Dr. Rich Edwards

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

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Today's Daily Dose is an early scene from Notorious (1946). 

Watch the scene over at the Canvas course site, and come back here to share your insights with a special focus on the film's two biggest stars, Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.

 

As it is Noir Crossover Week, you can also discuss what these two stars contribute to the noir style in what has come to be recognized as a classic film noir. 

 

Here are three questions to get you started: 
 

  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?
     
  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?
     
  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? 
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  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?
     Close-ups, the lighting of the drink, use of the door as a cinematic frame, the skewed angle shot that revolves around, economy/unity of place. 
  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?
    Soft focus & high-key lighting for Bergman to give her a glowing, flawless look. Close-ups. Grant has more moderate lighting with higher contrast, giving him a harder look.
    Grant's dark suit is impeccable, almost a character in its own right. His hair is perfect. Named Devlin, the phrase "handsome devil" comes to mind. Bergman is a bit rumpled and messy, even somewhat frowzy-haired. Her party clothes have been slept in and the top appears sequinned with horizontal stripes, as if it were a party dress for a prison ball.
    They both get closeups, but hers are with her reclining, either diagonal or horizontal for the majority of the scene. She lives in the bed? Do we know any professions like that? By contrast, Grant is never seated, standing the entire time, a "stand-up guy"?
  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 some ways it challenges them. This is Grant as not so likeable, even something of a tight-**** heel, bloodless. His arc is to move toward being human. I'd say this is moderately against type, and not played for comedy, as in Father Goose.
Bergman is also somewhat against type, less so than Grant, because she's still a vunerable woman caught up in men and circumstances beyond her control. But really, she's a tramp seeking redemptive love to purify her. Shes' a bad girl that loves America.

At my most pedantic, I could cast this as a kind of male-female version of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, the story of them becoming human together. But that is really stretching it . . .

 

 

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  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?                     The camera is telling us how she feels, she feels awful and almost hung over with the moving of the camera
  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?  Grant is in light and Bergman is in dark shadow...when Grant puts on the record we see Bergman walk out of her room into the light...like she is hearing the truth for the first time.

     

  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?  This is Grants second film with Hitchcock and this is Bergman's first film with Hitch (her second will be Spellbound) in Suspicion is almost marketed as a man who wants to kill his wife (a bit risky for those days for a well known and loved star) and this film was not
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1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?

 

The stunning B&W photography, the angles, the closeups of the stars Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant, the witty sophisticated dialogue between them. The action and plot builds informing us where the film is headed. The masterful assemblage of the elements is all course for Hitchcock touches. Hard to pick one when you have the best everything not including Claude Rains in the scene. Another great lecture day. Look forward to tweets on the movies etc.

 

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?

 

For my money the shadows and light photography with particular attention to how the characters are in Shadow or not are outstanding examples of film noir photography and it even ramps up the more you watch. Top notch Hitch...

 

The marriage of elements is staggering to art film enthusiasts. Could mention the wardrobe and the set dec, and the music, and the dialogue, and the pacing, and the camera movement, and choice to juxtapose various angle and special differentiation at low and high angles including the choice to cast shadow and light on both subjects. They all dance in scene and movie very effectively. Citizen Kane had competition...

 

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 the casting was pretty good with the stars in Notorious and have seen it before (on the big screen as well!) The hard thing to imagine now would be to recast or see it remade. No one dare remake this or Shadow of a doubt without challenging the textbook examples of cinema perfection. Van Sant tried to capture the genius of Psycho but unsure how close he got. Hitch even remade his own film The Man Who Knew Too Much but there are some things that go well together and in this case between Grant, Bergman, and Rains you had lightening in a bottle as they say. I think it's safe to say people know these stars without even knowing their performances in Notorious or Casablanca. Today's lecture makes me want to get my hands on Universal's 'The Invisible Man' with Rains

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  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? -- Shadow, of course, though the focus on the set is diminished and given more on the two characters present, who are played as shadow and light.

     

  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 awakening of Ingrid's character to her situation and the uncomfortable path she will need to follow is hinted at in this scene; as is the character of Devlin - is he good or bad? The devil or the saint?

