After my last post, I was presented with a task: To reveal my review and opinion on my favorite movie Notorious.
Part of a comment I received, from Emily, was:
"Alexis: Have you ever written a review of Notorious, anywhere? I'd love to read your thoughts on it, as it's my favourite film!"
I know that on one of my blogs, I had discussed my love of Notorious, but I think it was on Seriously? and not here.
This 1946 Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece is my favorite piece of cinema ever created. The film truly won me over, for me to narrow this down, is a feat in itself. I love that someone mentioned it because not 4 minutes ago, I switched on the DVD player and sure enough, I'm watching the movie right now. Ingrid Bergman is WASTED and they're about to go for a drive. I love that she says "My car is outside." Then Cary Grant replies, "Naturally." Beautiful. I could probably pick this movie apart second by second. I could devote myself to every frame, every emotion, the actors, the writers, directors, footage, etc. So now I will take you on a ride, a joy ride through my love of Notorious. "I'm going to take it to 80 and wipe that grin off your face."
The first thing I would like to share with you is my paper I wrote for an application to Chapman University. The objective was to express why a certain film is your favorite film in 2 pages or less. I cheated and didn't double space, and tried to include whatever I could. This was probably the most difficult paper I have ever written. To try and make something that is 102 minutes and part of your heart, soul, and mind, and put it into two pages of 8.5"x11", not an easy task.
The second thing I would like to do would be to section off different parts of Notorious and really break them down. I'm going to analyze the movie... in the way that I was talking about in a previous paragraph. Maybe not moment by moment, but important moment by moment (we'll see how it goes and there's a chance you will learn every possible thought I have about each frame).
The 3rd thing, if I still have your attention, is I would LOVE to have everyone's input during these blogs. I want to know if you know different elements about Notorious, if you have a favorite part, if maybe a scene I mention brings feelings to your life, or whatever...if you totally hate it, tell me, I may stop, I may not... please, no curses (lets pretend the M.P.P.A.A. would be on you, like the would in 1946).
Hope you're still with me here... let's get started! :)
Here is the paper:
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 film, Notorious, is my favorite movie because it combines several elements that I admire. The film encompasses the essence of post-war era film, stars Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant, director Alfred Hitchcock, and a clever resistance to the production codes of the time.
In Notorious, Ingrid Bergman plays the part of Alicia Huberman, a woman with loose morals who we first see as promiscuous, drunk, and cynical. Whether it is for her ravishing looks, outlandish partying, or deceitful father, Alicia is the center of attention. This character is a prime example of the female Gothic character (a victim as well as victimizing woman) found within post-war film noir. She is wronged by men (particularly her romantic partners in the movie, T.R. Devlin played by Cary Grant, and Alexander Sebastian, played by Claude Raines) and society (the United States C.I.A. as well as the Germans in
Cary Grant depicts T.R. Devlin, a mysterious, handsome C.I.A. agent whose first name is never revealed. He brings a sense of humor to the picture that is not at all flighty; it is dark and sometimes shrewd. Devlin acts as the perfect juxtaposition to Alicia’s character. He is supposed to be a man of high morals, a government worker, who follows and uses the rules to their full potential. He is smart and uptight but a romantic when the mood calls for it. His character appears at first, in a film noir fashion, as a black silhouette. He does not reveal his name for quite a while and he is very quiet. I fall in love with this character every time I watch the film. He says most of my favorite lines, including “Dry your eyes baby, it’s out of character.” and when Alicia tells Devlin, “My car is outside,” he simply responds with “Naturally.” Devlin is statuesque in contrast to Alicia’s fluidity. He says so little yet says exactly what he means and exactly what she wants to hear. Devlin is Alicia’s “dream man” and though he (and the audience) has to wait to take her away from her old life, he ends up satisfying her dream of a life of “daisies and buttercups.”
Notorious finds a new genre of drama and humor for Cary Grant, outside of his classic screwball comedy films such as Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, and Arsenic and Old Lace. Both Grant and Ingrid Bergman played characters that were contrary to their public images at the time. In 1946 Cary Grant was seen as a happy-go-lucky kind of guy and the life of every party. in her early career, Bergman was seen as “saint-like” (at the time) due to her previous work in The Bells of Saint Mary’s,
Hitchcock presents several shots which I especially admire. When Alicia is in bed nursing a nasty hangover there is a camera angle that throws off equilibrium with a rotating, first person point of view shot. It attains empathetic, claustrophobic, and nauseating feelings, provided by the character and for the audience. There is a shot on the plane, when Devlin says “…we’re coming into
Hitchcock’s cunning manipulation of the production code is something I consider very admirable. He found loopholes everywhere regarding morality codes and post-war sentiment, and most famously a kissing scene. The film writer, Ben Hecht, and he created lines that subtly questioned the pro-American ideals of the time such as: “No thank you. I don’t go for patriotism…waving the flag with one hand and picking pockets with the other. That’s your patriotism.” They cleverly created a movie completely about Nazism and international affairs without ever uttering the word “Nazi.” Also, they defied moral standards by working their way around the rules. The three-second kissing standard made by the Production Code Administration was contrived into a three-minute scene where Bergman and Grant nuzzled and cuddled with a kiss here and there. The kiss was awkward for the actors to shoot, but beautiful to watch. All of these elements combine for a cinematic masterpiece and my favorite film of all time.