in the movie?!? What about CARY GRANT & INGRID BERGMAN, two of the best actors/actresses ever? It seems as if this would be a very difficult mistake to make; it's pretty obvious on the cover of the movie even if you know nothing about the movie itself. Can't amazon do any better than this? I think a wonderful classic like this with such amazing and timeless actors deserves better....more info
- Very Good
Notorious is both a love story and a thriller: the story of Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman), a woman of a "certain reputation" and daughter of a convicted Nazi traitor, who's recruited by T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant) to serve as a spy in Brazil. Despite the strong feelings that arise between Huberman and Devlin (and what a gorgeous couple Bergman and Grant make), she gets more and more involved with the man she's supposed to spy--a relationship that threatens not only Alicia's relationship with Devlin, but also her life. The end is suspenseful, and the film is set in a very believable (although fake) Rio de Janeiro....more info
- Well, it's Hitchcock
...So it's not going to be, like, BAD. But this is not only Hitchcock but CRITERION COLLECTION Hitchcock, which is extra-good because of all the bonus features. There are some really good commentary tracks by film scholars (fancy that) on the disc--actually worth watching. Plus the movie is fantastic. So yeah, I recommend this very highly....more info
- ONE OF THE ALL-TIME GREAT ROMANTIC THRILLERS
The romantic tension in this superlative Hitchcock spy story is fabulous. It is a little hard to believe that any guy ( even Cary Grant ) could resist someone as incredibly beautiful as Ingrid Bergman was, pretty much throwing herself at him, but that's why the romance works so well. The fact that the suspense ( revolving around a Nazi group in Brazil that is refining uranium ore ) matches the romance is due in large part to the genius of Hitchcock, and the marvelous Claude Rains as the sinister, and calculating Alexander. Rains' character, is the sexually-frustrated, head of the spy network, freshly-recruited, secret agent, Alicia ( Ingrid Bergman, who is simply radiant in this role ), the daughter of a convicted traitor, is sent to 'land.' Alicia's contact, Devlin ( Cary Grant, in one of his best performances ever ) refuses to let his emotions get in the way of his job- despite the fact, that he has fallen for the 'notorious' party girl, Alicia. The screenplay, and cinematography are wonderful, as are Edith Heads' costumes for Bergman.
There are plenty of extras on this edition, and the audio, and video qualities are very good. This is a must have for Hitchcock, Bergman, Grant, or Rains' fans. NOTORIOUS is one of the great film's in cinema history.
- Uneven Hitchcock
In the aftermath of World War II, the Americans are hunting down and prosecuting the remaining Nazis anywhere they can. One such conviction brings Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) across their radar. Her father has just been sent to prison for his involvement. But he knew more Nazis, and they think that Alicia can help them get the entire cell.
T. R. Devlin (Cary Grant) is the one who makes this pitch. At first reluctant, Alicia soon leaves for the assignment in Brazil with Devlin as her handler.
The assignment involves reuniting with Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains) and getting as close to him as possible. Since Alexander had a crush on Alicia, that part is no problem. But how far will Alicia go? Is this novice in over her head?
The basic premise of the film is familiar, and I thought that in the master's hands it might turn out to be pretty good. And there are plenty of good suspense moments, all in the second half. I'm not going to spoil any, but do know I was on the edge of my seat several times.
However, getting there was a chore. This movie is very heavy handed with the romance, especially in the first half. Frankly, I never bought it for whatever reason. Maybe it just happened too fast. Anyway, it felt forced into the story. And it made me actually dislike Devlin. I couldn't believe how he behaved at multiple points in the film. Frankly, both he and Alicia acted very stupidly multiple times.
The story is okay with several exciting parts, but the rest of the movie just doesn't support those scenes....more info
- A Masterwork of the Cinema
One of my 3 Favorite Hitchcock films. The first I really discovered and was the one that started my interests in Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman as well as Hitchcock. A Tight little story about how we allow our judgements about others to be clouded by deceptions. Deceptions of our own making and from the feeding of them by others. a mix of Romance, Comedy, Espionage and of course Suspense. Beautifully restored for Criterion DVD. You know it's worth it! Spend the few extra dollars!...more info
It is a good movie in which to see Grant and Bergman act together but the story just wasn't there. It was rather boring and incomplete.