     

  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? -- The scene challenge's Grant's followers because he appears to be reciting his lines soto - however, the humor appears in his tone toward the end of his narration and, of course, by the end of the scene, his eyes are alight with mischief, which allows me, one of his fans, to know he's going to win and is one of the good guys... how he will accomplish this has peaked my interest.
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What I find most striking is that when these two characters are introduced, they are hidden: Bergman's face hidden behind the glass, and Grant hidden in shadow, framed in the doorway. As they become physically closer, Grant approaching her, he comes into the light, and she out from behind the glass. While they exchange dialogue prior to this, it's not until they come close together that they (and the audience) really "see" each other.

 

He is dressed sharp and she unkempt, he trying to revive her from her previous night's drunken stupor. This is almost a foreshadowing of the who's-trying-to-save-who volley that we see throughout the rest of the film.

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Boy, I don't think I have seen a better hangover shot ever in a film. There is Hitchcock's point of view shots, the shadowy figure at the door and the camera angle of the first scene that screams Hitchcock.

Once again we have refined well-dressed man in charge of the situation and Ingrid is dressed for the party on the beach. The hairpiece she finds in the bed was hilarious and I had never noticed that before.

 

I love Casa Blanca and Ingrid Bergman and the focus is totally on them, and they are great together.

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I think the casting of Bergman and Grant in #Notorious confirms and challenges their movie personas; we reflexively like them because of their glamour and fame, so we’re willing to go with them on what for both is a darker journey. For a good portion of the film, I really can't stand Grant's arrogance and contempt for Bergman's character (I'm pulling for her the whole time though), but it all makes sense in the end.

 

The movie is so complex: the Bergman and Grant characters are damaged from the beginning and it seems they both need to hit bottom before they can realize their true feeling for each other. 

 

Going into the film liking Bergman and Grant as personalities gets you emotionally involved with them both from the beginning.

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

 

The use of light and shadows, also angles (especially that pov tumbling shot of Devlin as he approaches the bed).

 

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 scene starts with film noir style with shadows and light. Both characters are partially hidden. Hitchcock sets up the contrast between the characters by having one hungover, agitated and still in last night's clothes while the other is professional, well dressed and to the point.

 

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 believe this scene (film) confirms their personas. Both are incredible in the film (Rains too!) and the scene sets up the cat and mouse interplay between the two that runs through the film.

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I love this film.

 

1. My favorite part of this scene and the scenes before it is Ingrid's dress. I love the fashion in the movies, especially the 30's and 40's films and that dress is fantastic. Hitch used Edith Head a lot for costume design and she was the best. That was a Hitchcock touch I think that is overlooked.

 

2. Costume again is very important here. Grant with the suit and the party girl with that striped dress.

 

3. Star Power is huge in this film and this is one of Hitchcock's best films by far. It has everything. I think it gets lost on Hitchcock's list because it's in black and white and isn't in that sweet spot from Rear Window to Psycho. This is his greatest film of his early American period.

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1) Hitchcock has always used lighting to empahasize a scene. In this scene, Grant emerges from the shadows of the door frame and and spins around in the shot as the POV of Bergman shows the complexity of awaking from a hangover. As they stand together later in the scene, the same angular light/shadows from windows are seen in the background.

 

2) The initial lighting of Grant in the doorway creates the impression of a man in charge. In contrast, the dim lighting of Bergman in bed creates the feeling of pain/illness. The business attire of the Grant character greatly contrasts the party dress that Bergman in wearing. I also note that when she gets out bed, her midriff is showing as she is not wearing the complete ensemble, she then appears again and you can see that she has put on the element of the costume that was missing to make her more "decent" in the eyes of Grant.

 

3) It has been a long time since I have seen the film, however, I will be watching it later today on DVD. Although Cary Grant is known for comedy, he also has a large number of serious films in his repertoire, which makes casting him in this film perfect as the shadowy spy. HE is far more serious in this scene than in the movie Suspicion where he is more carefree, a typical role for him. However, it is obvious that this can work in the film as he can provide the serious and debonair side without falling into the light-hearted. In contrast Bergman is perfect in this scene and I am sure in the entire movie as she is a serious actor who can play the role with intuition and strength. Hitchcock directs her very well in establishing the "femme fatale" role.

