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Daily Dose #12: Why Do You Care How I Feel? (Early Scene from Notorious)

#Notorious #Hitchcock50 Ingrid Bergman Cary Grant

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#41 AmyV

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:19 PM

1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?

The cool angles & POV shots, such as the view of Cary Grant when he comes into the room and we see it from Ingrid Bergman's viewpoint, so that he is turned completely upside down as he talks to her.  The POV closeups of Bergman's character as she wakes up & sees the glass before her & is told to drink up by Cary Grant.  The use of shadows/light on Cary Grant, particularly, like when he is standing in shadow in the doorway.

 

2. How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene?

As mentioned above, having Grant in dark shadow, framed in the doorway at first.  The extreme closeup of Bergman early in the scene, giving us insight on how she feels at that moment - hungover, tired, groggy.  We get several closeups to moderate closeups on each of them here.  By the end of the scene, as she is confronted with her true feelings on the topic of patriotism and serving her country , they are finally standing closer together, the two of them rather framed together in the doorway.

What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock is trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography?

His suit seems very neat, precise - and dark. So, while he seems to be one of "the good guys," there is still some mystery there and/or a strictly-business attitude that prevents us from really, fully knowing him at this point - is he really as good as he is supposed to be?  Also, again, the mystery involved considering his very dark clothing.  Her outfit, on the other hand, seems more "fun," sparkly, a mix of light & dark - oh, and it seems to be the outfit she was wearing the night before.  So, not at all as put together as Cary Grant in the scene. 

 

3. Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas?

In this scene, I see a bit of both. There is conformity.  For Cary Grant, he is working with the good guys against the bad Germans; he is suave, fashionable, trying to get a person who is "on the fence" to do the right thing & help her country.  For Ingrid Bergman, despite the way her character seems, we learn she does love her country (U.S.) enough to refuse to help her father when he had tried to get her to work with some Germans against the U.S. Still, Bergman's character might also be something of a challenge, as she seems to initially be playing against the type we expect of her by apparently being a devil-may-care party girl whose father is a traitor.  And, back to Grant, he also seems colder & more business-like than we often see from him.

 


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#42 finfan

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:47 PM

3. Grant is playing close to type, his usual suave and debonair fellow, but this one has a lot of menace. In this scene, he stands over Alicia trying to make her drink the bromide. He continues to menace her in a polite way to get her to work for them - he wants something from her. Before this scene, he even punched her in the car so he could drive! Only Cary Grant could get away with punching Ingrid Bergman. This is like him pushing Katharine Hepburn down at the beginning of The Philadelphia Story. We like him so much, he gets away with it without us hating him.

 

Bergman is playing strongly against type as the slutty party girl. She usually plays so wholesome - even in Intermezzo when she is the other woman, she is forthright and healthy about it and is in no way the seductress. She is the muse for Paul Henreid in Casablanca and only had an affair with Rick because she thought her husband was dead. So even though she is deeply sensual, she always had ethics about it. You sense she doesn't even like herself at the beginning of Notorious.

 

Claude Rains is great, but the really creepy villain in this movie is Madame Constantin. She just makes your skin crawl in her scenes; she is so diabolical.


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#43 msmukmuk

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:01 PM

1&2  In this scene Hitchcock uses unique POV camera angles to introduce our two main characters. Initially we see Bergman through Cary Grant's perspective laying on the bed with a questionable glass of liquid. Next we see Grant through her view only its from what a hung over person in bed would see. grant is shown in an angled camera shot in a shadowy menacing manner.it would seem easy to jump to conclusions about these characters, but as Hitch would want it, things are never what they appear to be. These two characters seem to be total opposites but come together as partners in crime and love.

 

3) In Notorious, neither actor is type cast.As Devlin, Grant is suave, sophisticated like his Hollywood persona though there is a touch of coldness and an unforgiving tough guy image we have never scene him play.He is riveting. Bergman is very surprising as the drunk party girl, cop cursing socialite. It is a total change from the wholesome images we've seen in previous movies. I found it so interesting that Hitchcock slowly softens both characters for the breathtaking conclusion of this film.


