Dr. Rich Edwards

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

199 posts in this topic

1) I see the use of two big film stars in the lead roles, the use of close ups (I never realized how beautiful Ingrid Bergman is; I use "is" instead of "was" as celluloid heroes never really die), the possible use of a MacGuffin (Mr. Grant informing Miss Bergman--and the audience--of her past.

2) The light is so diffused around Miss Bergman that she appears translucent or "angelic", though judging by the opening scene, perhaps a fallen angel whereas Mr. Grant's character is shot w/o special gels or lighting.

Miss Bergman is sparkling (sequins in her blouse, highlights in her hair) and Mr. Grant is wearing black evening clothes with jet black hair. This seems to be Mr. Hitchcock's way of saying good guys/white hats bad guys/black hats. Then again, nothing is ever as it seems in an Alfred Hitchcock film.

3) Mr. Grant played a lot of lightweight comedy roles but like so many actors (Jimmy Stewart is another) he seemed to take on more mature and demanding roles post-WWII. He was cast because he was Cary Grant but "Notorious" was his first solid acting role of his career.

As I am unfamiliar with Miss Bergman's work aside from "Casablanca" I shall not comment.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

 

As Dr. Edwards and Dr. Gehring discussed, Hitchcock never forgot a thing he learned. His tracking shot in on Bergman's face as she lay hungover in bed, his use of point-of-view camera angles as Grant approaches her from the doorway, all the interplay between light and shadow: we've seen this scene coming for twenty years. In my opinion Hitchcock has now achieved perfection in black and white.

 

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 disheveled and disoriented. Grant is immaculately dressed, severe, focused. She struggles to pull herself together while he relentlessly prods her to do something she says she doesn't want to do. They're photographed separately, cutting back and forth between frames throughout this exchange, at odds, opponents, disdainful of one another. Then Grant plays the recording of her conversation with her father and Bergman realizes he knows what's in her heart. They arrive together in a door frame as allies.
 

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? 

Hitchcock was able to cast two of the most attractive stars in the history of film. I'd say he was at the top of his game. I think the film ultimately conforms to Bergman and Grant's personas, but the audiences' preconceptions must certainly have been challenged at times.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?

 

Like it was mentioned in the lecture, there is the ever evident POV shot. The heavily hungover Alicia wakes up and sees Devlin standing in the shadows of the doorway. There are also the close-ups of both stars as to see their reaction to certain things that were said or done. 

 

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 over Grant gives him a feel of being mysterious to a hazy Bergman. Whereas the light over Bergman makes her appear very hazy and hungover from the night before. Grant is dressed sharply and Bergman is still dressed in her fancy party clothes that now look very much slept in. She isn't so sure as to what is going on, but he surely remembers all. 

 

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

 

I think it conforms more than it challenges them. They are both superstars, so it's nothing new for them to become characters of a certain sort. They are extraordinary at what they do. They compliment each very well in their roles.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? The camera is enjoying her face, even when she is hung over.  (she still looks good).  He does some side-ways or unusual camera angles. 

     

  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?

Cary Grant is totally put together and in control.  She is not in control, and she is a mess.  She is vulnerable but she does what he says.  She argues but you know she is going to give in.  I feel in this film that she has no where else to go. Her father is a traitor, she has no other family, she’s a party girl with only party friends.  The scene where they are framed in the doorway says “partnership.”

  1. Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas? Cary Grant was at this time more known for light or comedic parts.  Here he is dead serious, nothing funny.  In this scene he just seems like a sincere agent trying to engage her, but he works in a world of spies, so he can be duplicitous, and he ends up being that way.  He is torn between love and duty but doesn’t do it very well through the movie, treating her badly because she took on a task for love and duty (love of him and duty to country).  He gets mad because she does what he asks and is now with another man (who even though he is a Nazi treats her better). As for her, she is playing somewhat against type, but even though she didn’t usually play a bad woman she did usually play a sensual woman who was driven by emotions and love (all over that expressive face) rather than self-interest or reason.  (Women in movies weren’t allowed to be motivated by reason or intellect but by duty or love or self-interest.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

 

The medium close-ups of Bergman and Grant. As he walks in, there is a brilliant almost- 360 degree shot from her point-of-view. This represents her hungover state. There is also a battle of sexes between the two of them, which is something that Hitchcock did very well. Grant seems to get a little thrill of seeing Bergman at lowest point, which makes him a complex hero. We want to like him, but sometimes the way he treats Bergman is a little vicious. 

