Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Thursday, July 19, 2012


This week's movie was Notorious, a 1946 B&W film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. The basic plot ...

Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman), the American daughter of a convicted Nazi spy is recruited by government agent T. R. Devlin (Cary Grant) to infiltrate an organization of Nazis who have relocated to Brazil after World War II. While awaiting the details of her assignment in Rio de Janeiro Alicia and Devlin fall in love, though his feelings are complicated by his knowledge of her wild past. When Devlin gets instructions to persuade her to seduce Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains), one of her father's friends and a leading member of the group, Devlin tries to convince his superiors that Alicia is not fit for the job, without success. He puts up a stoic front when he informs Alicia about the mission, choosing duty over love. Alicia concludes that he was merely pretending to love her as part of his job ....

I won't tell you what happens next in case you decide to see the movie, but it gets complicated, dangerous, disturbing, and involves second chances and smuggled uranium :)

Here's the start of Roger Ebert's review of the film ...

Alfred Hitchcock's "Notorious" is the most elegant expression of the master's visual style, just as "Vertigo" is the fullest expression of his obsessions. It contains some of the most effective camera shots in his--or anyone's--work, and they all lead to the great final passages in which two men find out how very wrong they both were.

This is the film, with "Casablanca," that assures Ingrid Bergman's immortality. She plays a woman whose notorious reputation encourages U.S. agents to recruit her to spy on Nazis in postwar Rio. And that reputation nearly gets her killed, when the man she loves mistrusts her. His misunderstanding is at the center of a plot in which all of the pieces come together with perfect precision, so that two people walk down a staircase to their freedom, and a third person climbs steps to his doom ....

Here's a clip from the film. Devlin and Alicia have just reached Rio and have not yet learned what her assignment will be. She loves him but he's cautious because of her "checkered" past, and his relictance to trust her almost costs her life ....

I like movies of the 40's :)


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