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

     

    See question #2. The lighting, framing, and camera angles/movement are recognizable to me (now, but not at the start of this course) as Hitchcockian. Other Hitchcockian touches: introducing his main characters at the very start of the movie, a cluttered room (the bedroom in this example), and the fast pace (a modicum of dialogue establishes the back story for the film and suggests the direction in which the story will arc). 

     

    ​Also, and this will never appear on any official list of Hitchcock "touches," but one of his "touches" from my personal point of view is that at least one scene in each of his movies contains an object that is unfamiliar to me or a reference to something that is new to me. In this clip, it is Ingrid's hair ornament which we see under her when she sits up in bed (thanks to SueBBq for identifying what it was). I was wondering if it was an ice pack or maybe a hot water bottle, or even a neck support, but I really had no idea. 

     

  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?

     

    In lighting Bergman, she appears to be in softer focus than Grant, and in the beginning, she is in shadows from which she gradually emerges as she sobers up and gets out of bed and joins Grant in the next room. The framing is very interesting. Grant first appears well-lit, in sharp focus, framed by a doorway and in a tilted-angle shot that does a 180 degree turn as we see him approach the bed from Bergman's POV. Bergman first appears with her face partially hidden by a glass containing liquid that I assume is some sort of hangover remedy. As for costuming, Grant looks sharp in his suit and tie, with every finely-combed and brilliantined hair in place, whereas Bergman is frowzily dressed like an unmade bed, with a large strand of hair stuck in the corner of her mouth. He appears to be in control, while she appears to be unfocused and vulnerable. The cinematography is dominated by close-up shots, which allow us to see subtle emotions and to identify more closely with the two stars. I don't know what to say about the art direction, as I am still learning about this area of film-making.

     

     

  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? 

     

    ​Challenges it. In this scene, Grant seems more alpha-male dominating than his usual screen persona, and his usual flair for humor and witty repartee is not in evidence. Bergman as a party girl is a persona I have not seen in her other movies, where she always seems to be a healthy and wholesome "good girl."

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

     

    • The spiraling camera work was done before, as noted in the Lecture video.

       

    • There is an interesting, if brief, focus on the glass which predicts the famous stairway sequence in Suspicion. The liquid is cloudy and mysteriously lit. In Suspicion, there is a -- well, suspicion that the glass contains poision. In Notorious she is actually poisoned.

     

  2. Long tracking shots, such as when Grant leaves the bedroom are a Hitchcock touch.

 

 

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 very end of the clip frames Grant and Bergman in the doorway, with the bedroom in the background. The light on the bedroom wall visually picks up the striped motif of her dress and connects it to Grant. Grant's suit is almost severe in its sharp black and white. The lapels of his shirt are almost daggers pointing at her. This mirrors the sharpness and directness with which he deals with her in the dialogue. The stripes on Bergman's dress are evenly spaced but, in a nice touch, are not ordered - they are chaotic in how they cross her body. Her hair is disheveled, but not too much so. This suggests her state of mind as one that is volatile and a bit muddy.

     

 

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 can't speak to Bergman, but with Cary Grant, we have an actor who has a very well known brand as a versatile actor with no trouble whatever indulging in lighter fare, or even comic scenes. Within the context of the scene above, we would never consider Grant to be a severe character, but the way the dialogue runs and the costuming in this scene run counter to our expectations from him. Given Hitchcock's statement that 'casting is characterization', there seems to be a concious effort to subvert our expectations and leave us unsettled.

     

 

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

We see foreshadowing in this scene. Devlin (Devlish? Because he does kind of be-devil Alicia in this film-sometimes loving, sometimes not) tells her she'd better drink the hangover remedy, and later Claude Rains character tells her to drink the poisoned milk.

 

 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?