 

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 terms of Delvin, it's like he's in silhouette because his calm and collected nature. As for Alicia, whether you see her, there is a little bit of disorientation where she is practically a hot mess. Delvin is polished and wears a suit, and Alicia is wearing a two piece that shows her midriff. This is obvious because she is a party girl. The moment where they are both standing in the doorway expresses the fact that there is now an understanding between the two of them. She decides to comply to everything he says.

 

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 the case of many Hitchcock films, the casting is very important. Getting Grant and Bergman together was a masterstroke, because their chemistry is amazing and they play off each other very well. Grant was of course handsome, sexy, and debonair. Bergman was also sexy, astute and charming. They were both beautiful people, but the fact that they could act elevated their glamour towards authenticity and craft. In Notorious, they brilliantly played against type, where Grant portrayed a complex hero instead of complete leading man, while Bergman portrayed a party girl instead of her 'good girl' schtick. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?
 
 POV the camera movement that way he wants you to feel as Cary Grant walk in the room.
 
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 contrasts set up that Hitchcock is the lighting at the beging from dark to light as Berman tries to adjust her eyes to Grant walking in while she laying on the bed.
 
 
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 are very sophisticated in their own way and I believe they compliment each other.
 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

 

Glass of liquid next to bed slightly illuminated reminds me of the glowing milk glass in Suspicion.

Angled shot of Devlin standing in doorway, masked in shadow.

Light shining on Alicia’s curled hair similar to how blonde curls were a point of focus in The Pleasure Garden and in The Lodger.

View of Alicia’s one eye peering at Devlin while she’s lying in bed, reminiscent of Carole Lombard in bed in Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Spinning and then upside down view of Devlin as he enters the room.

Close-up of a spinning record as was seen in The Ring

POV tracking shot as Devlin approaches Alicia's bedroom as the record plays


 

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?

 

Devlin is standing in a doorway, arms crossed and his face is masked by a shadow, hinting that he is perhaps not what he seems, that something dark lies beneath.  This shot is from Alicia's point of view, staring up at an angle at Devlin.  He appears tall, all business in his suit, and he's doing all the talking, telling Alicia to drink the glass of liquid.  He has the upper hand over Alicia who is lying in bed, hung over. She is still wearing last night's clothes, hair is messy, words and thoughts are jumbled.  Alicia follows Devlin's direction at first, and then she resists. 

 

 

Devlin enters the room still from Alicia's point of view, spinning into focus and then appearing upside down.  From here the camera switches between Devlin and Alicia, and each time one of them speaks, it's an isolated shot of the person speaking. 

 

 

Devlin leaves the bedroom and enters the living room, still speaking to Alicia.  He puts a record on the record player and moves back towards Alicia's room.  We see a front shot of Devlin walking to the bedroom (camera).  Then the camera switches to a POV tracking shot from Devlin's perspective as he nears the bedroom door.  We see Alicia dimly lit in the bedroom.  Alicia moves towards the bedroom door as the dialog on the record gets more heated, and she looks to be pondering her duty to her country.  Her face becomes more brightly lit as she meets Devlin at the bedroom door, and she realizes what she needs to do.

