Dr. Rich Edwards

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

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I must confess, I love this film so much that it makes me feel jealous to see other people even talking about it!  

 

1. Hitchcock touches.

 

-We see Alicia in a facedown one-eyed view. This is similar to Lombard in Mr& Mrs. Smith and Janet Leigh in psycho. That single eye is iconic. Could even be an echo of Norman looking through

the peephole. Reminds me of Magritte painting.

-Shadows on the wall are complex and echo the moral complexities the characters face.

-Alicia's blouse is a stripe which perfectly posits her as a "convict" (convict stripes) to Cary Grant's "copper" dapperness. (It's interesting to me that Bergman also wears a striped blouse in Casablanca, which in that movie, evokes a concentration camp uniform to me)

-Cary Grant is shown in shadow. His sleek suited silhouette evokes Olivier wearing his hat right before killing himself. Both images evoke Magritte for me. Hitchcock often inspired by surrealists.

-Obviously the full camera swivel of Cary Grant creates a fun house surreal moment which not only 

works narratively for the moment but informs the dizzy, sickening feel of a hangover. Also tells us that we don't know if Cary is good or bad and perhaps he will change from one to the other. 

-I love the use of a record player! So many of the early movies showed phonograph players and this is another and very different but effective use of one. 

-The "drink" at the beginning is another use of foodstuffs for Hitchcock & perfectly foreshadows Alicia's future struggles-alcholism and then poisoning. 

-Irony is seen in that Grant is the one telling her to drink when he later condemns her drinking and also puts her in a position where others will tell her to drink poison in the guise of curative. 

-One of Hitchcock's themes is exploitation. Here we see Grant attempting to exploit Alicia's weak, depressed, hungover state in order to get her to do what he wants. He's completely vertical, sober, powerful, handsome and supplied with audio proof. She's hungover, her fake hair falls off, her clothes are a mess, she's cranky, etc. 

-The erotic whiff is totally present. She says "there's only one thing you think I could be good for" As a viewer, I immediately think "prostitution?" but she clarifies "stool pigeon" which is a relief to me but a false one because in fact they mean to use her for a type of prostitution.

-Doorways! Cary Grant appears framed in a doorway and while they're listening to the record player they're both framed in the doorway because they are on the precipice of entering into a compact with each other. The doorway represents transformation.

-The rolling pan of the camera to show "realization or revelation" when Alicia is listening to herself. 

 

2. I think I sort of answered this one in previous answer.

 

3. I think the scene totally conforms to and enhances their star personas!

 

Cary Grant. 

-iconic for suits. He was notoriously exacting about them.

-iconic for tall dark and handsome. His framing in the doorway is almost a comic book level visual.

-iconic for coming from an acrobat background. The camera tilt might be a reference to Grant's 

 well known acrobatic skills. He does flips and somersaults in Holiday. Also Hitchcock ALWAYS 

 makes sure to show Grant walking completely across a room or down a hallway. IT's as though

 he loves to showcase Grant's physical grace in his gait. 

-I also think Hitchcock capitalized on Grant's poise and self containment and used it to create

 moments of moral ambiguity for the audience. He's not an "open" presence, he's sleek and 

 mysterious as a cat. He might be good, he might be evil. Who knows? But he's gorgeous.

 

Ingrid Bergman

-I think the scene consciously references her work in Casablanca although I really have no idea if this film was made after or before. I already mentioned the striped shirt and I'd also like to mention the way Hitchcock shows her "listening" to herself on the record. That evokes her STELLAR scene in Casablanca where she's listening to Sam play "As Time Goes By"

-Ingrid Bergman is, I think, very earthy, natural, beauty. By showing her with her fake hairpiece torn off and no makeup is actually showing her to her best advantage. She looks best windblown, carefree and messy. This very earthiness helps you not to see her as cheap or slutty no matter what she does. 

-Her passion is a great contrast to Grant's self containment. She can emote to a very strong degree and not seem overdone. AT the same time she can crush your soul just by staring and listening. 

-This role perfectly exploits her "foreignness" and plays upon her Casablanca "fighting for good" role.

-I love the way she's forced to be dishonest and deceptive when her character is clearly shown to be very honest, open, impulsive. Grant's character would have been so much better at hiding his feelings and manipulating people. 

 

Yay! What a great movie. 

