Thursday, July 21, 2011

#356: Notorious

1946, TSPDT Rank #80

Notorious is the quintessential '40s Hitchcock film, and is probably the best of his work in that decade. The plot is espionage-related, but the plot is only a vehicle to serve up an intoxicating and slightly dangerous mix of suspense and romance. And this isn't a normal romance - it's fiery and passionate at first (note Grant and Bergman's impressive extended kissing screen that miraculously passed the censors in trademark Hitchcock fashion), then cold and dismissive soon after. Bergman gives herself up in aid of the espionage unit she's working for, but it seems to really be to evoke jealousy in Grant's character. The two have conflicting, confused feelings for each other but are at the same time working for the same team - working together but apart. In this fashion Hitchcock dissects romance and feelings, while gradually ratcheting up the suspense and intrigue simultaneously. It's not quite the masterpiece Hitchcock sometimes made, but it is an extremely impressive film anyway, for a variety of reasons.

(Rating: 9/10)

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