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#44 spotter52

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 02:39 PM

After repeatedly watching (I love DVR's) Ingrid Bergman's upside down rotating POV shot of Cary Grant entering the bedroom I'm 99% sure this was achieved in an optical printer and not done in camera. The giveaways are the increased film grain and loss of contrast and sharpness as well as the too-smooth movement of the effect which would have been very difficult to do with the camera rigs of that time period. I imagine the shot was framed slightly wide so that it could be zoomed in and rotated in the optical printer to prevent the corners of the image showing as it rotated. The shot is still very clever and effective no matter how it was done.


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#45 dittietwin

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:06 PM

1.    What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?

Early on I see the the immediate close-up of Ingrid Berman; secondly, the angled camera scene on Cary Grant.  Hitchcock liked his close-ups on his leading ladies and the angled camera scenes were used in several of his movies.
 

2.    How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene? What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock  trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography?

 

The frame is angled on Cary Grant to make us feel the headachy hangover view that Ingrid is feeling and then there’s alot of play with light causing shadows; shadows on the characters (as Cary walks in he is dark and as he comes into the room he appears lighter in shade) and on the blinds from the wall.  Hitchcock is trying to tell us the time of day and the seriousness of Cary’s proposal to Ingrid because he shows the lights coming through the windows with Ingrid still in bed with her clothes on and Cary is clean shaven, hair combed and neatly dressed and very calm and purposeful in his stance making us feel that he is definitely in her room for a reason.
 

3.    Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas? 

 

I think Cary and Ingrid were very well cast for this movie, but along with Suspicion, this is one of the most serious devilish characters I have seen Cary play.  In between Suspicion and Notorious, Cary played a high intense comedic role in Arsenic and Old Lace which I liked very much and he had quite a bit of other light comedic roles under his belt by the time he made Notorious. I think this role for Cary was a nice challenge for him to play someone who is mean and cold. However, this role for Ingrid Bergman was not that much of a stretch for her as it seems very similar to her 1942 role in Casablanca…and her roles in Gaslight, For Whom the Bell Tolls and Spellbound, were all very dramatic parts for her.


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#46 Soonya

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 07:14 PM

  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?

As I would only know from listening to Professor Edwards, the spinning scene of Grant is similar to an earlier scene from an earlier English movie Hitchcock directed. Other touches could as just as easily in my mind be what typical American audiences want as quote unquote Hitchcock touches - well-dressed older man - beautiful young woman in bed. Man speaking briskly, unsympathetically to her and trying to get her to participate in something she apparently doesn’t wish to be involved in.

  1. How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene?What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock  trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography?

Initially, they both appear in a bit of soft focus. The Grant character is suave, sophisticated, well-dressed. The Bergman character is disheveled, hung-over, and still wearing yesterday’s garments. He is standing; she is lying down. He is in control - plays the audio results from the bugging of her home; she is initially refusing to get involved.

  1. Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas?

Again, I’m in the dark having never watched much of either star - I have a general understanding that they are popular, attractive, polished, well-liked stars. I understand that at the time, the public did not want to see their stars cast as villains and it seems that this clip establishes both as good, patriotic guys. I guess my own sensibilities are coming out a bit when I think the Ingrid Bergman character is too young for the Cary Grant character. I prefer the more equally yoked Mr. and Mrs. Smith.


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#47 aoohara

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 05:54 PM

I agree with Gehring in that this is a hard one to watch because of the angst and turmoil we feel for the relationships. I think that Hitch is at his best, creating real tension for us as a viewer because we have the information each of the principles are missing. I also appreciated the lecture info about the repeat POV shot...I think good artists, do not simply try a technique and then abandoned it....he is practicing, perfecting, revising. All marks of an artist dedicated to craft.

 

This film does push buttons with regards to the stars and their personas...but only so far. We are led believe Alicia is a party girl...but really down deep she's loyal...Dev is hard and even cruel, but down deep he's devoted. I love the pairing and for me this film is timeless. 

 

By the way....Claude Rains has one of THE best movie voices ever....right next to Paul Henreid. 


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#48 dan_quiterio

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 05:42 PM

There's something about watching Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman on screen that makes me feel warm inside. This scene in Notorious is no exception. The two characters portrayed by these acting heavyweights are depicted in contrasting ways--Alicia's hangover and sequined blouse convey a party girl, while Devlin's tailored suit indicates a man of business and class. Alicia is washed in light; what we see is what we get. Devlin, however, first appears in shadow--a classic Hitchcock "touch" that signifies a mysterious figure, perhaps with a secret. (The POV shot of Devlin spinning is another Hitchcock "touch" that potentially speaks to both characters: Alicia's hung-over frame of mind and Devlin's mysterious nature that could throw both characters' lives off-kilter.) The only thing that could potentially bring these two very different figures together is a job. While this scene depicts Grant as a debonair, sophisticated gent (true to his Hollywood persona), it does the opposite for Bergman, whose star persona was that of class, strength, and vulnerability--all at once. Alicia, however, appears unconcerned about sophistication and is weak in her love of drink.


