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SUMMER FILM SERIES I: "Notorious" - Hitchcock

  • Knott Science Center at Notre Dame University of Maryland 4701 North Charles Street Baltimore, MD, 21210 United States (map)

Notorious (1946)
Introduction and commentary by Christopher Llewellyn Reed, chair of Film & Moving Image, Stevenson University

Hitchcock's eighth Hollywood feature, and his second with Cary Grant (after Suspicion, in 1941), Notorious is not only a taut post-war noir-ish espionage thriller; it is also one of the master's most romantic films. Co-starring Ingrid Bergman as the daughter of a German spy, the movie casts Cary Grant as a debonair American agent who is appointed as Bergman's handler to help capture a ring of escaped Nazis in Brazil. Though he falls hard for her – and she for him – he is forced to facilitate her liaison with the unctuous Claude Rains, the head of the Nazi ring. Grant seethes with barely controlled jealousy as both he and Bergman work desperately against the clock to find the evidence that will put these evil men out of commission. Shot in glorious black & white, the film showcases Hitchcock's growing command of camera and mise-en- scène, including one memorable sequence that leads us, in a single take, from the top of a balustrade to a close-up on a key in Bergman's hand. Along with the other Grant movie in this program, North by Northwest, Notorious demonstrates what a perfect and poised James Bond Cary Grant would have made, had the stars so aligned. (101min, B&W)

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