Notorious

“The best film ever made.” — Sam Neill, Cinema of Unease
Year: 1946
Country: USA
Running time: 101 mins
Producer: Alfred Hitchcock
Screenplay: Ben Hecht
Photography: Ted Tetzlaff
Art director: Carroll Clark, Albert S.D’Agostino
Editor: Theron Warth
Costumes: Edith Head
Sound: Terry Kellum, Clem Portman, John E. Tribby
Music: Roy Webb
B&W

With:
Cary Grant
Ingrid Bergman
Claude Rains
Louis Calhern
1997 New Zealand Film Festival screening presented in association with The New Zealand Film Archive. Print from the National Film and Television Archive, London.

“ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S amatory thriller stars Ingrid Bergman as the daughter of a Nazi, a shady lady who trades secrets and all sorts of things with American agent Cary Grant. The suspense is terrific: Will suspicious, passive Grant succeed in making Bergman seduce him, or will he take over? The honour of the American male is saved by a hair- breadth, but Bergman is literally ravishing in what is probably her sexiest performance.” — Pauline Kael

“To put the matter plainly, Notorious is Alfred Hitchcock's most complex and compelling romance up to his great masterpiece Vertigo. Right after watching it, you may tend to forget its plot about Nazis working with uranium ore in Brazil, in a race to develop the bomb at the end of World War 2. What sticks in the memory is rather the tale of a couple – a needy woman and a frightened man – and of another man betrayed by both his own devotion and by the political expediency of the couple. Notorious is as fine an exploration of adult confusions as one could ask for... Few other films withstand as much meticulous study as this; few were constructed according to so rigorous a design; fewer still succeed in matching structural perfection with such a depth of feeling... Notorious is from the first frame to last a film of startling ironies and contrasts. Promiscuity and sexual exploitation are contrasted with the desire for true love. Drunken dizziness is contrasted with arsenic poisoning. Social elegance and propriety mask a murderous savagery...” — Donald Spoto