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#49 Cscharre

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 03:18 PM

What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? The tilled camera shot of Grants enterance and the shot of Bergman listen to the record. The slow moving camera.

How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene?What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography? On Grant, straight forward and simple lighting making him look polished but not trustworthy. For Bergman, the lighting makes her look vulnerable and still beautiful.

Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas? As for Grant, he is rarely seen in a tshirt and jeans combination so this is typical Grant. However, the angles of shots Hitchcock puts him in, sets a menacing look to him. Bergman, has appeared in so many different period pieces that her persona was never defined. But she usually plays "not bad" women. The scene here shows her drunk with a hangover and in trouble with the law. Yep, so not her.
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#50 SallyRenne

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 07:32 AM

Notorious (1946), open scene with establishing low-key lighting shot of an opulent bedroom.  Dissolve to soft focus close-up of light-filled glass of juice in the forefront of a disheveled Alicia Huberman’s face smashed in a pillow, light reflecting off her curls.  Cut to Dutch angle shot with set lines and shadows centering a dark-suited Devlin in the doorway.   Camera pivots to cant Devlin’s horizon as he crosses to Alicia’s bed.  Cut to extreme close-up of Alicia, back to Devlin, dizzyingly tilted.  Touch of humor when Alicia discovers she’s sharing a bed with her detached chignon postiche.  

 

Devlin is a controlling, state department handler; Alicia, a vulnerable, tough-talking party girl, daughter of a Nazi collaborator.  In addition to how Hitchcock’s lights and frames them, he also costumes them to reflect and contrast their characters.  Devlin is dark lines and angles and immaculate; Alicia is light curves and contours and unkempt. 

 

Grant’s screen persona of a handsome, debonair man who was also funny appealed to all audiences.  But there is nothing funny about Hitchcock’s Devlin.  Devlin is not who the audience expects from Cary Grant.   

Bergman’s natural beauty contrasted with the Hollywood look of the time; audiences loved this sophisticated ingénue.  However, Hitchcock’s Alicia is unexpected; she is an undiscriminating party girl.  

Hitchcock’s actor choices and casting them against type, Grant’s seeming heartlessness and Bergman’s promiscuity, further manipulate the emotions of his viewers in a film fraught with anxious moments.


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#51 WadeWillsun

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 11:17 PM

A female 'victim' of either a hangover or something worse lays before us (German Expressionism), an upside down mystery man is offering drinks, it's a dark opening (Noir).

The audience is started in a virtual state of Vertigo and mystery (Hitchcockian), then it quickly begins to add up as these two no-nonsense characters duel in dialogue about the spy industry and their relations in it.

The takeaway to the recording was a Hitchcockian take away similar to when he makes secondary characters more prevalent in the scene. Like the Ski Lodge scene (You felt as if you were 'spying' on the couple talking as you watched them listen to her old conversation).

The lighting and camera angles put you in the female's perspective watching the well dressed man approach as you are left upside down with her. Messy and unprepared. And negative. 

​Her character is quickly defined in that bedroom by her appearance in that bed.

​So is his, by his suit and straight edge style.

​Then it gets deeper. Quickly as the spy world begins to open before your eyes.

​As her character becomes more intelligible, her look becomes more organized also.

I don't know either star well enough to say whether or not their roles conform or challenge their personal roles, but both are big names, they came in very strong, and even listened to themselves in a recording.

It seems to suit their 'audience draw' attention etc.

*I'd like to note the talk about patriotism may have been a personal strike against the US industry and the 'patriotism' underlying elements dragging on after the post war.

Possibly a personal commentary.

 

 



#52 LThorwald

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 10:11 PM

1. The very first shot, establishing the hungover Ingrid Bergman, cutting to the pov shot of Cary Grant, is a nice Hitchcock touch.  As Grant approaches the bed and they begin to talk, there is a bit more cutting than one normally sees in a Hitchcock film, and the two actors are not seen in the frame together.  This is a deliberate choice.  At this point, they are at odds with each other.  Then Hitchcock uses the brilliant shot at the end to bring them together.  Whether than cutting to them in a two shot, the camera focuses on the spot, and the actors walk into it.  Suddenly, they are bound together.