 

 

 

 

 

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In this opening scene from Notorious, Hitchcock uses the close up of Ingrid Bergman, and the spiraling POV shot to convey the state of mind of her character. She is just waking, with a hangover, in the clothes she wore the night before. Cary Grant stands in shadow in the doorway as she wakes and as he emerges into the light and her view of him spirals, I like that the conversation flows to, "What is your angle?"

 

The difference in lighting and dress place Cary Grant's character Devlin as in control, while Ingrid Bergman's Alicia is at a disadvantage. Devlin is impeccably dressed in a dark suit and Alicia is a bit disheveled. When they are framed together by the doorway, the contrast is quite apparent.

 

I can't really say if this scene challenges their star personas. Cary Grant certainly is the has control of the scene, but Ingrid Bergman appears be a strong match for him, even while her character is vulnerable.

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

​      As pointed out in the lecture, we see Hitchcock's use of very tight close-ups particularly of Ingrid Bergman in this scene. We also see his "crazy" use of the camera in giving the upside down shot of Cary Grant. We learned from Dr. Edwards that Hitchcock had used this technic in the British film ​Downhill.  He also uses some POV shots as if we are looking through Alicia's eyes to include seeing upside down.

 

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 see Hitchcock film the early shots of Cary Grant in less light almost in darkness with him wearing a dark business suit. We see Hitchcock film Ingrid Bergman in light with extreme close up shots and wearing the clothes she had worn the night before. The backgrounds in this scene are out of focus, again emphasizing that we as the audience should be focused on Grant, or on Bergman or both but shouldn't be concerned with the background set. We see Cary Grant as standing perpendicular in this scene and for most of it we see Bergman horizontal. Are we to view this as Grant being dominant and Bergman being vulnerable or subservient?
 

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 discussed in some of the class materials Ingrid Bergman was the most popular star in Hollywood in 1946. She never played a "bad" woman before so this casting by Hitchcock challenges her well-known star persona. Being a "party girl" with drunken hangovers is not her style. Cary Grant is viewed as the sophisticated gentlemen yet in this film he is he is cast has the "heartless" spy master. This is also against his usual persona. I am of the opinion that big stars enjoyed leaving their usual persona to work for Hitchcock and to in essence be challenged.

 

Note to viewers:​ Watch for Hitchcock's cameo in Notorious​ Hint: Party guest at the champagne table

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The Hitchcock touch that I see is the camera movement that shows Bergman's view of Cary Grant as upside down and out of focus. The way he photographs Grant in shadow at the entrance to the bedroom and the closeup on Ingrid  waking up with a hangover.

 I think Hitchcock was contrasting Grant suave sophisticate persona with Ingrid Bergman party girl who had too much to drink and dressed in last evening outfit.

Grant comes of as usual sophisticated but on the dark side.

Ingrid Bergman is believable as a vulnerable girl who likes to party.

 

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

 

An immediate "touch" is the POV shot. When Ingrid Bergman looks up at Cary Grant, we see him at an angle, which is probably how she would have seen him, and then rotates as he comes closer to the room until he's upside down.

 

Another touch is the ordinary person being brought into extraordinary situations. Bergman seems like a typical society woman, but here is Grant bringing her an opportunity to help in a sort of spy scheme.
 

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?

 

When the audience first sees Cary Grant in the scene, it is on an angle, such that they can feel they too are looking up at him from the bed. By putting the audience in Ingrid Bergman's point of view, it draws them into the scene. He continues this by almost spinning the camera to follow Grant as he gets closer to the bed.

 

Another contrast that he makes is in the costumes of the two actors. Grant, a law-enforcement agent, wears a simple black suit and tie, while Bergman stuns, even just wearing a sparkly striped shirt/dress.

 

Also, whenever the two are standing near one another, the camera seems to tighten and focus entirely on them. It seems that all the room is just made of them.
 

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? 

 

For Grant, I feel like it conforms more towards his younger (so still at that time) star persona. He is bossy but caring, and his distance makes him sexy. He also plays a man with good intentions but is forced to put up a front in order to do his job. There is also the element of humor that, while not always obvious, is so subtly used in his dialogue. And we can't forget the sense of self-satisfaction each of his characters seems to find.

 

For Bergman, on the other hand, I feel like the persona is challenged a bit. As mentioned in the note, she typically plays the consummate lady, but real ladies don't get hangovers. She is also quite rude to Grant. However, there is the passion we often see in her characters in the recording Grant plays.

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

Close-ups zooming into the faces of the characters to provide an extra layer of information, using the “ordinary girl” who finds herself in an extraordinary situation, and the disorienting camera angles are all obvious Hitchcock touches.

