Archive for December 14th, 2008


by Allan Fish

(USA 1946 101m) DVD1/2

Chicken in the icebox

p  Alfred Hitchcock  d  Alfred Hitchcock  w  Ben Hecht  ph  Ted Tetzlaff  ed  Theron Warth  m  Roy Webb  art  Albert S.d’Agostino, Carroll Clark  spc  Vernon L.Walker, Paul Eagler  cos  Edith Head

Ingrid Bergman (Alicia Huberman), Cary Grant (T.R.Devlin), Claude Rains (Alexander Sebastian), Louis Calhern (Paul Prescott), Leopoldine Konstantin (Mme Sebastian), Reinhold Schünzel (Dr Anderson), Moroni Olsen (Walter Beardsley), Ivan Triesault (Eric Mathis), Alexis Minotis (Joseph), Wally Brown (Dr Hopkins), Gavin Gordon,

This is a very strange love affair” Ingrid Bergman muses to Cary Grant during their extended love scene in Hitchcock’s romantic masterwork.  Indeed it is, and it’s also one of the most psychologically perverse romantic chillers in Hollywood history.  One recalls Sam Neill musing over his childhood movie-going in his look at New Zealand cinema for the Channel 4/BFI Century of Cinema series and saying how he saw the greatest movie ever made at a certain picture house – Hitchcock’s Notorious.  Though I wouldn’t go that far, one can hardly rubbish such a statement.  Notorious is a masterpiece and, as such, is as entitled for discussion as any other film to that most perilous of titles.

            It begins with a neo-Nazi being tried and condemned for treason by a US court.  His daughter is grilled by reporters leaving the courtroom and returns home for a party to forget everything.  There she is propositioned by an American agent who gradually both involves her in acting as a spy and becomes obsessed by her.  The problem is twofold; he doesn’t trust her as he knows her background as an alcoholic and a near nymphomaniac (“she’s good at making friends with gentlemen” Calhern says) and that she is about to be prostituted to another Nazi in Rio, who has always loved her.  (more…)

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