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June 25, 2012

by John Farr

John Farr discusses one of his favorite Ingrid Bergman films.

Notorious (1946)

What It’s About:
At the end of World War 2, American intelligence officers are busy tracking Nazis who’ve escaped to South America. They approach Alicia Hubermann (Ingrid Bergman), daughter of a condemned Nazi spy, to use her feminine wiles to implicate more of her father’s colleagues, including Alex Sebastian (Rains), ringleader of a clandestine group which is up no good. Before her specific assignment gets disclosed, however, Alicia and American agent Devlin (Cary Grant) become romantically involved, complicating matters going forward.

Why I Love It:
With director Hitchcock at his most subtle and inspired, this brilliant nail-biter seems only to improve with each viewing. The story of a fallen woman-first redeemed by love, then put in peril- is riveting throughout, and stars Grant and Bergman emit powerful on-screen chemistry. Acting laurels also go to supporting player Rains, who’s never been smoother or slimier than here, playing a Nazi agent who falls for the wrong girl. Don’t miss the climax, which is nothing less than pure, understated genius.

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