  • 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?

Bergman’s character is in emotional turmoil; disheveled and troubled as revealed in her “morning after” state – Devlin has it all together, as demonstrated by his professional demeanor, smart dress, cold and precise logic, and even prepared audio prompts.

  • 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 scene plays to the strengths and personas of Bergman as emotionally complex and deep, and Grant as suave and sophisticated.

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What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?  front and center a glass that has a glow to it.  Like that famous glass of milk that Cary Grant had carried up the stairs in Suspicion

 

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?

 

Ingrid Bergman is far from glamorous here. Her hairpiece has fallen out and her makeup is all smeared.  The camera turns around, giving us Alicias' perspective.   She is no cool blonde with the tight hair bun like HC films later on.  There isn't the focus on the glamorous Grant, his voice is mainly off-screen.  The focus is on Alicia and what a hot-mess she is.  Towards the end, they are standing shoulder-to-shoulder, equals. 

 

 

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? 

 

 

 

​Both actors were well-cast here.  She as an understated, naturally beautiful women with a foreign accent.  He as a cool, suave, romantic man.

 

​I have to disagree with a few points made in the lecture notes.  Ingrid Bergman has played "a bad girl" before; in 1941's, "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" with Spencer Tracy and Lana Turner.  She played a barmaid/prostitute who is physically and emotionally tortured by Tracys' Mr. Hyde.

 

​I also don't see Nortorious as a love story.  Love is another McGuffin in the movie. 95% of the movie is Cary Grant treating Ingrid Bergman as a "party girl".  The last scene, she whispers to him that the uranium is in the "Inez Mountains", completing her mission to the end.  He does rescue her but up until that point he wasn't that conflicted about her prostituting herself for her adopted country. 

 

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

     

    The most obvious one is the subjective shot of Cary Grant as he approaches the bed. I can also see the Hitchcock touch in the way Ingrid Bergman is shot. She is hungover. I'm sure her brain is fuzzy, so she is obscured, by the blankets, by her mussed-up hair, and by the hangover remedy (glass) in front of her. She is upside-down almost falling off the bed. Cary Grant is upside down too, but that is from her perspective.  Even when she starts to get up, she doesn't stay up long and has to lie back down. Another touch is giving you information about the characters visually. In bed, she looks down and realizes she is still dressed in the same clothes she had been wearing the night before.

     

    When I took a Hitchcock class in college, the professor pointed out a chess motif in Notorious. I think it is significant. In chess, the most powerful piece is the only female, Queen, and the most important male piece in chess, the King, has virtually no power on its own. In Notorious, Ingrid Bergman as the Queen drives every aspect of the plot.  Her counterpart on the opposing side, Leopoldine Konstantin, the only other important female character, drives much of the plot from the other side. Looking at this chess analogy in the Daily Dose, when we first see Cary Grant, he is shown in silhouette his arms folded not unlike a chess piece.  Other chess imagery, the diamond shapes on the headboard similar to a chessboard when viewed from an angle.  The shadows from the window and a glass-doored cabinet cast grid patterns, also reminiscent of a chessboard.  There is a wall sconce that to me looks vaguely like a chess piece. On the closeup of the record player, one of the knobs looks like a pawn.

     

  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?

     

    One of the most obvious motifs is color. Cary Grant is dressed in a black suit (probably navy blue, but comes off as black). Pinstripes were very big in men's suits at the time, but they chose to clothe Cary Grant in solid black.  Ingrid Bergman is dressed in black and white stripes. Is she a good character or a bad one? In many respects, she has aspects of both. I think it's significant that the focus is on the characters, and the backgrounds are blurry. Hitchcock tends to favor a large depth of focus. He wants you to see what is in the background and what it reveals about the characters. Here he wants you to focus on the characters themselves. Through most of the scene, Ingrid Bergman is shown with her head at odd angles. We see Cary Grant at odd angles  too, but this is from Ingrid Bergman's perspective.

     

     

  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? 

     

    Both stars come into the film with theirs personas intact, but I do think Notorious does challenge what they are known for. I have seen Notorious at least 20 times, but I hadn't seen it in a couple of years, before I rewatched it a week or so ago. I was very surprised how dark Cary Grant comes off. Cary Grant often has a bit of a dark edge to his persona, but normally it is a lovable scamp, a mischievous boy. That is part of his charm. In Notorious, there is a danger about him that is borderline unsettling. 

