Saturday, January 09, 2010

Yeah, I am a little late- Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock's 'Notorious'

Watching a motion picture the second time is not an exciting venture for me. I would rather spend my time on viewing something I haven’t seen before. But tonight was an exception.
I couldn’t resist the temptation of Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. They set new standards of on-screen chemistry in Hitchcock’s 1946 film, ‘Notorious’.
It has been a couple of years since I watched this movie and although I was familiar with the ending, it still did not fail to glue me to the edge of my seat.

Volumes have been written about Hitchcock being a misogynist, but I think he is misunderstood. His women were strong and ahead of their time.
Like the character Alicia, excellently portrayed by Ingrid Bergman. I think the movie belonged to her. Never before and after has a Hitchcock movie been carried by a female protagonist as this one. As an American agent infiltrating into a German camp, we are drawn towards her. While on one hand she plays the part of a promiscuous woman on the other hand her love for the undercover FBI agent, Devlin (Cary Grant) is so palpable that we feel for her vulnerability.
The entire setting draws us into the kind of suspense least expected out of a espionage story – mind play. There is absolutely no violence of any sort, unless the violence of words counts!

Sample this:

Alicia: This is a very strange love affair.
Devlin: Why?
Alicia: Maybe the fact that you don't love me.

Alicia: What does the speedometer say?
Devlin: 65.
Alicia: I want to make it 80 and wipe that grin off your face.

Devlin: [bitterly, to Alicia] Dry your eyes, baby; it's out of character.

I wouldn’t do justice if I do not mention Claude Rains, a great actor who doesn’t need dialogue to act. His portrayal of a mama’s boy is not surprising given that this is a common thread in most Hitchcock movies.
The scene, where Alicia realizes that she has been caught and Rains and his mother
look at her implying that she has no escape from their clutches, is priceless.

If all this doesn’t attract you, maybe the notorious kissing scene of nearly 4 minutes between Grant and Bergman would do the trick.