Noirvember continues: Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious


Notorious is not film noir. Some sources describe it as noir, and I hadn’t seen it in years, so I watched it to see. My conclusion is that it’s a romantic thriller. I don’t know if that’s a legit genre, but that’s what it is.

Some of the cinematography uses noir-ish techniques–Dutch angles, natural lighting. But the light is much brighter than typical noir. In general, it just looks like an Alfred Hitchcock film.

I saw at least one article claim that the film includes a femme fatale, the noirest of noir tropes, but I 100% disagree. Had the story been told from Alex’s (Claude Rains) point of view, Alicia (Ingrid Bergman) would be a femme fatale. As it follows her, she is not. I suppose Devlin (Cary Grant) fills that role…kind of.

Can we talk about how amazing Ingrid Bergman is in this movie? I mean, holy hell. She is so good. I’ve never cared much for Casablanca, and always loved Gaslight the most of her movies (at least those I’ve seen, which is surprisingly few). After this viewing of Notorious, I think Gaslight is #2.

Cary Grant plays Devlin so close that he’s stiff as a board. I much prefer his performance in Charade, which is a totally unfair comparison because Charade is a comedy (though also a romantic spy thriller!), but he does hide his affection for the leading lady in both, so.

Claude Rains may be the MVP. He is just so great. Apparently Hitchcock wanted Clifton Webb, whom I can’t quite picture in the role. I mean, I’m sure he would have been wonderful, but Claude Rains is so perfect. (Note to self: watch Laura again.)

Anyway. A+++++. With an extra + for the key design on the poster.

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