     

    For Ingrid Bergman, in other films, Casablanca, Gaslight, and others, I think of her as innocent and vulnerable but with a strength of will that comes out when she is pushed. In Notorious, she is definitely vulnerable, innocent, not so much. Though not a prostitute, she definitely sleeps around. This is not something we had seen from her before. The strength of will is there, but it come out from spite, when she is spurned by Cary Grant. It's an incredibly complicated performance. She's a drunk and a party girl, but she's also a patriot and a hero. She's a woman in love and the woman scorned all at the same time. 

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Grant, as in his earlier work for Hitchcock in Suspicion, ​is playing against type to a great extent. Grant was really most known at this point in his career as a comic and romantic lead. But in this film, while still suave and sophisticated, he is a darker, tougher character than the public usually expected him to play. There is not a hint of comedy here and rather than being debonair to a woman, he is playing tough with Bergman's character. He is asking (practically forcing) her to do things she doesn't want to do. The romantic Grant of many of his earlier films would have been more into sophisticated banter and romantic language. Here his dialogue is all no-nonsense and very direct. I think this is an example of Hitchcock deliberately choosing actors who would play against type for most if not all of the film.

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 The opening scene is reminiscent of the screwball comedy Mr. and Mrs. Smtih though this is a suspense movie.  We seem the similar disarray of the room, as well as the heroine in bed with a hangover hiding from Cary Grant's character.  We have similar Hitch touches of the upside down shots and angles on Cary Grant entering the room.  We have extreme close ups and props creating tension for the character.  The bicarbonate or juice that Ingrid's character can barely get down. The focus on the drink is similar to the focus of the milk in the movie Suspicion. Ingrid is shot well lit maybe to show her fraility and vulnerability.  Cary's in shadow to show his darkness. This sets up character development. The camera shots mimick how a drunk feels with a hangover.  it is dizzy at ties.  The  costuming is brilliant Ingrid is in bed still her bold striped gown from the following evening.  Strips suggest jail stripes...  like she is trapped and confined in her own web. Devin is always in dark suits..  dark as his character with business aloof precision.  Costuming is important in this movie.  and also show signature styles of the established stars.  Cary dark and debonair.  Ingrid a softer blonde, natural, vulnerable wearing her heart on her sleeve so to speak. 
 

Casting:  Some of Hitch's best casting.  Ingrid is so good at playing the melancholy undercurrent.. the WWII malaise but still with elegance and glamour and vulnerability.  We see the same amazing vulnerability in Claude Rains performance.  Cary is sexy, cool and debonair but calculated. Cary is good at creating ambiivalence. Cary was huge box office.  and people root for him despite the fact he is cool and calculated .  

 

I have to admit Notorious is one of the few Hitchcock's I have not seen all the way through.  I will look forward to further examination.  

 

I have personally always had mixed feelings about Ingrid Bergman.  She has a vulnerable but European elegance..  She is brilliant actress but sometimes makes me feel protective. It is an amazing feat she creates. She doesn't have sex appeal of Janet or Grace or the glamour.  To me she is not the typical Hitchcock Blonde.  But Ingrid is the perfect casting for the 1940s war years.  She holds the underlying fear the country was feeling as well as a desperation for love and acceptance, and a self sacrificing nature.  Her characters to me seem though at times so vulnerable.  It is like you want to say "Wake up.. you idiot you are being poisoned and put in danger... don't be a bird brain think for yourself... don't be manipulated..  She is "butterfly" crushed.  Fascinating ...  

 

I prefer Spellbound though.  I love the more bizarre Dali esque effects  and Rosza score.  Notorious is great though too but really has the WWII stamp.  like Casablanca.  (Where I also find Ingrid's character in that so mousy and vulnerable.   

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Ahh, Notorious!  The Hitchcock touches I notice are:  the entry of the male main character in back profile; the intimate disarray of the room, the malingering melancholy of Bergman, The POV shots on angles, and the extreme closeups.

 

Hitchcock accents the contrast between the two main characters by setting her in the decadent, upper class bungalow, while he seems more grounded and average in his appearance.  She is dressed well but understated, while her character seems wild.  He is a "regular guy" who has no time for frivolity, is contemptuous of it.  The closeups emphasize these two different characters:  she is just waking, non-committal, and vulnerable while he is stone-faced but focused  The black and white is in very high contrast (I like).  He uses the point of view shots to enter into her confused state.

