Notorious (1946) [Review 41 for FQ13]

Why I Saw It: I’ve become quite fond of Cary Grant movies, and Hitchcock films which don’t deal specifically with the horror genre. As this is a classic film which has been escaping me, I made a point to DVR & watch it when I saw it listed on my television’s guide.

What Was It About?  “A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them?.

Rating: 7.9 out of 10

Memorable Performances: The performances by Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman were certainly not as memorable as what they’ve done in other films (North By Northwest for Grant; Casablanca for Bergman), but they were still good performances nevertheless. As for the fine performance by Claude Rains, I don’t recall as much of his performances in Casablanca or Lawrence Of Arabia, so this is probably what I’ll remember him for, as his was a high quality villain.

Potential Nominations for Film Quest ’13:  

  • Best Actress – Ingrid Bergman
  • Best Actor – Cary Grant
  • Best Supporting Actor & Best Villain – Claude Rains

Favorite Parts: I thought the ending was really enjoyable, in the way that things all fell into place. The ending of older films like this can often leave something to be desired, but I thought this one worked quite well, and if there were to be a remake, I don’t think they’d have to do much differently.

The Regrettable Aspects: The first two acts of the film were slow. Really slow. It took me two viewings to get all the way through it. In terms of the film’s title, they didn’t do much to establish why any of the characters would fit the term “notorious”, other than some things we hear briefly in a couple conversations of dialogue.

Would I watch it again? I wouldn’t seek out an opportunity.

To Whom Would I Recommend It?  I’d say that anyone who enjoys Hitchcock films should see it, or anyone who wants to get a good idea for why Cary Grant is such a big deal… though in both of those cases, I’d recommend other films first.

Other Recommendations:

NORTH BY NORTHWEST – It’s quite simply one of  my favorite films of all time (9.1 out of 10) and arguably the best work in the careers of either Cary Grant or Alfred Hitchcock.

CASABLANCA – Although it’s not in my Top 100 films of all time, it was a good flick and it’s worth watching for at least two reasons: 1) to say you’ve seen it; 2) because it’s a good performance from Ingrid Bergman.

GILDA – I nearly published this review without remembering to include GILDA as a recommendation, but there are certainly quite a few parallels.

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA – As I mentioned above, it features a notable performance from Claude Rains, but more importantly than that, it’s an epic film which is actually enjoyable… and you’ll learn a bit about history, as well.

If you’ve got recommendations for alternatives to NOTORIOUS, or for other similar films, let me know!



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