- LOVE TRIO IN RIO
Even though Hitchcock pictures are difficult to compare, "Notorious' may be a better picture than the 1940 Oscar winner "Rebecca". Here we have Grant and Bergman as American agents trying to unravel the secrets of Rains and his villainous German cohorts after World War 2. The Americans are falling in love with one another,when Bergman is assigned to re-kindle an old love affair with Rains, much to Grant's chagrin. She succeeds too well, marries Rains, and soon discovers what her husband is up to. Simultaneously, Rains discovers Bergman's duplicity, setting the stage for a tense, unpredictable drama. Look for Mme. Konstantine, in her only screen appearance, to be incredibly effective as Rains' ageing mother. In fact, the entire cast gives a highly credible performance, leading this reviewer to rank the film as one of the best of the 1940's. Period!...more info
- Another Hitch Masterpiece
This 1946 classic stars Ingrid Bergman as Alicia Huberman, an immature party girl who after learning that her father has committed suicide in prison (he was convicted of being a German spy) is recruited by U.S. agent T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant) to go undercover and spy on her father's former Nazi friends in Rio de Janeiro. This is her big chance to clean her name, and pay back to her beloved country what she feels her father has taken away and betrayed. Right from the very get go the audience can plainly see the definite allure that exists between Alicia and Devlin. However, Dev is not too thrilled by her past partying ways and hedonistic lifestyle. This only makes Alicia more desirous to prove to Devlin and the other agents that she is more than just a pretty, vapid face.
Alicia's first assignment in Rio is to become well acquainted with Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains), a wealthy German businessman. Alex immediately finds himself head-over-heals for the alluring Alicia and proposes to her. In trying her best to please Devlin, she accepts Sebastian's proposal of marriage with the hopes that she and Dev can infiltrate Sebastian's circle of German scientist friends while also obtaining full access to the Sebastian mansion. A mansion that perhaps holds the keys to unlocking the mysteries surrounding this man and his arcane associates. This is all I wish to disclose about this suspenseful, taut thriller. Just make sure you see it yourself!
It may not be Hitchcock's greatest film, but in my mind, it may just arguably be his most perfect. Everything about this film works magnificently - the amazing directing of Hitch, Greg Toland's photography, Ben Hecht's brilliant writing (what a prolific career this Oscar winner had!), and of course the extraordinary acting performances by Grant, Bergman, and Rains. Claude Rains in particular was outstanding in his Oscar nominated role as Alexander Sebastian. Rains as an actor, possessed the wonderfully unique quality of perfectly portraying the sympathetic villain. Is it me, or could that man act?! Also, when you look up CHEMISTRY in the dictionary it should have a picture of Bergman and Grant next to the word. These two set the screen on fire! Bergman sure had a way with her leading men, and Cary is no exception. I have seen him a bit wooden at times when it comes to love scenes, but definitely not this time folks. What passionate performances!
This is one in which every time you view it you'll pick up something new. As in all of Hitchcock's classics, symbolism is the main and essential ingredient when it comes to his directing - and "Notorious" is bursting with it almost upon every scene. Every time I watch this film, I am amazed about how many new things I pick up on that I hadn't consciously noticed before. You will also learn to appreciate it more with each additional viewing. That is what a masterpiece, a work of art, is all about. He was an absolute savant behind the camera, and it's a shame that most of Hollywood's modern day directors, despite all of their advanced technology, can't even touch this remarkable talent. Where have our great directors of yesteryear gone? People like Hitchcock, Welles, Ford, Capra, Wyler, Kramer, Kubrick, Kazan, et al...?
A definite must see! And without a doubt, in this reviewer's humble opinion - a FIVE STAR work of art, restored to perfection by Criterion Classics. ...more info
EXELENTE, LA MANO DE HITCHCOCK ESTA PRESENTE, EL GUION, LA DIRECCION Y LAS ACTUACIONES DE INGRID BERGMAN,CARY GRANY Y CLAUDE RAINS FORMIDABLES....more info
- A Classic!
This is one of my top 5 movies of all time. Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman are amazing, as is Claude Rains. Definitely 5 out of 5 stars!...more info
- Devilishly Entertaining!!
NOTORIOUS is one of Hitchcock's best thrillers, with heart-pounding suspense and a sensational cast to boost: Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, and Claude Rains, who all deliver superb performances. Their chemistry alone makes the film worth watching. Bergman plays Alicia, the daughter of a disgraced father, who is recruited to infiltrate a post-World War II spy ring in Brazil. Alicia is known for her drinking and apparent promiscuity, and due to her reputation, is asked by an agent named Devlin (Grant) to fly to Rio and insinuate herself into the household of a spy ring led by Sebastian (Rains). Sebastian once loved her, and perhaps he still does. Devlin is essentially asking her to share the spy's bed to discover his secrets. She is willing to do this because by the time he asks her, she is in love with him, and apparently, he with her. This mixture of romance and suspense work perfectly for a devilishly entertaning thriller. It all comes together in a suspense-filled, surprising, and emotional climax. A classic must-see thriller!! This is Hitchcock in top form......more info