 

The casting always seemed a bit off to me (though I adore both stars) because I just couldn't see Cary Grant as this hard-boiled, selfish character.  yes, selfish, because he seems to feel sorry for himself more than her!  I have seen him in other crusty rolls, but always with a touch of cynical humor.  Ingrid seems right on target, with her blend of strength vs. panic.  She was a terrific actor, plain and simple.

 

Incidently, anyone who has seen Sandra Bullock's  THE NET may have noticed the homage to Notorious in the lead male character being named Devlin, and the way Sandra ties the kerchief around her waist.

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

     

    The most obvious one is the subjective shot of Cary Grant as he approaches the bed. I can also see the Hitchcock touch in the way Ingrid Bergman is shot. She is hungover. I'm sure her brain is fuzzy, so she is obscured, by the blankets, by her mussed-up hair, and by the hangover remedy (glass) in front of her. She is upside-down almost falling off the bed. Cary Grant is upside down too, but that is from her perspective.  Even when she starts to get up, she doesn't stay up long and has to lie back down. Another touch is giving you information about the characters visually. In bed, she looks down and realizes she is still dressed in the same clothes she had been wearing the night before.

     

    When I took a Hitchcock class in college, the professor pointed out a chess motif in Notorious. I think it is significant. In chess, the most powerful piece is the only female, Queen, and the most important male piece in chess, the King, has virtually no power on its own. In Notorious, Ingrid Bergman as the Queen drives every aspect of the plot.  Her counterpart on the opposing side, Leopoldine Konstantin, the only other important female character, drives much of the plot from the other side. Looking at this chess analogy in the Daily Dose, when we first see Cary Grant, he is shown in silhouette his arms folded not unlike a chess piece.  Other chess imagery, the diamond shapes on the headboard similar to a chessboard when viewed from an angle.  The shadows from the window and a glass-doored cabinet cast grid patterns, also reminiscent of a chessboard.  There is a wall sconce that to me looks vaguely like a chess piece. On the closeup of the record player, one of the knobs looks like a pawn.

     

  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?

     

    One of the most obvious motifs is color. Cary Grant is dressed in a black suit (probably navy blue, but comes off as black). Pinstripes were very big in men's suits at the time, but they chose to clothe Cary Grant in solid black.  Ingrid Bergman is dressed in black and white stripes. Is she a good character or a bad one? In many respects, she has aspects of both. I think it's significant that the focus is on the characters, and the backgrounds are blurry. Hitchcock tends to favor a large depth of focus. He wants you to see what is in the background and what it reveals about the characters. Here he wants you to focus on the characters themselves. Through most of the scene, Ingrid Bergman is shown with her head at odd angles. We see Cary Grant at odd angles  too, but this is from Ingrid Bergman's perspective.

     

     

  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? 

     

    Both stars come into the film with theirs personas intact, but I do think Notorious does challenge what they are known for. I have seen Notorious at least 20 times, but I hadn't seen it in a couple of years, before I rewatched it a week or so ago. I was very surprised how dark Cary Grant comes off. Cary Grant often has a bit of a dark edge to his persona, but normally it is a lovable scamp, a mischievous boy. That is part of his charm. In Notorious, there is a danger about him that is borderline unsettling. 

     

    For Ingrid Bergman, in other films, Casablanca, Gaslight, and others, I think of her as innocent and vulnerable but with a strength of will that comes out when she is pushed. In Notorious, she is definitely vulnerable, innocent, not so much. Though not a prostitute, she definitely sleeps around. This is not something we had seen from her before. The strength of will is there, but it come out from spite, when she is spurned by Cary Grant. It's an incredibly complicated performance. She's a drunk and a party girl, but she's also a patriot and a hero. She's a woman in love and the woman scorned all at the same time. 

 

Thanks for that chess imagery!

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

Here are the ones I noticed: the extreme close-up of Ingrid Bergman; the movement of the camera as it puts Cary Grant into odd angles in the frame, the shadows over Grant, the way Grant moves into the background to make his point with the record player.

 

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?

Bergman is in full light and close up. Does this mean viewers can trust her more? Grant is in shadow, and he is tilted this way and that in the frame. Is he thus unreliable? He is the more stylish of the two in this scene, however. Bergman looks a bit frumpy, and it doesn’t help when part of her hair extension drops off in her bed! Maybe viewers can’t be sure who to trust. (“What’s your angle”? “What angle?” I’m in an off-center shot in a Hitchcock film: That’s my angle!) I especially like the shot of Grant moving into the frame, his back to the camera, and establishing himself next to Bergman, and the two of them reacting with eye movements and facial expressions only, to the recording they are listening to.

