Notorious (1946)

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great looking, strong acting, tense ending

Slow to get going

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Notorious

Studio:  RKO Radio Pictures

Genre(s):  Mystery/Suspense/Drama/Romance

Release Date(s):  August 15, 1946

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Boy, I sure know how to party!

Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) finds herself in a touch situation when her father is discovered to be a spy. Contacted by federal agents, Alicia finds herself recruited to be a double-agent by T. R. Devlin (Cary Grant). Shipped to Rio de Janeiro with Devlin as her contact, Alicia finds herself falling in love with Devlin. Alicia is assigned to shadow her father’s former contact Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains) and is trapped into accepting a marriage proposal by Sebastian to discover what he and his friends are plotting.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Notorious was a thriller in classic Hitchcockian style. Following Spellbound in 1945, Notorious received critical acclaimed and many saw the movie as a turning point for Hitchcock in his style and storytelling abilities. Claude Rains and the author of the screenplay Ben Hecht were both nominated for Oscars (losing to Best Picture winner The Best Years of Our Lives script and supporting actor).  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #137).


Hey guys, guess what? You’re screwed!

The movie is classic Hitchcock. It has a real style and feel to it as a tense thriller. The movie has a number of great shots that really tell the story and show his skill at framing a scene. The famous sweeping shot of the party which starts wide and goes from the second floor shot to a shot of the wine cellar key in Bergman’s hand is classic and still pretty amazing. The movie did face some issues with censors over the amount of kissing Bergman does, but Hitchcock got around the “time limit” rules by having them break their kisses after three seconds (only to start again).


It’s Hitch! (Hickcock’s cameo at the party)

This was Ingrid Bergman’s second outing as one of Hitchcock’s woman (Spellbound was released just before this in 1945). She isn’t as good as some of the later Hitchcock women, but she does give a nice foreign and exotic feel to her character with her accent. Grant is Cary Grant…much like George Clooney today, you can’t disagree that he has screen presence, but his characters all seem to be the same. Claude Rains gives a nice performance as the bachelor who is really in love with Bergman’s character, goes against his domineering mother (played by Leopoldine Konstantin) and gets burned for doing it (this is a theme that shows up time & time again in Hitchcock films from here to Psycho, to The Birds…mothers always seem to get in the way).

Notorious might not be the flashiest Hitchcock film, but it is still strong and a classic with great mystery, suspense, romance, and drama.  The end sequence alone has enough real tension in it that movies nowadays will kill for. It is definitely a must for Hitchcock fans but also a must for other fans of suspense and mystery.  Hitchcock followed Notorious with The Paradine Case in 1947.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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