One of Alfred Hitchcock's classics, this romantic thriller features a cast to kill for: Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, and Claude Rains. Bergman plays the daughter of a disgraced father who is recruited by American agents to ... more »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. Danger, deceit, betrayal--and, yes, romance--all come together in a nearly perfect blend as the film builds to a terrific (and surprising) climax. Grant and Bergman rarely have been better. --Marshall Fine« less
"The video transfer of new Criterion DVD version of NOTORIOUS is a bit sharper, more detailed, and has better contrast than that of the Anchor Bay DVD version released in 1999. Unfortunately, it also reveals a lot more film grains. The graininess is not noticeable in most parts of the film unless a direct comparision with Anchor Bay's transfer is made. But in a few scenes, the graininess just cannot be ignored, and could be detrimental to one's viewing pleasure. In spite of that, in my opinion the increased detail and sharpness of Criterion's transfer is still preferrable to Anchor Bay's comparatively softer and darker picture.Regarding audio, it is no contest. Criterion's mono 1.0 sound has MUCH greater clarity, depth, details, volume than Anchor Bay's comparatively muted and muffled soundtrack. In addition, the Criterion disc also includes optional English subtitles while Anchor Bay's does not.The Criterion DVD retains all of the supplementary material from their own CAV laserdisc version from 1991, and it adds some more...There are two excellent audio commentary tracks. One is by Marian Keane, and it deals straight with the artistic aspects of the film by providing scene-by-scene, shot-by-shot dissertations. Commentaries like this are rare, and it is most beneficial to average viewers who want to learn more about the purposes and intentions behind every shot, every cut, every line. For instance, in a seemingly ordinary shot of a grandfather clock inside the Sebastian home, Keene analyzes the composition by pointing out the phallic symbol of the clock that suggests Alex's presence, the adjacent banister that reminds us of his mother, and the flower at the window that suggests the vulnerability of Alicia. Another commentary track, by Rudy Behlmer, was recorded for the laserdisc version, and it is the more common type of commentary, in which the commentator recounts the production's history, the logistical aspects, sypnoses of the lives and careers of the filmmakers, a few anecdotes. Behlmer mentions something omitted by Keane -- Roy Webb's music (which is given a separate audio track on the DVD). At one point, he explains how the RKO Radio Picture logo was removed from the opening credits; but he refers only to the laserdisc version. This DVD version, however, restores the RKO logo. Other extras include an all-too-brief excerpt of the short story "The Song of the Dragon" which inspired the film. There are about 40 production stills, mostly of Hitchcock, Cary Grant, and Ingrid Bergman. There is a section that explains how the many rear projection shots were done (some of the shots are quite seamless). There are a few production correspondences written by David O. Selznick, Bergman, and even FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover in response to the film's treatment of special agents. There are 4 theatrical trailers and short teasers. There is a one-minute newsreel footage of Hitchcock and Bergman arriving in England. There are script excerpts of 5 deleted scenes, and 3 alternate endings in which one or more of the four main characters get wounded or killed on screen. In a moving segment called "The Fate of the Unica Key", Marian Keane speaks on an audio track about how Bergman, during AFI's Lifetime Award ceremony for Hitchcock, handed the Unica key to the director as a token of love and respect (unfortunately, no footage of the AFI telecast is included). Last, but not least, there is a one-hour radioplay version of the film, in excellent audio quality, recorded in 1948, starring Joseph Cotten as Devlin and Bergman again as Alicia (the laserdisc version only has a 15-minute excerpt of the radioplay)."
Beautifully Restored Film Classic
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 12/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to the Criterion Collection DVD of Alfred Hitchcock's "Notorious".....
The master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, gives us another edge of your seat thriller. He combines, mystery,romance, and the evil's of Nazism in this chilling story.It takes place shortly after WWII. Alicia(Ingrid Bergman) is a woman with a past. Her father has just been convicted of spying. American agent Devlin(Cary Grant), enlists Alicia to infiltrate a Nazi spy ring.After her father's conviction, Alicia can prove her own patriotism by cooperating in this manner. She finds herself right in the thick of things and her own life in danger after she goes as far as to marry Alex(Claude Rains), one of the very powerful, rich and dangerous ring leaders of the group. Alex is on to her and tries to methodically get rid of his beautiful wife.Can the handsome "Dev" rescue the woman he has come to love so much before tragedy strikes.?
You'll delight to find Hitch's trademarks all through the film. The camera angles are definitive,the trademark staircase scene, the passion between Grant and Bergman electrifying,Claude Rains is terrifying, and the story a rollercoaster of suspense filled moments. There isn't a more perfect film I can think of.
Looking for Hitch: A little over an hour in you can have a little drink with him.(Not too much though, the Champagne needs to last the night at this party).