 

3. Based on this scene, 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 know enough about Grant’s and Berman’s star personas, I suppose. And it’s been so long since I have seen the entire film. I just know that both stars are riveting, and I expect to enjoy seeing Notorious again.

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Such a complex film, morally and emotionally. The things we most prize--love on the personal and patriotic levels--are the things that twist and hurt the main characters in Notorious. Today's scene has many recognizable Hitchcock touches, but the level of pain has so much more power and depth. I don't think it could have happened with different actors.

 

Cary Grant is portrayed as a figure of darkness. We first see him in shadow and even as the light increases, he is revealed an wearing a starkly black suit. His slickly dark hair and his crisp, almost bullying manner of speaking underline what his name tells us--there is a touch of the devil in Devlin and yet he is the representative of the good guys.

 

We see this scene mostly from Ingrid Bergman's point of view as she lies in bed, disheveled and trying to deal with the light that is so unwelcome to someone with a hangover. She literally can't see straight as we see from the distorted image of Grant. Some of the shots resemble the opening shots of Carole Lombard in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but where Lombard looks more like Ginger Rogers framed like a nymph in her satiny bower, Bergman looks terrible. We feel her pain. Her voice is slurred and she turns away from Grant who has invaded her private space. As the scene progresses, she gets to her feet and, as she listens to the recording of her conversation with her father, we see that her dress is both black and white, sporty and yet spangled. She is as beautiful as Grant in a softer more sensuous way, but these incredible beings are not, in the words of many midwestern grandmothers, "as beautiful inside as they are outside." They are morally soiled and things are going to get worse. Yet, their star personae tell us they belong together.

 

Grant has a tough and believably mean side that Hitchcock uses in Suspicion. He is seldom as cruel as he is in this film. In North by Northwest, he objects to the way Eva Marie Saint is being used by the U.S. government with no regard for her dignity or safety. Here he is willing to throw Bergman into a degrading situation. The question is what is going on beneath his frozen facade. As the film progresses, How much is it hurting him to hurt her? I still can't decide. Bergman's sensual lips and wounded eyes and rich voice seem to bring something to Hitchcock that he can't do on his own. There is a kind of depth and intensity that I don't see elsewhere in his films.

 

Claude Rains is not in this scene, but he is certainly the most evil character in terms of his Nazi connections. But no one really feels that he is evil. He is so completely in love. On a moral scale, the ability to love deeply may make his political choices even worse. I wonder what it says about me that I give him a pass even though I hate what he stands for. I see a connection to Vertigo in the way Hitchcock completely corrupts his viewers by making us complicit in behavior that we could not possibly approve of in the clarity of daylight outside the theater. Often when I read French critics, I think they are over-intellectualizing, but when it comes to Notorious, I am glad to have their insights. No simple answers!

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What a great comment! I agree - Love as the MacGuffin hits the nail on the head in terms of Cary Grant's dark character and his willingness to use her feelings (of love, of patriotism). Black and white contrast so beautifully in this scene, Bergman's stripes looking very jail-bird (among other associations), the view of Grant in negative silhouette. Supposedly these questions of loyalty and love are also "black and white", but of course they're not. I think what makes Claude Rains such a humane villain is that you sense that his patriotism is equally natural and justifiable to himself, whereas you get the feeling that Grant / Devlin just likes playing the spy game. 

 

 

​I also don't see Nortorious as a love story.  Love is another McGuffin in the movie. 95% of the movie is Cary Grant treating Ingrid Bergman as a "party girl".  The last scene, she whispers to him that the uranium is in the "Inez Mountains", completing her mission to the end.  He does rescue her but up until that point he wasn't that conflicted about her prostituting herself for her adopted country. 

 

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1. The Hitchcock touch is very evident in this scene, starting with Cary Grant standing in the light doorway. At that point you can't tell it's him and it give a dark impression of him. Once again the technique is used on the closeup of Ingrid Bergman. This is at least the third movie that I know of that this is used. The POV shots looking up at Grant as he moves about the room. Even though the recording is of Bergman and her father, it's similar to a person's thoughts in other movies.

 

2. The difference in lighting portrays Grant as a dark and possibly sinister character. The lighting with Bergman is much softer and not harsh. Even though she slept in her clothes, they were a bit formal for the morning. With her clothes wrinkled and her hair messy she gives the impression of being vulnerable. Grant is impeccably dressed in a dark suit and speaks with authority.