 

 

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 pairing of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Notorious is perfection.  Cary Grant often plays characters who initially show disinterest (just business) towards the female character, and then their coupling ultimately develops into more. This works right in line with the Devlin character. Ingrid Bergman, as the professor said in the lecture video has a slight vulnerability to her.  This adds depth to Alicia, who is stubbornly torn over helping Devlin.  She is resistant towards Devlin in the beginning.  Later when she is with Sebastian and realizes her true feelings for Devlin, the vulnerable side surfaces.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Some of Alfred Hitchcock’s touches that are noticeable in his 1946 film, “Notorious” include his close-up shots (the close-up of the transcription phonograph record that Cary Grant’s “T.R. Devlin” character is playing for Ingrid Bergman’s “Alicia Huberman” character might have been inspired by the close-up images of spinning “gramophone” records that were seen in Hitchcock’s British silents “The Ring” and “Downhill”) along with the eerie lighting direction and cinematography (along with the “point of view” shots from the perceptions of Grant’s character and Bergman’s character)..
 

2.    You can see earlier in the scene (from the tilted “point of view” of Bergman’s character) that when Grant’s character is standing in the doorway, there is no key/fill light, he is backlit (until he gets closer to Bergman’s character by having her drink the liquid.  The “tilted” POV shot (from Bergman’s view) looks reminiscent of the “tilted/crazy” shot that is commonly used in Film Noir features.   In terms of the wardrobe choices, Grant’s Devlin character is dressed, while Bergman’s Huberman character is still hung over from the night before. Through the progression of this scene in “Notorious,” this is almost like “night” vs. “day.”  I also like how she says (to Cary Grant’s character, after the rotated angle shot), “what’s your angle?”

 

3.    I think both Bergman and Grant were perfect for their roles in Hitchcock’s 1946 feature.  I don’t think their appearances in “Notorious” had any negative effect on their careers, it possibly helped enhance their on-screen careers by being in this legendary Hitchcock “suspense” masterpiece.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is a departure from Cary Grant’s star persona to play a darker character like Devlin.  If played by a lesser known actor, I think we’d be convinced Devlin wasn’t good at all based upon the opening scene.  The tension that Hitchcock has created in casting Grant is that we believe, as the star, Grant has to be playing the hero – but he is not acting like a hero should; he is manipulative, without empathy and acting just a bit menacing toward Bergman’s character to create an uncomfortable edge for the audience watching.  


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?

 

Ingrid’s spinning pov shot as Cary walks towards her.

The glass of liquid glowing similar to the illuminated glass of milk in Suspicion.

LP vinyl record spinning 

Attention drawn to Cary by having him framed in doorway lit from behind

Lead female character expresses dislike of male lead.

 

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

 

Grant illuminated from behind causing him to be in shadow; slowly lit from front as he enters bedroom

Bergman constantly shown in almost in soft focus at start emphasizing her senses being affected by hangover.

Each actor showed independent of each other until 3:43 mark, emphasizing they are of opposing emotions.

 

2b. What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock  trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography?

 

Devlin dressed sharply emphasizing his control over himself and situation. Suit monochromatic. tie firmly in place, creases in pants could probably cut paper. Body posture rigid.

Alicia disheveled, hiding under pile of blankets of loose blankets. When she emerges she’s wearing a blouse the equivalent a striped prisoners uniform. Her midriff briefly displayed indicating her vulnerability. 

 

3a. Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.

 


 

3b. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas? 

 

Everybody wants to be Cary Grant, but do you want to be Cary Grant as Devlin? Grant was known for his romantic light comedies. Devlin is definitely against that type (as was his role in Suspicion.) As intense and dramatic a performance as anyone could want, Grant should have been at least nominated for an Academy Award. Not to mention Hitchcock. But then the Academy always seemed to stiff those two.