 

2.  Hitchcock photographs his two stars with a lot of medium close ups in the back and forth.  The framing starts out a bit disjointed as Ingrid Bergman is coming out of her drunken sleep, but when they are talking the camera forces all the viewer's attention on the two actors.  Cary Grant is dressed smartly in a well-tailored but unostentatious suit, which suits his characters straightforward manner.  Ingrid Bergman's top has just a few sequins that catch the light as she moves.  Her clothes are not fancy, but typical of a younger woman.  She even (shockingly) shows a bare midriff when she gets out of bed.  

This scene, as is the case with the rest of the film, features a strong group of technicians who all worked together to craft a near-perfect film.

 

3.  The casting is, in a word...perfect!  This is fairly early in both of their careers, although they were both certainly stars by this point.  I would say that Ingrid Bergman was Ingrid Bergman in every role; she had an essential quality that shone through no matter what role she was playing.  I can't think of another actress who could be both tough and vulnerable in the same role, or even in the same scene, as well as she could.  I do like the cute way she is using typical gangster lingo in the scene, almost a send up of gangster films, calling Grant a copper, and saying she's not a stool pigeon.

Grant is playing against type a little bit here, in that he is playing the part very straighforward, all business.  There is none of the detached amusement that is almost a Cary Grant trademark.  Of course, Grant's character will undergo a transformation later in the film as they grow closer together.  They have arguably the best on-screen chemistry of any Hitchcock couple.



#53 AaronF

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 08:38 PM

What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?

The use of light and shadow is well done, when Cary Grant appears in the doorway and you see the silhouette of him standing there it's a powerful moment. Hitchcock then uses the rotation of the camera to simulate Bergman's head rotating on the bed is a movement he has done in the past.

 

How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene?What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock  trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography?

In the opening scene, Bergman's character is lit up while Grant is in the shadows. The camera is tight on her as it's loose on him. They are set up as oppositions to me.

 

Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas?

I think they work well together, personally I think she is a stronger actor than Grant, he has good technique as an actor but she has more emotion and as more believable.


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#54 Craig0904

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 08:09 PM

What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?
 Of course, for starters, the POV shot of Grant coming towards her while she’s waking with a hangover.  The way the camera is rotating is dizzying! I had forgotten about the scene from Downhill.

The tracking shots that are becoming more and more apparent.  The extreme close-ups even when it means uncovering ‘unattractiveness’ when we see Bergman waking up drunk.  You could argue it’s the only way to peel back her layers to see what kind of person she is.

More and more I am noticing Hitchcock’s love of creating depth in a scene using hallways (or rooms, or sidewalks, etc.) as a vehicle.  In this scene, Grant is walking from one room to the next – the camera is still – it doesn’t follow along with Grant as he’s walking.  You get the sense that the space is actually being stretched in a 2-dimensional art form.   His films are gaining a more 3-dimensional character than they did with the very flat British talkies.  Another case of ‘depth’ was in Shadow of a Doubt in the beginning when the two detectives were following Joseph Cotten down the sidewalk – placing Cotten between the two but further along on the sidewalk.

The canted angle of the camera throws he audience off-balance for a moment giving a deeper sense of the character or the situation.

 

How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene?  What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography?

First, I noticed Bergman is filmed on her back in a similar way Teresa Wright was filmed on her bed In Shadow of a Doubt.   It leads me to believe the character is in the middle of some deep thought in the case of Wright, or in the case of Bergman (hangover aside) she’s sick and tired and doesn’t care. The character appears weak.  There’s a male character standing over each of them taking control (MacDonald Carey or Cary Grant).   For costuming, Bergman gets the dregs.   She’s still slumming in what she wore the night before.   Grant is dressed to perfection – crisp suit and tie.    She’s the rumpled party girl and he’s the starched and button-down government agent.

When watching this scene, it seems to me that Bergman is always just barely out of focus.   When the film cuts to Grant, the image is crisp.    That makes complete sense to me considering what is going on in the scene.

The shots go back and forth between the two, but they do not share the same space until the end of the clip.  When they are together, it’s not in an open room or sitting on a sofa.  Hitchcock has them squeezed into a doorframe.  They are pushed together uncomfortably by the set and the frame.  They are forced to deal with each other.

