Notorious

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poster-notorious_02.jpg

Click here to link to a video of the scene referenced in this essay,

(1946, directed by Alfred Hitchcock)

- inducted 2017 –

“The most memorable scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 classic Notorious is this one: a long take where stars Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman kiss each other for two-and-a-half minutes all over a Rio de Janeiro apartment. It’s a scene that became quite notorious in its own right: Hitch went around the Production Code’s ban on kisses that went longer than three seconds by having their stars stop the nuzzling once in a while to talk, make a phone call, arrange a dinner date. Not only was it a ballsy, clever move on Hitchcock’s part, it’s also one of the most erotic moments ever committed to celluloid.

“When I first saw that movie and that scene over 20 years ago, I was taken aback by how, well, believable the scene was. Like anyone who has seen cinematic love stories, I was conditioned to believe that, whenever you see a movie with two romantic leads, you automatically assume that they’re crazy about each other. And, yet, even before I could fall in love my damn self, I already had seen way too many films where the leads who were supposed to be in love seemed like they barely tolerated each other, let alone want to be in a relationship with one another. Whether it was the preposterousness of the material or the lack of chemistry from the actors, most romantic movies I viewed were thoroughly unromantic.

“But Notorious stirred up hella-mad emotion in me when I caught it on cable late one night. Watching Grant and Bergman cover each other with deep, long, tender smooches made me convinced these two must’ve had something going on after Hitchcock yelled ‘Cut!’ But, alas, they didn’t – they were just that damn good. (Also, at the time, Bergman was having a torrid, torturous affair with war photographer Robert Capa.)

“That moment reminds you how passionately charged Notorious is at its core. It may be an espionage-fueled film noir, with Grant’s cynical G-man recruiting Bergman’s tormented daughter-of-a-Nazi-spy to infiltrate a Brazil-based crew of Nazis by getting close to one (Claude Rains), who just happens to be an old flame of hers. But no matter how suspenseful and intrigue-infested this movie gets, you’re always reminded that Notorious is about two people whose desire for each other is so palpable, so intense, so friggin’ sexy, they can’t hide it -- even when they’re in the company of gotdamn Nazis!”

~ Craig D. Lindsey

Principal cast: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Louis Calhern, Leopoldine Konstantin, Reinhold Schunzel, Moroni Olsen, Ivan Triesault, Alex Minotis, Wally Brown, Sir Charles Mendl, Ricardo Costa, Eberhard Krumschmidt, Fay Baker
Screenplay by Ben Hecht, with additional uncredited screenplay contributions by Alfred Hitchcock and Clifford Odets
Director of photography: Ted Tetzlaff
Art direction by Carroll Clark, Albert S. D’Agostino
Set decorations Claude Carpenter, Darrell Silvera
Gowns for Miss Ingrid Bergman by Edith Head
Film editing by Theron Warth
Original music by Roy Webb
Sound by Terry Kellum, John E. Tribby
Special effects by Paul Eagler, Vernon L. Walker
Makeup by Mel Berns (uncredited)
Based on the story “The Song of the Dragon” by John Taintor Foote (uncredited)
Produced by Alfred Hitchcock (uncredited)

USA
Duration: 101 minutes
Languages: English, French, Portuguese
Filmed in black and white
Sound mix: Mono (RCA Sound System)
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Produced and released in USA by RKO Radio Pictures
Premiered in New York City, New York, USA on 15 August 1946

Awards and honors:
- National Film Registry selection, 2006
- Selected as one of Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies,” 17 August 1997
- Cannes Film Festival, 1946: Grand Prize of the Festival (nominated)
- Academy Awards (USA), 1946: Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Claude Rains (nominated)
- Academy Awards (USA), 1946: Best Writing, Original Screenplay (nominated)