 

Ingrid Bergman’s performance on the other hand lived up to her “type” as an excellent actress being able cover a huge range of emotions. That Jenifer Jones received a nomination in 1946 for Duel In The Sun and Bergman didn’t shows Hollywood at it’s most obvious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Notorious, I'm beginning to see a complimentary nature across all of the production design to the script and the portrayals in a Hitchcock film. For example, Hitchcock's German Expressionism influence is still present in this film, though it's been tightened up to speak to predetermined fate. Instead of the large and skewed archways of Rebecca, we see a predominance of larger than life doorways with straight, immovable columns on either side. Hitchcock even begins and ends the movie in with such shots: the reporter looking through the open door at the judge's bench and Alex walking back into the open door of his house to face his own sentence. The image crops up elsewhere as well but is also echoed in the dialogue. Devlin tells Alicia a number of times to keep herself "straight," and she asks what his "angle" his after the canted angle of the daily dose scene. Such angles and the twisting from parallel frames signifies times of choice that will set them on their paths and determine their fate.

 

The costume design plays into the theme of lines as well. At the party and through to morning, Alicia wears a shirt with black horizontal stripes, making her look like a prisoner. In a way, she is, being watched so closely by the feds. Horizontal stripes are also present in the window blinds Devlin looks through in the agent's office as the others look toward Alicia, come to tell them of Alex's proposal. Because of his pride and need to test Alicia, he is trapped now into condoning her marriage.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

 

The Bergman point of view shot of Grant obviously jumps out, but also the doorway framing of each character jumps out. The darkness of Grant jumps out, as Bergman is more of a mix of shades.

 

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


 

As I mentioned, the doorway framing is notable, as is the contrast of Grant's dark suit with Bergman's stripes. The spinning shot is always great (as mentioned in the lecture by Professor Edwards). 


 

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 am a huge fan of this film. I think you get a bit of a flip in this scene of what each character may be known for - you get Bergman clearly not at her best, and Grant may very well look charming but is darker, manipulative. I actually compare this scene a lot to the scene in Vertigo where Stewart and Novak meet, though obviously very different emotions are driving each of the characters. The females are in confused, vulnerable states, and the males each want them in some (essentially perverse) way.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

 

The Hitchcock Touch is immediately apparent in the selection of shots including extreme close-ups, dollies, expressionist angles, etc.  The most prominent “touch” is Hitchcock’s presentation of a beginning attraction between Grant and Bergman that will later involve a third party, Claude Rains.   Hitchcock crosses the spectrum of love, betrayal, mistrust, jealousy and sex.

 

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?

 

Anyone who has ever watched more than one film becomes accustomed to “film language.”  The use of wide shots, medium shots, close-ups, extreme close-ups, high shots looking down, low shots looking up, etc. represent an inherent understanding for the viewer.  Generally, the closer one gets to a subject (person, place or thing), the more important the information is to the story.  Hitchcock uses close-ups and extreme close-ups to convey the angst of these characters, particularly the Bergman character, Alicia.  Alicia is in great turmoil about her father and Hitchcock uses the full force of close-ups so that we plainly see the heartbreak in this broken person.  Hitchcock keeps Grant somewhat at a distance.  We don’t know what his intentions are.  The tilting of the camera as he walks towards Alicia from her point of view signals a bit of uncertainty about Grant’s character for the viewer although, based on his screen/public persona, we are probably not concerned that he is a bad person.  We have probably also concluded that Bergman is not a bad person in her character based on her screen/public persona.  But, there is something vaguely anti-heroic about these characters who wind up acting as patriots for the U.S.   Therefore, Hitchcock has cast Grant and Bergman slightly against type.

 

The costumes certainly contribute.  Audiences of that time and now would expect for Grant to be beautifully dressed in a perfectly tailored suit.  However, there is a stiffness with his coat buttoned in front that implies the no-nonsense stiffness of his character.  Bergman is dressed in a striped dress representing perhaps a “party girl” image.  At the same time, the stripes appear almost like a flag (U.S.?) that may imply Alicia’s basic decency and patriotism (I know, that’s kind of a stretch.) 

 

These are the most the most fundamental Hitchcock “touches” that begin to take on more prominence in Hitchcock 1940s and later films.   

