Thursday, December 4, 2014

A-Z Movies, N: "Notorious"

Recommended by:
Roger Ebert (movie critic), on his Top 10 list

Movie Stats:
Released 1946 (USA)
American, in English (some non-translated French)
Director - Alfred Hitchcock
Stars - Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains

Plot Summary:
After her father is sentenced as a traitor, Alicia Huberman (Bergman) is asked to spy on a group of Nazi sympathizers in Brazil by seducing Alexander Sebastian (Rains), a man who once had a thing for her. Grant co-stars as Alicia’s actual love interest, D.R. Devlin.

Minor violence.

Bad Stuff:
To quote my husband, “It felt like it was building and building but then nothing really happened.” To me, it never felt tense or suspenseful or creepy, which are typically the best things about a Hitchcock film. Frankly, I was bored throughout.

I really hated Grant’s character. There’s something about watching a grown man act like a petulant, self-righteous thirteen-year-old that irritates me to no end.

The special effects are dreadful, even for a 1940s film.

Good Stuff:
Bergman was amazing. She impressed the heck out of me. Her opening scene, where she’s drunk at a party, is probably the only time I’ve ever seen someone accurately portray how drunk people act.

He didn’t have much to do, but when he was given the opportunity to spread his acting wings (like in the final scene), Rains was pretty great.

The Verdict:
I always liked Roger Ebert. He seemed like a nice guy, a real class act. But I have no idea if I generally agreed with him as a movie critic. I haven’t read enough of his reviews to say. Of his Top 10 list, the only other one I’ve seen is “Casablanca,” which I love. As far as this film goes, he and I don’t see eye to eye. I don’t understand why he liked it so much. I thought it was dull, annoying, and, ultimately, pointless (What were Sebastian and his buddies even up to? They never really say, only insinuate). It felt like a waste of a perfectly good plot. 

I give the movie 2.5 stars.


Patricia said...

I've not seen this, but it sounds like I should watch it just for the Bergman performance.

balyien said...

I suspect that you might like this one better than me. I might even like it better if I saw it at a different time/in more of a mood for it.