Notorious – Blu-ray Edition

Director Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho, Rear Window) is one of the best regarded directors in the history of film and this is one of his best films.  Notorious is filled with tension, suspense and romance.

Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman – Casablanca, Spellbound) is a German-American young woman whose father has been arrested and thrown in jail for turning traitor. Upset she turns to drink and men.  At one of her parties a mysterious man named Devlin (Cary Grant – To Catch a Thief, North By Northwest) asks her for her help.

It turns out that Devlin is an American agent and wants Alicia to work with him and his team on a case involving a German spy ring.  Reluctantly she agrees and they travel to Rio.  Alicia is to get “close” to Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains – Lawrence of Arabia, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington).  Coincidentally, Alexander Sebastian is a man who was in love with Alicia at one time.

While in Rio and before their assignment starts, Devlin and Alicia get to spend a lot of time together.  They begin falling in love.  Then the case begins and it involves Alicia getting married to Sebastian.  This puts Devlin and Alicia’s love in jeopardy along with their lives.

All the suspense and tension is built up very subtly.  The film is rife with symbols and reference points.  There is a lot going on here, but it is all cleverly in the background.

Hitchcock painstakingly constructed the film.  Paying attention to every detail.  Starting with casting the right people in the main roles.  This was one of Ingrid Bergman’s best performances, Grant is incredibly handsome and Claude Rains is great as the bad guy.  The scenes between Grant and Bergman are some of the steamiest of the era.  Of course, the camerawork, like in all Hitchcock films, is superior.  Long tracking shots that land on still objects.  All this adds up to film that though the story is quite implausible turns out to be believable and engrossing.  In the hands of a master it all works itself out in the wash.

Special Features:
-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
-Restoration Comparison
-Original Theatrical Trailer

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