 

3. This scene and the movie fits their persona. Grant had become a serious actor by this time by playing in more dramas tha comedies. I've seen a lot of his movies from the 30s and 40s and you can see the growth. As always he comes of a sauve and debonair. Bergman in this movie reminds me of her role in Gaslight. In both roles she is elegant, somewhat worldly yet vulnerable.

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I love this scene, when I think in a Hitchcock's signature scene I always think in this one. The close-ups, the wonderful artistic work done through the POV shot, put all this together with the noir lighting and cinematography and great actors and you have this marvellous result. And I actually think their personas are being challenged here, for instance we have this big Hollywood star very drunk, putting aside this image of glamour and showing herself more human, and Cary Grant carries this dangerous air, appearing almost threatening, and he's an actor that usually played more light-hearted roles. I think all this would be unusual for big stars at that time.

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The shot that really sticks with me especially in the context of a noir film is when Bergman's character is looking at Grant's character but we see him from her point of view which is upside down and in shadow. That shot almost made me nauseous so I can imagine how Bergman's character was feeling since she is certainly hung-over.

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  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? Light and shadows, upside down shots.

     

  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 a protagonist, Devlin certainly isn't sweetness and light. He's full of shadow, as shown in the opening shot of this scene. He's debonair, while Bergman is dressed somewhat patriotically in stripes...only she still has on her clothes from the night before. She's not the nature girl, but the party girl....shown as sullied.

     

  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? Challenged, I'd say. We are not seeing the funny Cary Grant, nor the good girl Ingrid Bergman.
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Hitchcock is brilliant it is directing lighting and framing of these characters to show the initial vulnerability in Bergman and the superiority in Cary Grant. Besides the details in the camera shots, the details of course in her clothes her hair her this shoveled look after a night of drinking. And I am always Florida and moved by these two great actors. Ingrid Bergman in particular. I don't know if these two great actors conform to the scene in the movie. I just know they stand out. With acting and great looks… That they won't hurt. They bring this great story to life. And they are great together. Chemistry.

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The use of the camera and "literal" POV frames. How the camera shows us exactly what Alicia is looking at and from her angle. This is genius!

 

 

Hitchcock uses light to tell us how Alicia is feeling as she experiences her hangover and shadows Dev to keep him mysterious (and handsome). He frames and photographs each character in a way that subtlety describes their reluctant chemistry that is soon revealed once they reach Rio. The scene is slow, but gives us an idea of who each character is and what their purpose in the story is.

 

The pairing of Grant and Bergman is perfection. Their chemistry is genuine, but at time painful. His heartless approach to her and her pleasing way that leaves her in danger resonates on the screen. The scene actually challenges more than conforms each actor. Cary Grant in particular is well-known for his comedy, but in this film he is serious and hardly cracks a smile. Ingrid Bergman reveals more of her melancholy nature that can be seen in her later films.

 

This is my favorite film of all time and I'm excited to see it recognized. #TCM #Hitchcock50

 

"Dry your eyes, baby. It's out of character."

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1.Hitchcock touches includes the close up on Alicia and the spinning POV shot of Devlin entering the room. 

 

2..The Hitchcock touches seem to be the darkness or uncertainty surrounding the Devlin character and the light on the obviously hungover Alicia character. When Devlin, (name close to Devil) enters the room the camera spins him up side down to make us more confused as to what he is after.

 

3. I believe the main characters are challenging the personas of both Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. I always think of Cary Grant as the king of the screwball comedies and it is also hard to imagine Ilsa Lund with a hangover. 

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1) The characters have an air of mystery. The scenario is quite open as it is being housed within one room. Alicia is a well developed character from the opening of this film. It was refreshing to have an opening of a Hitchcock film where it wasn't a crowd spectacle. Just like Mr. and Mrs. Smith the set was confined to one room, and the conflict is closed off to two different people. This was a nice change of pace as one character is inebriated and the other is a sober handsome man. No violence, golden curls, spectators, etc.

 

2)  Hitchcock's use of light in this opening is truly remarkable. We get a sense of delirium from Alicia's angle. The turning over of Devlin with the camera angles making him wobbly and mysterious was truly amazing and inspiring to watch. Devlin is a very handsome man that cares about Alicia's drunken state. The scene was a slight slow burn and just between the interaction of Devlin and Alicia I am quite intrigued about the differences between the two characters: a party girl, and a handsome well dressed gentleman.

