One year, one film: 1946
Notorious, dir. Alfred Hitchcock
starring Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant and Claude Rains
Recommended | Highly Recommended | MUST-SEE
What can I say about Notorious that hasn’t already been said? It’s Hitchcock. It’s Cary Grant. It’s Ingrid Bergman. It’s Claude Rains. It’s everything. All at once suspenseful and romantic, Notorious spins a tangled web of espionage and betrayal, scripted by the brilliant Ben Hecht (Spellbound, Nothing Sacred). Today, it’s regarded as one of the best from the filmographies of basically everyone involved.
Did the critics of 1946 love Notorious as much as today’s classic cinema fanatics?
Dorothy Kilgallen (who you may remember from “The Stars I’d Like to Be Married To”) selected Notorious as Modern Screen‘s “Picture of the Month.” She offered some particularly colorful commentary on the chemistry between Bergman and Grant, writing “Let’s face it. Long after the storyline is forgotten, Notorious will be remembered as the picture in which Ingrid Bergman gnawed at Cary Grant as if he were a pound of fresh caviar,” adding that any audience remember who didn’t react to that must either be “darned sophisticated or dead”!
The New York Times‘ Bosley Crowther heaped some high praise on the film, writing the following: “It is obvious that Alfred Hitchcock, Ben Hecht and Ingrid Bergman form a team of motion-picture makers that should be publicly and heavily endowed. For they were the ones responsible for Spellbound, as director, writer, and star, and now they have teamed together on another taut, superior film.”
Variety‘s review was also very positive. The performances of Grant, Bergman, and Rains are all praised, as are the director and the suspense, adding up to “force entertainment.”
Beloved by the critics of its day, and beloved by today’s classic film fans, Notorious is undoubtedly a must-see!
I have very fond memories of seeing Notorious the 1st time, mostly as initially Ingrid Bergman seems to be cast against type. As the story unfolds, however, you begin to see what an inspired casting choice it was. Only Hitchcock could build up so much suspense over a door key. Highly recommended and so much fun to watch. (And let’s not forget that great character actor, Claude Rains.)
Claude Rains is stellar. I’ll watch anything he’s in!