 

We have Devlin in shadow. We don't know if he's "good" or "bad" - Does he mean her well, or harm? When e do see him, we realize he wants something from her. Bergman is fully lit - We know who she is - She partied hard the night before, and while she claims she doesn't go in for patriotism, we soon learn that is not the case. 

 

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? 

Grant is cool and cruel to her after he finds out that she has to marry Claude Rains, and of course sleep with him, and when she is ill from poison, he believes she is drinking again. This cruelty is something we don't usually see in his films. Ingrid is strong throughout her "job" and she loves Grant through it all. When we first meet her, no her drunken character is not in keeping with her star persona, but during her time with Rains, she is glamorous and the perfect cultured woman. 

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Hello, I'm a little late to the party (this is my first post for this course).  After watching the Daily Dose of "Notorious", I'm questioning myself as to why, being a Cary Grant fan and also an Alfred Hitchcock fan, I have never seen this film!  I can't wait to watch this for the first time.

The angled camera shots are a dead giveaway to identifying the Hitchcock touch.  I also like his use of shadows.  One small detail I noticed - and based on Drs. Edwards' and Gehring's conversations, I don't think it's coincidental - was the sound of a train in the distance.  We've learned throughout this course so far that Hitchcock loved trains (as do I).  Not having seen the film yet I wonder if it is relevant to the plot - I will be watching for it!

 

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From this early scene, the Hitchcock touch that I most see is an ordinary person caught up in unforeseen circumstances. Alicia's father was a German sympathizer and agent but she herself was not involved with his activities. By virtue of their relationship, she now finds herself being asked to become involved in a major operation to track Germans in Brazil after the war. With no training or preparation, she now has to just rely on her own wits in a dangerous situation. 

 

The photography and direction that I saw in this scene is that the two characters remain separate throughout the scene until the end to show their opposition to one another. She is strongly against him after she learns that he is a federal agent and he seems only reluctant to work with her. After he plays to recording, reminding her of her desire to do the right thing, the two are then photographed together, seemingly showing their impending partnership.

 

I do not believe that this film challenges the star personas of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman because they had already played roles with similar drama prior to Notorious. Cary Grant plays a hard-boiled federal agent with little compassion, and even though he is good as a comedic actor, he had played emotionless, even heartless, characters before. And Ingrid Bergman had played a similar role in Casablanca, when it was found out that she was the wife of another man after having fallen in love with Humphrey Bogart. 

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

 

Calculated placement of props and characters to evoke a mise-en-scene and to support his objectives in character and plot development.

 

Camera movement is un-orthodox, innovative as it attempts to create a unique point of view.

 

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?

 

Contrast created with female character portrayed as a hot mess, while male character appears to be in control of his wits, emerging into frame from a silo.

 

Female is disheveled and apparently hung over, male is put together with style and polish. Camera rotates to imitate the point of view of female on bed as male enters her personal space.

 

      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? 

 

      According to the lecture notes, Bergman was “The” star leading lady of the day. Her                   casting appears to be a no brainer in order to produce a great film product as well as                 reduce any risk of delivering a film nobody wanted to see. As far as Grant, he is always a         respectable leading man. I am not Grant’s biggest fan but do respect his work. IMO, this           scene is a prototype of the “branding” that he is known for as far as the films I have seen         him in. Bergman shows a side of her that is more reckless, undisciplined in this scene.

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

 

Using the camera to show the POV of the characters — drunken Alicia awakening to see Devlin, rotating through his entrance until he’s upside-down.

 

Close-up of Alicia’s face as an intro… and just staying there for a while.

 

Lushness of surroundings, even though the scene is quite homey.

 

Use of shadows and light. Devlin is a darkened figure in the doorway against the bright backdrop of the room behind him. He looks menacing, but isn’t; just to Alicia at the moment.

 

Equal weight of time/focus/lines given to male and female characters/actors.

 

Characters are well-dressed and sophisticated, which signifies their place in the world, interests.

 

Use of modern technology (phonograph)… with a close-up on the record player as though it is a character in this scene — speaking on behalf of Alicia and her father.

 

Use of silence as a natural pause in conversation as the record plays. No one feels the need to talk, talk, talk to convey emotion or advance the story.