I am always happy to report on a great restoration of a classic film. This one made in 1946 is a beautiful, crisp, clean transfer to this DVD. The Black and White images are sharp and you will notice the attention that was made to every detail during the filming. The tears streaming down Ingrid's face look like drops of crystal. It's amazing. The sound is in Dolby Dig Mono and is very good. There are lots of "extras" on this edition. Among them is some great commentary from Marian Keane(she is a film scholar and talks alot about camera angles and other pertinent facts to the film) which you can listen to during the film if you choose, You can isolate that wonderful soundtrack,there is correspondce between Selznick and others connected to the film,TWO booklets, one about Hitch's Notorious and other films and another listing Criterions releases. And there is much more(see tech info for complete list).There are also subtitles which may be helpful to hearing impaired viewers.
You do get your money's worth on this one. However, if you are not as interested in the extras and are just looking to view this fabulous classic, there is another edition by Anchor Bay which costs much less. Although I have not viewed this particular Anchor Bay Release I do have many others by them and have always been more than happy with their treatment of the transfer.
Kick back with Cary, Ingrid and Hitch for a day of suspense and romance..........Laurie
More Hitch(see my reviews for film details):The Lady Vanishes / 39 Steps Secret Agent"
J. Michael Click | Fort Worth, Texas United States | 05/12/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A finely crafted, sumptuously produced romantic thriller that has the distinction of featuring director Hitchcock, and stars Grant and Bergman at their collective best. Even so, Claude Rains manages to dominate almost every scene in which he appears; his Oscar-nominated portrayal of the lovesick mama's boy engaged in espionage comes off as supremely menacing, emotionally ambiguous, and yet oddly sympathetic ... all at the same time.The film-to-DVD transfer is quite good. There are a couple of jumps and pops in the master print that are a bit jarring, but overall it's a crisp and clean presentation with great contrast. Although the package doesn't mention it, the DVD does offer chapter search/scene selection which is always a nice perk. There aren't any of the bonus features that we spoiled DVD collectors are coming to expect (trailers, biographical sketches, etc.), but it's still a more than acceptable edition of a truly classic film."
Stars Shine in Rio
Stephen Reginald | Chicago, IL United States | 08/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of Alfred Hitchcock's most complex romances features two of his favorite stars (Gary Grant and Ingrid Bergman) in the lead roles. Set against a background of spies and counterspies, Notorious remains first and foremost a love story. When Alicia Huberman (Bergman), the daughter of a convicted Nazi is hired as a double agent, she discovers she's in for more than she bargained for. While assigned to uncover scientific secrets from Germans hiding in Brazil, Bergman makes the ultimate sacrifice for her country by marrying her father's former conspirator, Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains). Bergman is desperately in love with American agent T. R. Devlin (Grant), who she believes has deserted her emotionally, but marries Rains almost out of spite rather than pure patriotism. Through the many plot twists and turns, Bergman and Grant realize their true feelings for one another. A truly wonderful suspense, Hitchcock gets amazing performances from his cast. Bergman (never more beautiful or appealing) and Grant are excellent as the lovers who can't seem to express their mutual affection. Both seem ready to explode from all the pent up emotions. Rains is perfect as the mama's boy Nazi leader, and what a mother German actress Leopoldine Konstantin is in her only American film! The plot was so original that the writers of Mission Impossible II ripped it off (including the contact meeting scene at the racetrack!) with less than mediocre success."
Hitchcock, Grant, Bergman & Rains...perfection
K. Barnes | USA | 08/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is quite simply one of the best suspense films I have ever seen. Hithcock is obiviously the master at this, but I think this film is near perfect, bringing everything that Hitchcock is great at together in a tight, tense atmosphere. Personally, I believe Cary Grant was never as captivating then when he revealed that dark, insecure yet sauve side of himself in Hitchcock films (Suspicion is another great example of this). Grant's performance of Devlin is wonderful. Devlin refuses to let himself fall in love with a woman who he must convince himself is a partier, a drinker, and definately not a lady. In forcing himself to believe this, he manages to push Alicia further and further into danger. Ingrid Bergman is nothing short of stunning as Alicia, definately a perfect performance. Alicia sense of guilt over her father's war crimes and her guilt over being the daughter of such a man, lead her first to drink and then, through Devlin, to become an American agent. Throughout the film she tries to redeem herself in her own eyes, that of the country she loves, and in the eyes of Devlin. She sacrifices herself, stepping right into a deadly affair with Sebastian, all the time hoping Devlin will admit his true feelings. Claude Rains is excellent as Sebastian; who is so consumed by his feelings for Alicia, that he ignores the dangers of the men he is working with and the dire and jealous warnings of his mother. The dialog in this film is beyond compare. It is sparse, dark and biting, like the film itself to thicken the cloud of suspense wrapping around the characters and the audience. Hitchock takes Grant's unique inflection and beat that helps him to literally be a "smooth, fast, charmer" and gives his words a darker tone. It sends shivers down the spine to hear Devlin speak. This film is stunning. Hitchcock's best and one of my all-time favorites!"