 

 

 

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 casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman is as near perfect casting that I’ve ever seen for a film in terms of raw chemistry.  However, the characters that these actors play somewhat deviate from their screen personas.  Bergman has shown vulnerability in previous films but even more so in this film.  The treatment that Alicia receives from Grant is heartbreaking considering the circumstances of her assignment.  Grant bends his persona slightly to accommodate a certainly cruelty and heartlessness that he shows Bergman midway through the film when she accepts the assignment.  He feels betrayed and jealous of the Claude Rains character.  Grant redeems himself at the end when he rescues Bergman after learning that she has been slowly poisoned.  In other words, his screen persona is sort of bent back into shape by the end of the film. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to say that this is one of my favorite films of all time.  Ingrid Bergman's character breaks my heart.  She is in love with Cary Grant but marries another man just because he wants her to.  The look on her face when they meet at the races and she tells Grant that she has slept with Claude Rains is so touching.  You can see in her face that she wants him to tell her to stop but he just says some callous remark that hurts her.  Grant is very cruel to her through most of the film.  She is basically prostituting herself for the man she loves and he lets her, and spends half the film telling her in some way that she is a ****.

 

Also the woman who plays Claude Rains' mother is AMAZING!   They way she smokes a cigarette.  They way she looks at Bergman.  She is creepy.  One of my favorite villains of all time.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ya gotta love the little sparklies in Bergman's blouse, which takes it from a plain striped shirt to a subtly glamorous costume. Maybe the deeper meaning is that she is actually a gem who needs some cleansing and polishing.

 

The upside down shot of Devlin is, of course, a way of signifying Alicia's confusion and conflict. At first she does what he tells her: "drink that," and then she only drinks a little. Then she refuses to take whatever job he is offering, but then appears to re-consider based on the recording he plays her. Does she do what he tells her, or not? Does she even want to? The character remains conflicted almost until the final scene, when he rescues her from her "deathbed" in Sebastian's house.

 

The close-ups focus your attention on the characters, large and "close up."  This is no travelogue, the places are irrelevant, as is the MacGuffin. Spies and Love all the way.

 

One of the greatest lines in this, or any other, spy/suspense movie, has to be Leopoldine Konstantin's, as Madame Sebastian contemplates the fact that her son has been totally compromised by marrying a spy...

 

Mme. Sebastian: There's no need for them to find out.
Alex: Mathis is very sharp.
Mme. Sebastian: Yes. He dislikes you. But his criticism of your talents wouldn't go that far to imagine that you are married to an American agent. We are protected by the enormity of your stupidity ... for a time.

 

Claude Rains plays a sympathetic character, as he often does, but this raises his situation to Tragic. Ben Hecht's script is brilliant. It glistens like the gems in Alicia's blouse and the uranium on the floor of Sebastian's wine cellar.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi!

In answer to questions 1,2 & 3: Hitch's use of a wide shot then dollying in to a CU of Alicia in bed, clearly not having a good morining yet she is lit in white light and then a LS of Devlin standing almost in silouhette in the doorway are defintely Hitch's touch. Also, Devlin is dressed in a crisp black suit (could be blue for all I know), hair perfectly combed against Alicia's messy hair (she even loses a piece) and dress not to mention the pain in her head that we see through her actions. The use of the upside down camera angle conveys the nausia Alicia feels over to the audience.

With regards to the art direction, when Devlin walks from the bedroom into the livingroom to play the record, the camera angle is looking from the floor up at him as he exits and by the time he plays the record it is on his level. I notice the scones behind him almost resembles a cross ( I may be stretching it) but its a background to Devil-lin (hee hee) maybe a little black humor from Hitch.

The pairing of Grant and Bergman is excellent in my opinion. The back and forth banter between them in the scene is prelude to the sexual heat and overall appeal of the two stars. Outside of Bacall and Humphrey, these are the only two stars I can envision in these roles who can deliver what Hitch wants to convey.. Job well done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love this scene and the pov Hitchcock uses when Cary Grant approaches Ingrid Bergman lying in bed. We see Cary from the point of view of Ingrid yet when she tries to get the angle right, it seems he changes. Its the typical, you don't always see things as they are element in a Hitchcock film. There is distortion, the distortion of truth. 