 

3) These roles are different for the respective actors. Cary Grant is apparently most well known for more comedic of roles and this is a rousing drama. While Ingrid Bergman is more well known as a good girl of sorts and in this she plays more of a bad girl/party goer.

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  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?       The camera angle of Devlin.  It made me feel a little queasy and light headed.  The use of hazy lighting with Alicia and a little less hazy when the camera went to Devlin.  The lighting is less hazy as the scene progresses and Alicia wakes up.  The drink has an effervescent quality also.  Devlin has "something on Alicia" and as the recording is played and the truth about her loving America and being upset with her father comes out - the two are in the shot together.  

 

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 for Alicia is hazy and as she wakes up it becomes clearer.  The lighting on Devlin is less hazy and when they are in the same shot (when she stands up and brushes her hair) the lighting becomes clearer.  I think Hitchcock is showing that Devlin is very serious and Alicia is a "party-girl."  The way the scenes are done it reinforces Devlin is sober and Alicia is hungover.  

 

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? Wow.  This is a hard question for me because I find it difficult to sound knowledgable.    I always view Cary Grant as being very elegant although in some movies he has a comedic touch.  He is also light on his feet!  Agile.  In this movie he is very elegant and serious and in this scene he is true to his persona.  Ingrid Bergman is usually very elegant and either scholarly or having knowledge (like an old-soul).  She is waking up with a hangover so at first it is hard to really know the depth of the character.  I think she does a convincing drunk and then hungover individual.  (I find some actors don't always do a good drunk scene).  Hitchcock quickly gives us proof that she is really much deeper than it appears but that she is - well not necessarily conflicted - but needing to drink to deal with life.  Devlin is a much more serious character than some of Grant's other movies.  It really hurts the way he treats Alicia.  I thought about both of them - just tell the other character you love each other!  

 

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

 

 

 

The first “touch” i saw was the tight shot of Bergman and the lighting of the glass in front of her. What came to mind was the highlighted glass of milk in Suspicion (1941). There is the up-side-down shot, which he twisted round and round, from Downhill. I watched the movie again over the weekend and having just seen the silent film, the connection was blatant…Hitchcock reusing what he had learned early on. I have seen this movie dozens of times without having seen Downhill so it was something I’ve learned! The use of the record player, necessary here for the story not to show time passing. I have mentioned his closeups, camera angles, lighting but I have not stressed his use of editing and fades outs never let a scene or a closeup run a moment too long.


 

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?

 

 

 

Hitch chooses to introduce Grant ominously, a dark anonymous figure. He remains stationary, which attracts Bergman to him (along with the fact she can see his face!). She is dressed in this scene in horizontal sequins suggesting she is imprisoned because of her relationship to her father. Her hair is gossamer. She is softness, angelic as she comes to from a night of heavy drinking. Grant, on the other hand is sturdy and stern. Tightly dressed in a suit not suitable for the tropics. He is shot and lit making his Devlin look like a man of power and importance. While Devlin (devil?) crosses Alicia’s room (angel?), his shadow darkens her image for an instant; a sign of danger? (Much like the clouds cross the driveway to Manderley.) While she forces drunken giggles and tries to keep herself upright, Devlin is all business. 


 

 

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 is known as the heroine, the good woman, the innocent, trustworthy (who can forget her sacrifice in Casablanca?). But this role is very difficult for her as it would be for anyone. It is multidimensional. She had to portray a woman with a reputation as a party girl, women who are always cast as cheap, cold and nasty. Women like this are to be used and tossed aside. They are never to be brought home to meet mama. I mean this in terms of REAL LIFE (which is so unfair) and which movies are supposed to replicate. So to have someone carrying this kind of baggage portrayed with vulnerability and insecurity along with strength and fortitude was very unusual. And it makes me love Alicia so much more.

 

She’s been cast as someone being gaslighted, someone who as Joan of Arc is burned alive, she’s been a governess, a nun - and Mr. Hyde’s victim. Along with her talent (she has won many awards including, three oscars and two emmys), her exquisite beauty has cameras falling in love with her. Within each role her soft vulnerability makes audiences care for her. As Alicia, Bergman does not challenge her persona, while at the same time, her public persona faced a very different challenge. She also faced that difficulty with dignity and grace.

 

As for Mr. Grant, he is cast time and time again as the smooth, suave, sophisticated leading man. Here he allows Deviln’s self assurance to sidesaddle his sex appeal and reluctant determination. Grant’s comic ability is locked away somewhere as Devlin, but his image remains safe.

 

They fit together like milk and honey.

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