 

Camera doesn’t dart from person to person constantly. Instead, they stand together and are able to use facial expressions as a means of communication. Reveals a sense of unavoidable closeness between the characters.

 

 

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?

 

Alicia has a black-and-white striped top on — references light vs. dark; good vs. evil; sideways view of prison-wear; reminiscent also as an animal (zebra/tiger) print, hinting at a wild nature.

 

Devlin is in classic black and white… a more balance, contained, approved sense of right and wrong. Maybe a bit rigid, too, though. No room for gray area.

 

Blanket looks soft and sumptuous showing a love of texture and comfort.

 

Use of shadows to make some images feel bigger than they actually are (see Devlin as he’s putting the record on the turntable) — sense of foreboding for Alicia.

 

Criss-cross “X” shadows on the wall from the shape of the shelf above the record player. “X” = 10 (?); Also “X” = kisses. Crossing out the past? Crossing out the negative? Etc.

 

Focusing the camera on the turntable needle, watching the record begin to spin, tells us there’s something important captured there (BTW, scary that she was recorded for 3 months without her knowledge). Maybe life spinning out of control.

 

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?

 

The movie uses Ingrid’s innate beauty and quiet, intense sense of longing to easily wrap you into Alicia's internal struggle… the heart-wrenching and heartbreaking feeling of being in love with someone who you *think* isn’t in love with you. That feeling that you would do anything for them, foregoing your own happiness… and then wind up in the depths of despair because not only do you not have a life with the one you love, but you have subjected yourself to a life with someone you do not love… and who, in fact, ultimately means you harm.

 

Likewise, Cary’s posh, manly sense of playful, witty and devastating authority over his own behavior, and his judgment of others’ behavior, lends itself to the role of a man who is trying to do his job to the best of his ability, while falling in love with what seems to be the “wrong” kind of woman, while punishing himself for falling in love with her (requesting a different assignment), while not being able to contain his passion for Alicia… or his sense of wanting to protect her because, after all, she really is vulnerable. Trying to find a way to believe her. But also throwing caution to the wind.

 

This scene in particular presents Ingrid/Alicia as someone who takes chances but maybe because she’s seen bad things and doesn’t know how to deal with them so she lives life carelessly due to an underlying unhappiness. Meanwhile, Cary/Devlin is the straight-laced morality checkpoint for her with his straight, put-together suit that seems stiff and unyielding. Potentially, like his love for her.

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

 

There are several Hitchcock touches in this early scene. For example, the interesting camera angles, specifically when Cary Grant is entering the room. Second, there is a lot of use of light and shadow. You also have the telling conversation between the two main characters.

 

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?

 

At first, Cary Grant is in the light, while Ingrid Bergman is in the shadow. We also see Cary Grant speaking from the front, while we're looking at the side or back of Ingrid Bergman's head for a lot of this scene. Cary Grant is, as always, impeccably dressed in a dark suit, while Ingrid Bergman is rumpled in this scene. These contrasts make us think that Cary Grant is professional and serious, while Ingrid Bergman is less so.

 

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 a lot of ways I believe this scene challenges their personas. In previous films, Cary Grant was a lighthearted character, more of a playboy (Suspicion, His Girl Friday, Arsenic and Old Lace, and The Philadelphia Story come to mind). Ingrid Bergman seemed to be more wholesome. In this film, their previous personas are almost reversed. 

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(1) In Notorious, as is often the case with Hitchcock, the viewer is thrown right into the thick of the story right off the bat.  Another Hitchcock touch is the creative camera angles, which in this scene include a POV (from Alicia’s perspective) with a rotating tilt.  In addition, Alicia—though she doesn’t seem to be an "ordinary" character—is being thrown into an extraordinary circumstance, and extraordinary circumstances are common in Hitchcock films.

 

(2) I think the costuming in Notorious denotes an element of glamour/style/sophistication to both characters.  Devlin is in a suit, and Alicia is in her eveningwear from the previous night.  What’s not glamourous, however, is that Alicia had passed out drunk in last night’s clothing.  Devlin is initially obscured by shadows, and when he approaches Alicia, he casts a shadow on her.  I think this foreshadows the danger Alicia will be in if she accepts Devlin’s mission. 