Then the truth comes out on a recording on vinyl. Very interesting indeed!

 

The contrasts are great. You have Cary, clean cut, in a suit, no wrinkles then a disheveled Ingrid, still wearing her clothes from the previous night, coming out of bed with a hangover. Attempting to get tidied up combing her hair. 

Her vision is all over the place, she is still nursing a hangover and he sees straight and points it all out. He walks with confidence. She walks without ease. 

 

I love the close ups here. There is good chemistry here and why shouldn't that be, they are both well known great actors at the time of this film. Meaning they are not just famous, but excellent quality actors. They work well professionally. I feel this would be their challenge, to excel and have that chemistry and do very well in the film with the adage of fame.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

The close-ups, the POV shot, the use of humor in the dialogue, a flashback, but not a visual one, this time he uses an audio flashback...a nice 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 first view of Bergman is somewhat blurry, which lets you know right off, she is not merely asleep, but in a altered state. :) Her first view of Grant is totally black, and let's us know that is how she views him at this point, dark and sinister and about to ask her to do something she does not want to do. He is about to turn her world upside down....and the POV shot suggests that very strongly. Costuming is superb,Grant perfectly dressed, dapper, Bergman somewhat in disarray after having slept in her clothes.

 

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

I think it challenges both, Grant playing a apparently cold and calculating agent, and not the happy go lucky charming ladies man. Bergman playing a shady member of society and not the glamorous almost aristocratic female lead. She is still GORGEOUS! Had to throw that in there. :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

 

Camera angles! We see an extreme close up of Ingrid Bergman lying in bed (similar to Carole Lombard in Mrs. and Mrs. Smith) and she is drinking something, that, okay is it alcohol or what? Then she sees Cary Grant in the doorway from her POV - slanted to the left, right and upside down.

 

We wonder, is she dreaming or is Cary Grant really standing there?  Perhaps it's Hitchcock's homage to surrealism?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

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

     

    The lighting, the camera angles, the close-ups.

     

  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 well-lit and Grant is in shadows initially - does it apply to their character?  Good vs evil?  It seems as if Grant has the upper hand, Bergman seems fuzzy and hazy in lighting and disheveled in her bed and clothes while Grant is sharp and crisp and seeming to be trying to whittle something out of her.

     

  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? 

     

    Yes, as we read in the notes, Bergman is portrayed as nice and the Lady; Grant seems to be trying to take advantage of that.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1)   The first “touch” I see is right at the beginning of the scene, with the close-ups of Alicia. The way that it cuts from at the foot of the bed to right next to her remind me of the scene from “Shadow of a Doubt”, where hitch does the same cuts from outside Uncle Charlie’s apartment building looking at his window and then being right next to the window. The next “touch” I see is the POV shot of Grant that moves as Bergman is rolling on her back on the bed. The last “touch” is Devlin playing the recorded conversation of Alicia, which to me mimicked an auditory flashback, since the characters were the frame’s focus and there was no other sounds during the playing of it.

 

2)   Hitchcock seems to frame, light, and photograph Ingrid Bergman in more of a less threatening way, where Cary Grant is the opposite. Both are photographed and framed relatively close up, but the lighting is what makes the difference. Bergman appears to be portrayed as indifferent and non-threatening, while Grant, probably from the perspective of Alicia, is portrayed as someone possibly threatening and irritatingly persistent; hence the black outline as our first visual of Devlin.

 

3)  Based off this scene, I think that Ingrid Bergman’s persona is challenged, as is Cary Grant’s. Alicia is someone who seems to be dismissive and borderline belligerent, something not associated with Bergman, while Devlin is acting like a pursuer for professional reasons and not a charmer, which is something not associated with Cary Grant.

 

Even though these personas are challenged in this scene, I feel like it give the actors an opportunity to flex their versatility muscles. Performers, like Bergman and Grant, are so easily put into one category that it makes the universal reason for these actors purpose, to be versatile with each character, seem like it is irrelevant to the business. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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


 As noted by the professors, viewers are disoriented by the canted and upside-down framing of both actors.  Once again, we have slow panning and dollying.

