Notorious (Hitchcock) [Blu-ray]
Tagline – The screen’s top romantic stars in a melodramatic masterpiece!
Starring – Cary Grant (T. R. Devlin), Ingrid Bergman (Alicia Huberman), Claude Rains (Alexander Sebastian), Louis Calhern (Paul Prescott).
Released – September, 1946
Directed By – Alfred Hitchcock
Produced By – RKO Radio Pictures, Vanguard Films
Distributed By – RKO Radio Pictures
Description – The conviction of her German father for treason against the United States has sent Alicia Huberman into a period of depression, alcohol, and men.
While hosting a large party, Alicia is approached by an uninvited guest. That guest is agent T. R. Devlin, and he asks Alicia to work for her government. Although Devlin disapproves of her self-destructive lifestyle he is confident in her feelings of patriotism toward America.
Government agent Devlin wants Alicia to infiltrate a group of her father’s Nazi friends who have relocated to Brazil after the war ended. At first Alicia refuses, but Devlin is able to convince her of the importance of her assistance and she agrees to accompany him to Rio de Janeiro where they will await further orders.
While waiting for the details of her assignment, Alicia and Devlin spend an enjoyable week that leads to romance. During this time she tells Devlin that she is a changed woman and, although he still has some doubts, he realizes that he is falling in love with Alicia.
Their bliss is short-lived as Devlin’s boss arrives with the details of her assignment. Putting his emotions aside, Devlin explains to Alicia that she is to seduce Alex Sebastian, one of her father’s friends and one of the Nazi groups leaders in an effort to find out what his war machine combine is manufacturing.
Devlin’s attitude of duty over love causes Alicia to believe that he was only pretending to love her as part of his job.
A meeting with Sebastian is planned and is made to look like an accidental meeting in a park. Alicia proves to be very good at her job as her flirtations with Sebastian encourage him to invite her to a dinner party at his home.
While there, Alicia witnesses an odd occurrence. Another guest, Emil Hupka, nervously gestures toward a wine bottle on a mantle and is immediately escorted from the room. After dinner, Sebastian and some of the other male guests discuss this incident and decide that Hupka must be “eliminated.”
That same evening, Sebastian’s interest in Alicia turns romantic. When Alicia reports the evening’s affairs, she tells Devlin ” you can add Sebastian’s name to my list of playmates.” Their relationship continues and Sebastian proposes marriage to Alicia. She tells Devlin of the proposal, in the hope that he will finally confess his true love for her. He does not.
Again choosing duty over love, Devlin tells Alicia to do what she wants. Hurt, Alicia accepts the proposal and she and Sebastian are married.
Returning from their honeymoon, Alicia now has access to Sebastian’s home, but finds nothing unusual except the keys to the property given to her have one key missing. That is the key to the large wine cellar. This key is kept by Alex.
Devlin instructs Alicia to throw a party and to get him the wine cellar key so that they can find out what is in the cellar while Alex and their guests are distracted by the party. Alicia carefully gets the key from Alex’s key chain and she and Devlin access the wine cellar.
Devlin accidentally breaks a wine bottle revealing, not wine, but a black sand inside the bottle. Devlin takes a sample, which later is discovered to be uranium. Alicia and Devlin leave the cellar just as Sebastian arrives for more champagne.
Suspicious, Sebastian later returns to the cellar and finds the broken bottle and spilled sand hidden under a wine rack. He now realizes that Devlin must be an agent and that Alicia is helping him.
This poses a set of problems for Alex. He must now silence Alicia and do so without his Nazi partners finding out about the security breach that he is responsible for.
There seems to be only one solution… Alicia must die without any suspicion on himself. It is decided that she will “die slowly” as a result of poisoning.
NOTABLE: Notorious received Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Claude Rains), and Best Writing, Original Screenplay.
In 2006, Notorious was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
Director Alfred Hitchcock has stated that the FBI had him under surveillance for three months due to the pictures dealings with uranium.
At the time of filming, the Motion Picture Production Code had a ban on a kiss lasting more than three seconds. To get around this rule, Hitchcock had Grant and Bergman engage in a two-and-half minute kiss that broke off every few seconds. The two stars would then whisper and embrace each other before beginning again.
Director Hitchcock and writer Ben Hecht consulted with Nobel Prize winner Dr. Robert Millikan on the making of an atomic bomb. While Dr. Millikan refused too detailed an answer, he did confirm that the principal component, uranium, would fit in a wine bottle.
After filming, Grant kept the “infamous” wine cellar key which he later gave to his close friend and co-star Ingrid Bergman for good luck. She would, decades later, present the same key to Alfred Hitchcock during a tribute to the great director. Hitchcock was both surprised and thrilled.