 

A key shot in this scene involves Alicia is lying on the bed with her face obscured by the glass containing the hangover remedy.  This shot suggests that she has something to hide.  Is her secret that which drives her to drink?  Likely so.  Furthermore, Devlin is standing throughout the entire scene, which puts him above Alicia most of the time.  (She is in bed for a much of the scene.)  Perhaps this signifies that Devlin is the more powerful of the two of them.  Toward the end of the scene, Alicia emerges from the bedroom, now on her feet, framed by the bedroom doorway.  She is rising to the occasion of the mission Devlin is proposing.

 

(3) Based on this scene alone, I would not say that Cary Grant’s persona is being challenged.  As Devlin, he is suave and debonair—typical Grant.  However, there is an aura of mystery around him.  It is not clear that Devlin and Alicia will be romantically linked at this point, but one can assume based on Grant’s frequent casting as romantic lead.  Bergman maintains her European allure and sensibility as Alicia.  She comes across as self-sacrificing and inherently good, both qualities that I associate with Bergman as Ilsa in Casablanca.  Therefore, in my opinion, this scene conforms to Bergman’s persona as well.

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1.  The Hitchcock touches in this scene from Notorious iclude the introduction of two characters a man and a woman suggesting some sexual tension even this early in the film.  The use of two Hollywood stars in a film with an underlying spy or espionage plot which will more importantly evolve into a story of romantic entaglement.  The use of technological skill to bring the audience into the world/minds of the characters (POV shots, lighting, camera moving us from one room to the other along with the actors).

 

2. The contrast between the characters is clearly evident:

 

The women is lying in bed, everything about this frame is dishevelled, the covers, her hair, she is hanging over the bed. We know she'd been drinking the night before.  Then the POV shot of the man entering the room, she sees him from her vantage point, upside down, spinning, nothing about her at this point seems in control or centered.  Despite all of this she is very beautiful, vulnerable, the lighting is soft she appears unsure though she does challenge the man.   The man on the other hand, impecably dressed, in control, sardonic, his arms are folded suggesting containment. He has probable been up for hours.   She calls him a cop and that is how he comes across.  When she gets out of the bed she is still wearing what she wore the night before, a casual "party dress".  He is standing there without a hair out of place.  The cinematographer moves us from one room to another keeping the audience engaged in the actions between the two characters, effectively using the shadow and light in each of the rooms. All of these elements give us insight to the characters and the potential for conflict and attraction.

 

3. Ingrid Bergman was made for this role.  She has a most expressive face conveying emotion and vulnerabilty.  It is subtle and very effective in engaging the audience even when she is in a role that might otherwise be unsympathetic.  Cary Grant was great in this role but I find it would have been more of a stretch for him based on his previous work.  His forte has always been light comedy, farce, usually very likable characters.  In this film he must remain reserved, contained, cynical which makes his portrayal of Devlin all the more impressive.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

There two major things that I see in this scene: first, the use of light and dark as Cary Grant emerges from the darkness and then secondly, the camera angle as Grant crosses the room and Ingrid Bergman's point of view changes.

 

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 lighting of the scene casts Cary Grant into a dark shadow which does convey the idea of a spy. Ingrid Bergman is held in brighter light yet her character becomes the spy, the one who really is hiding in the shadows. I love the way she nearly spits the word patriot yet Grant shows her that she truly does love the country and hated what her father stood for.

 

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 don't think these rules challenge their well-known personas as stars. It's true that though G.rant was comedy star in the 30s he became more during the 40s I remember him as the submarine captain who wasa hard leader. And I always think of Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca in this film she still portrays the same young vulnerable heroine.

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

     

    ​​I would imagine the "hang-over" scene early in NOTORIOUS posed something of a problem for Hitchcock: "How do I make Ingrid Bergman look hung-over?" "How do I make the audience believe ​that this exquisitely beautiful woman could ever look bad?"

