Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman
NOTORIOUS (1946). Director: Alfred Hitchcock.

Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) is the daughter of a German-born traitor who is imprisoned after a trial. The government, in the person of Devlin (Cary Grant), persuades Alicia to spy for them on an old admirer, Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains), who is one member of a Nazi enclave in Rio, where he lives in a big house with his termagant mother (Leopoldine Konstantin). Although Devlin is falling in love with Alicia and vice versa, he can't forget her past as a good-time party girl and, not wanting to get hurt, keeps throwing it at her. [One has to suspend disbelief over the whole business of a government agent having a relationship with a woman  for which he is an official liaison!] Each victims of their own pride, neither Alicia nor Devlin protest when it is suggested that she actually marry Sebastian so she can enter the household itself and accrue more information as to their plans. But if Sebastian or his mother should find out the truth ...? Bergman, Grant, and Rains -- not to mention Konstantin and the supporting cast -- all give excellent performances in this smooth Hitchcock thriller with a tense, rewarding climax. Hitchcock subtly maintains a sinister aura greatly aided by Rains and Konstantin and their unpleasant associates. Fay Baker, playing a partying friend of Alicia's, was Bette Davis' greedy sister in The Star and was a Mother-from-Hell in Sorority Girl.

Verdict: Definitely a strange romance with a fascinating heroine. ***1/2.

No comments: