Thursday, 18 June 2009


My recent post about Alfred Hitchcock prompted comments encouraging me to watch his 1946 film Notorious, and a sensible blogger always pays heed to people who take the trouble to offer constructive comments. So I’ve now seen Notorious, and on the whole I enjoyed it.

I say ‘on the whole’ because it got off to a very slow start. In fact, watching it after a very long day at the office, I was on the verge of going to sleep after quarter of an hour. But then the story warmed up, and so did my enthusiasm for the movie.

Ingrid Bergman is the patriotic American daughter of a traitor who is persuaded by secret agent Cary Grant (playing T.R. Devlin – no relation to Harry) to infiltrate a group of German sympathisers based in Brazil. She takes the job so seriously that she marries wealthy mummy’s boy Claude Rains, and duly discovers the wherewithal for a uranium-based bomb in his wine cellar. Rains discovers her duplicity, and he and Mum start to poison her, but of course they haven’t reckoned on Grant’s devotion to Ingrid.

There are several neat Hitchcockian touches in the film, and the ending is genuinely chilling – not least because Rains makes the bad guy rather sympathetic. He was an interesting and talented actor, whose CV includes not only a famous role in that great movie Casablanca, but also teaching Gielgud and Oliver, and somehow finding the time to marry no fewer than six times.


Cullen Gallagher said...

I actually love the opening, particularly the party sequence where we only see the back of Cary Grant's head. The car ride, with Ingrid Bergman's hair blinding her, is classic Hitchcock: tense but funny.

Martin Edwards said...

Yes, the small Hitchcock touches are often as memorable as the great moments in some of the most famous films.

Lauren said...

I think Claude Rains is my favourite thing about the film, actually. Magnificent in so many small roles throughout his career.
In the 1942 classic Now, Voyager, I always had trouble believing Bette Davis was in such a difficult situation - true, she couldn't marry Paul Heinreid, but I liked the Claude Rains character better!

Martin Edwards said...

I've never seen Now, Voyager, Lauren. I take it you recommend it?