    ​For starters, Hitchcock has her hair mussed, as it would be for anyone who's just waking up after a night of too much booze. To keep the viewer from--once again--being just dazzled by her beauty, Hitchcock obscures a portion of her face with the glass of bicarbonate of soda. This visual information confirms that she is, in fact, hung-over. So far, this is a silent movie, something Hitchcock mastered twenty years earlier--and it's something I most appreciate about his films: his movies are never "talky." He lets the camera, sometimes for long stretches, tell us everything we need to know--with absolutely no dialog.

     

    No dialog--that is, until "Devlin"/Cary Grant speaks over this shot the off-screen line "You better drink that!"

     

    ​Only then does the camera cut from Bergman and we find "Devlin" silhouetted, standing, arms crossed, in the doorway. The shot is tilted diagonally. We're seeing Grant through Bergman's eyes. This canted shot, of course, was something used frequently in German Expressionism, something Hitchcock was exposed to when, in 1924, he worked at Berlin's UFA studios. Directing on a neighboring set was the great German filmmaker F. W. Murnau who was making his masterpiece of silent cinema THE LAST LAUGH. Two years earlier, Murnau had used such expressionistic, slanted shots in his silent vampire classic NOSFERATU.

     

    ​As Grant walks across the room, we continue seeing him through Bergman's POV. By the time Hitchcock cuts away from this rotating shot back to Bergman, Grant is almost completely upside down within the frame. 

     

    But Hitchcock isn't "plagiarizing" Murnau. He himself had used the camera in a similar manner. As professors Edwards and Gehring pointed out in the lecture video, Hitchcock had used a similar shot of Ivor Novello in the silent DOWNHILL (1927).

     

    Hitchcock isn't lazily repeating himself, or lazily "cannibalizing" his earlier work. By the time he directed NOTORIOUS in 1946, he had mastered the language of film, the language of the camera; that is, the various ways the camera can be used to convey a mood or a character's perception. 

     

    In NOTORIOUS, Hitchcock is simply employing such an angled shot in order that we see Grant through Bergman's bleary, morning-after eyes.

     

    ​Hitchcock uses one of his signature touches of humor in this sequence. When Bergman finally manages to prop herself on one elbow, she realizes her hairpiece has fallen off. It just sort of lies there on the bed like some dead animal. She stares at it. We almost want to laugh but because of the hang-over agony she's suffering--and who can't identify with that?--we feel for her. She's vulnerable, a human being. 

     

    ​The lighting of Grant in the doorway is perfect--and true. Because he's facing the interior of Bergman's darkened room, and because the room behind him is well-lit, Grant is cast in almost complete silhouette. This gives the shot an almost ominous feel. But, then, we're seeing Grant through the eyes of someone who is waking up, "coming to," not knowing exactly where she is after too few hours of drunken sleep. 

     

     

  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?

     

    ​While "Alicia" (Bergman) was born in America--and loves America--her father as the film opens is already a convicted Nazi spy. Considering the movie was released in the first months after World War II, Hitchcock wants us to empathize with her complicated predicament. To elicit our empathy--and to allow his camera to show Alicia's internal agony--Hitchcock gives us many close-ups of Bergman throughout NOTORIOUS. But it's not just her beauty that he's putting on screen. He's putting her ability to convey complicated emotions up there, too. 

     

    ​NOTORIOUS is a rollercoaster of a romance. She's not sure Grant isn't feigning love for her just to get her to help the U.S. government nab a nest of Nazis in Rio de Janeiro. But we know they are in love. Hitchcock's tight-shot camera makes this explicit, putting them in beautifully framed 2-shots, embracing, kissing, talking, kissing, talking--and kissing some more. It seems certain that those intimate scenes were extremely "hot" in 1946--because...well...they still are!

     

    ​Bergman and Grant could probably both look great wearing burlap sacks. But with the great multiple Oscar-winning costume designer Edith Head dressing them, have any two Hollywood stars ever looked better? In Head's clothes, Bergman goes believably from disheveled drunk to gown-draped classy. And when it comes to tailored suits and tuxedos, Grant wrote the book. Hitchcock came to Hollywood, in part, because of his desire to work with Hollywood stars who could bring an even wider audience to his films. He knew what he had in Bergman and Grant and he lavished them with the star treatment that put them--and himself--in the absolute best light. 

