'Notorious' [Blu ray]
(Claude Rains, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, et al / Blu ray / NR / (1946) 2011 / MGM)
Overview: Bergman plays the daughter of a disgraced father who is recruited by American agents to infiltrate a post-World War II spy ring in Brazil. Her control agent is Grant, who treats her with disdain while developing a deep romantic bond with her. Her assignment: to marry the suspected head of the ring (Rains) and get the goods on everyone involved.
Blu ray Verdict: In Alfred Hitchcock's 1946 film, `Notorious', Cary Grant plays T.R. Devlin, an American agent who employs the assistance of Alicia Huberman, (Ingrid Bergman) a German expatriate whose father has just been convicted as a German spy. Devlin brings Alicia to Brazil in hopes to arrange a meeting with Alex Sebastian (the fantastic Claude Rains); another German spy who just happens to have a history with Alicia insofar that he was in love with her.
The plan is to get them together so that she can spy on Sebastian and his colleagues so that the Americans can get a leg up on their mutual espionage. Of course, love develops between Devlin and Alicia, which complicates their operation and of course, their lives.
`Notorious', despite adhering to the chaste Hayes Code of the time has some of the steamiest scenes between two actors that I can recall during that era. While the scenes never get beyond the standard close-ups of their kisses, the chemistry is a heavy physical presence. The acting in `Notorious' is top-notch; Grant and Bergman were at their best during this era.
Claude Rains, who is a personal favorite of mine, is absolutely fabulous in this film. He gives his character, who should be hateful, a humanistic quality that makes him an even more complicated figure. Screenwriter Ben Hecht and Hitchcock team up for some pretty intense moments in `Notorious', and compliment each others styles and talents wonderfully. There are not many nail-biting moments in `Notorious', but the script is excellent.
Coupled with the superior acting and direction, `Notorious' is certainly a Hitchcock film that should not be missed. This film is worth the time to watch again and again. And it now comes in crystal clear, remastered Blu ray with a whole slew of wonderful Bonus Features to enjoy! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.37:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Commentary with Film Professor Rick Jewell
Commentary with Film Professor Drew Casper
Isolated Music and Effects Track
The Ultimate Romance: The Making of Notorious
Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Spymaster
The American Film Institute Award: The Key to Hitchcock
1948 Radio Play starring Joseph Cotton and Ingrid Bergman
Hitchcock Audio Interviews includes talks with Peter Bogdanovich and François Truffaut