 

Based on this scene (or the entire film if the you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas?

The casting is perfection if we consider the 4 Functions:

1.    Grant and Bergman are huge stars and will attract an audience.

2.    Giving Grant or Bergman the glamour treatment with tons of close-ups is a dream job for a cinematographer.

3.    The audience’s perception of the actors is tremendously well-aligned to their roles.   Grant comes across as debonair and sophisticated, but with a darkness I don’t think his fans knew how to define.   Bergman is a beauty but earthy and approachable at the same time.  She can be glamourous when called upon but you sense she also has dirt under her fingernails. 

4.    I’m quite certain both them had their share of publicity at the time.   They were probably rarely out of the press (imagine if they had Facebook back then!)

It totally conforms to their public personas.   Grant is suited-up and flippant, humorous, and dark all at the same time.   Grant in real life was a pretty complicated man, and certainly had a darker side to him.

Bergman is the reluctant beauty.  In the film she is forced to use her looks and sexuality against her will and I think that in real life she probably was uncomfortable in the role of the glamour girl.   I am given to think in real life she was a free-spirit as well as an Earth-Mother.


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#55 Rainydaygirl

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 07:36 PM

I think Cary Grant works very well as a villian in Hitchcock's movies (or perceived villian). He can be menacing without being over-the-top which adds to the suspense of the plot using his character to make us wonder. What's interesting from what I have read is that Cary Grant looked at his 'persona' of CARY GRANT as a character unto itself. So, if you look at how he uses this persona in Hitchcock's films (debonair, sophisticated, man of the world) it works with how we look at Hitchcock's use of Film Noir for his own personal strategy for whatever film he is making. It is not the end product, but rather a means to Hitchcock's film product.  Cary Grant works as a Film Noir type villian in Hitchcock's films. If it was another film maker making these films with Cary Grant, I think he would seem out of place and not right for the roles. Hitchcock uses the complication of taking a screen idol, romantic lead and placing him in a different type of format and role which, I think, really strengthens the films Hitchcock made using Cary Grant. 

 

Ingrid Bergman has the styling that isn't fussy and allows her to be emotional without seeming insincere. Her ability to be soulful, playful and serious adds to Hitchcock's films that she stars in. I like how she is 'against type' with his later 'icy blond' starring actresses. There isn't any 'foolishness' with Bergman in her roles for Hitchcock. She plays a real, adult woman. Paring her with Cary Grant really is a great balancer. They work well together because they are different in their personas. That contrast sets up the scenes in the films for heightened emotion. 



#56 Pop Leibel

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 05:47 PM

Has any person in the history of mankind had better skin than Ingrid Bergman? Is it possible for a human being to have no pores whatsoever? I guess it is. Holy cripes that woman is gorgeous. I see a lot of noir in the camera work. Tilted, dark, and sinister images abound. Grant's terrific. He's one of my favorite actors. He's even better in 'North by Northwest.' I'm typing in large font because I can. Don't worry about it.



#57 pwest1962

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 05:28 PM

We see Bergman through a chair, then a close up of her disheveled body lying on the bed.  There is a glass of milky substance on the table next to her.  Suddenly, Grant appears in the door and tells her to drink it.  It is more of a command, really.  He walks toward her and Hitchcock changes the angle of the camera, in almost a 360, resolution as he makes his way across the room.  This shot causes the viewer to experience two emotions: can we trust grant and just how confused and disoriented Bergman's character is after a drunken stupor.  Disorientation will be a reoccurring theme in this movie as Bergman and Grant shift from hate, to love, to hate, to self-loathing, and back into love again.  

 

We know Grant is some kind of cop and Burgman hates cops because they, like her father, have destroyed her life.  His bosses want her for a job, but she wants no part.  Grant seems disgusted by her drunkenness and loose ways, but when he puts on the record which shows she would not help her father hurt America, he does smile.  So we get on the one hand, his disgust for her at first, and on the other, he knows she may be a mess, but loves her country.

 

Bergman stumbles from bed toward the door and listens to the record and watches Grant.  She is disgusted with him and herself.  Here we see the first hint costume will play a part in character development.  Bergman is wearing a top with horizontal lines which look like tiger stripes.  Grant is dressed up in a smart suit.  From outward appearances, Grant looks like he is all business, doesn't trust or care what this girl has to do because she is a drunk and a tramp.  Bergman looks the part and yet as she is listening to the record, we know some how she is a deeply wounded woman haunted by her father's fascism and her past.   