  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?

     

    Bergman and Grant are a perfect pairing for this romantic thriller. Their screen chemistry is absolutely believable. But not being familiar with their filmography prior to NOTORIOUS, I am not sure of what types of roles they were known for before 1946.

    However, ​now having seen the entire film, I can't imagine any two other stars in the roles of Alicia and Devlin. 

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I absolutely love Notorious from every angle. Hitchcock is masterful from the first scene to the last one. In this scene, the subjective, expressionist, shadowy POV shot of Cary Grant entering the scene is one of his very best, and a proof that he was more handy with B&W filming than color. This time, the scene is dark-toned and the atmosphere is heavy, introducing us to two characters who are gonna be the heroes in the picture, but are not saints by a long way (typical noir).

 

I personally believe that Notorious is as close as Hitchcock ever got with film noir theme and scenery. The camera is moving constantly, once even making a 180 degrees rotation on Cary Grant. Grant's characters appears colder, more formal and slightly sinister, while Bergman, whose POV shots is combined with disturbing close-ups of her face, is more hot-blooded and disillusioned. Grant is formally and impeccably dressed, Bergman is certainly not, but she's still incredibly attractive,

 

No Hitchcock film, in my opinion, had better casting than Notorious. Two gorgeous and tremendously versatile film stars, with great chemistry with each other and with Hitch, portraying complicated characters with star power and acting depth (perhaps the best performances of their respective careers). Both actors were known for playing heroes, nobody couldn't see them as villains but, in this film, Grant is almost villainous (despite being on the "good guys" side), while Bergman is not the "good girl" she usually was, but maybe as close to a femme fatale as she ever got.

 

 

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

     

    See question #2. The lighting, framing, and camera angles/movement are recognizable to me (now, but not at the start of this course) as Hitchcockian. Other Hitchcockian touches: introducing his main characters at the very start of the movie, a cluttered room (the bedroom in this example), and the fast pace (a modicum of dialogue establishes the back story for the film and suggests the direction in which the story will arc). 

     

    ​Also, and this will never appear on any official list of Hitchcock "touches," but one of his "touches" from my personal point of view is that at least one scene in each of his movies contains an object that is unfamiliar to me or a reference to something that is new to me. In this clip, it is Ingrid's hair ornament which we see under her when she sits up in bed (thanks to SueBBq for identifying what it was). I was wondering if it was an ice pack or maybe a hot water bottle, or even a neck support, but I really had no idea. 

     

  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?

     

    In lighting Bergman, she appears to be in softer focus than Grant, and in the beginning, she is in shadows from which she gradually emerges as she sobers up and gets out of bed and joins Grant in the next room. The framing is very interesting. Grant first appears well-lit, in sharp focus, framed by a doorway and in a tilted-angle shot that does a 180 degree turn as we see him approach the bed from Bergman's POV. Bergman first appears with her face partially hidden by a glass containing liquid that I assume is some sort of hangover remedy. As for costuming, Grant looks sharp in his suit and tie, with every finely-combed and brilliantined hair in place, whereas Bergman is frowzily dressed like an unmade bed, with a large strand of hair stuck in the corner of her mouth. He appears to be in control, while she appears to be unfocused and vulnerable. The cinematography is dominated by close-up shots, which allow us to see subtle emotions and to identify more closely with the two stars. I don't know what to say about the art direction, as I am still learning about this area of film-making.

     

     

  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? 

     

    ​Challenges it. In this scene, Grant seems more alpha-male dominating than his usual screen persona, and his usual flair for humor and witty repartee is not in evidence. Bergman as a party girl is a persona I have not seen in her other movies, where she always seems to be a healthy and wholesome "good girl."

 

I like that these message boards hightlight things I miss or don't give enough attention too.  Your comment about the hairpiece falling out of place is an element of comedy a Hitchcock touch that I neglected to mention in my post even though I found it funny while watching the clip!

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