 

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 mobile framing primarily uses medium close-ups and close-up shots.  The lighting draws “lines” all throughout the scene, in varying areas of the rooms to draw attention to the pointed nature of the discussion. 

 

What I noticed most, however, were the graphic relationships throughout costumes and setting—that is, the lines and planes and shapes all seem to cohere into metaphoric messages:  cross pieces in the headboards and the crucifix in the anteroom (a crossroads?); the decorative lines in the walls and on the ceilings (walking a straight line? Crossing lines?); Bergman’s blouse—the horizontal stripes juxtaposed against her question, “What’s your angle?”

 

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 actors seem out of character—Gary Grant is known to us as that high-flying playboy—and Ingrid Bergman as that ingénue who first appeared in white in Casablanca.  Interesting shake-up here with two of America's favorite sweethearts.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

  • What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?
  • As shared in the video discussion, the camera angle that truly makes us feel like we are seeing what Ingrid is seeing from bed ...hungover,  tired, crabby and bothered.  Again ...scenes in the bed, very heavy into those in many films like all life evolves between or on top of the sheets.  Lots of heavy discussion, actors roles that are so sure of themselves and with much fortitude and conviction.

     

  • 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?
  • Up close and highlighting their beauty and the faces that the camera loves.  He is perfectly coiffed, in a suit and 100% sure of his mission to enter her room.  She is at first, weak, sleepy, hungover, but she grows stronger and stronger in a crescendo with the camera pulling back more and more until they are evenly matched .. her dress is without a wrinkle, she looks like she could go out into any flashy nightclub and be ready for action, she combs her hair and fixes it to frame her face and then ...she matches him perfectly like a quick checkmate.  A brilliant metamorphosis!!

     

  • 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? 
  • Hitchcock is known to be successful and these two actors are at their peak of performance and popularity.  It reminds me of today the believe of actors that get to be in one or more Woody Allen or Clint Eastwood films to have the experience and be at the pinnacle of their careers.  They are both so beautiful, yet not perfect in there looks as they have such power before the camera.  I would say they have always been "nice" on the screen and this is new for them as they are more edgy, there is more at stake and they are broadening their roles like never before.  A sexual chemistry is noted as well that was present for the film yet also was a reality in their private lives it seems.  Both are my favorites and to see them in so many Hitchcock films continues to be a gift each time I watch them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The viewer is once again seeing through the eyes of the characters on screen.  We have classic POV shots, with notably brilliant use of it in moments such as the upside down view of Devlin.  

 

Devlin first appears as a dark figure from Alicia's view, but when the camera pans on him speaking, the room is no longer dark.  He is sharply dressed and on point, but Alicia has clearly slept in last night's outfit and is dazed.  I noted the sparkling of sequins in some shots, which reminds the viewer that she is not in sleepwear.   Her large earrings and messed up hair complete the impression that she had fallen asleep drunk.

 

The casting works perfectly in this film, as viewers have a vested interest in the characters who are portrayed by Hollywood royalty.   

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The scene from Notorious is built on point of view shots, Grant observing Bergman, and, more importantly, Bergman's views of Grant. He is standing over her, she is lying on a bed looking up at him. Her views shift as he moves about and bends over her.  They are evaluating each other; Grant has the advantage in position, and, of course, knowledge about her.  As she looks at him, Grant moves through shadows, reflecting her lack of knowledge about him.  He is immaculately groomed, dressed in a business-like suit; he moves slowly and smoothly, in control of the situation. Bergman is in sleeveless, striped top, her hair is tousled, her movements jerky.  Grant is well cast in a role that suits his persona of  cool, sophisticated, and smart, he generally  projects a personal warmth and goodness.  He is holding these qualities back from her in this scene.  Bergman is also well cast as a vulnerable woman whose innate goodness and intelligence have been suppressed but not eliminated.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us