 

Frankly, Grant comes across as a jerk at the beginning of the film and acts like a jerk for most of the film.  I do not like him very much in this movie and that shows you what a great actor he was.  The way he treats Bergman after he gets her entrapped into helping our country is horrible.  He forces all the decisions, especially, the one about sleeping with Sabastion and then marrying him, on Bergman and hates her for it. Clothes don't always reveal the man or the woman. 


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#58 Krushing

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 05:03 PM

What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?

I loved the camera work. We see exactly what Bergman is seeing. She is in bed which is reminiscent of Mr and Mrs Smith. Grant has the goods on her in the form of a record player. This gives us insight as to who they are. Cary Grant is not above using some blackmail to get what he wants. Hitchcock is giving us information about the characters before he starts the action.

How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene?What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography?

Grant is in a dark suit. Bergman in a gown that is wrinkled from sleep and too much partying the night before. This gives up the impression that Cary Grant is very professional. It shows us that Hitchcock is trying to give us a character analysis first.

Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas?

A little bit. I don't think of Cary Grant as a possibly blackmailer but more of a romantic lead. Ingrid Bergman is a very classy lady. I don't think of her as a party girl.
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#59 CaseInPoint

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 05:00 PM

  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?  Clever use of lighting and the subtle touches of shadow to suggest a window, for example, in the bedroom -- more German Expressionist influence.  The POV shot of Bergman looking at Grant is amazing, ending up with a view of Grant upside down and showing the ceiling (which was likely very difficult to do on a sound stage!).  
     
  2. How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene?What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock  trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography?  As most have already noted, Grant is shown in black, usually associated with sinister or 'devilish' characters.  I particularly like the way Grant pronounces the character's name -- not as the usual two-syllable DEV-lin, but as three syllables -- DEVIL-in.  I am intrigued by the choice of the blouse with heavy black horizontal lines for Bergman.  The style, with what appear to be sequins for a bit of glitter, suggests something that a party girl might wear, yet the horizontal black lines also suggest what is sometimes associated with a prison uniform.  A woman imprisoned by her past, perhaps?  I may be way off, but it's an interesting thought.
     
  3. Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas? I think it's a mixed bag.  For Grant, I think the scene is a challenge, having appeared in what were essentially romantic or screwball comedies (The Philadelphia Story and His Girl Friday) and a dark comedy (Arsenic and Old Lace) prior to Notorious.  In the example scene, he comes across as cold, uncaring and controlling   Bergman, however, exhibits some of the vulnerable wholesomeness with a strength and fire just beneath the surface, as seen in her iconic Casablanca role.

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#60 mfederman

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 04:52 PM

1.     The Hitchcock “touch”  as stated in the video lecture, is the unique revisiting of the POV twirl shot as Grant’s character, Devlin approaches Alicia, Ingrid Bergman. The close up shots on her face are a lot like many other films, such as Mr. and Mrs. Smith when Lombard is in bed in the opening sequence. Though it’s not the opening sequence, it is classic Hitchcock in the set up of the characters, plot and suspense or mystery in a quick amount of time.  If you haven’t seen the film you would have to look up a plot summary to figure out what’s happening though.

 

2.     Love that Bergman is wearing what appears to be black and white stripes, alluding to her possible guilt. The light on her face sets up a wonderful frame with the negative space of the chair in the foreground (also possibly framing her behind bars?). In terms of character, we get the sense that even before we hear the recoding of her and her father, that Alicia is embittered and cynical about events in her life. Grant (Devlin) is pretty forcefully ordering her to drink from the glass and finish it. The introduction to Devlin is one of power even though he is upside down; low angle and totemic. The whole interaction between them is the tension of begging for a truth from Alicia, and though Devlin is verbally forceful, there is a calm in his demeanor. He cares.

3.     I think the film requires, as Hitchcock knew, the star quality. You have to buy into sympathizing with the characters. Grant was very good at playing serious roles like North by Northwest-convincing. Bergman seemed to stretch her on-screen dynamics with roles that broke out of the stereotype for her.  I can see Edith Head’s commentary on the costuming for Bergman is very true in that Alicia has to come across like a spy- not too glamorous and not to dumpy or commonplace.  


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: #Notorious, #Hitchcock50, Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant

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