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Dr. Rich Edwards

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

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​The most obvious Hitchcock touch is the angled shot of Cary Grant. I absolutely love this shot, and it was a nice surprise to see this used in Downhill as well​. However, instead of the vulnerability of Ivor Novello's character, this shot in Notorious​ displays Cary Grant's character as being a little intimidating. It also puts you into the mind of Ingrid Bergman's character, which reminds me of the dolly shots in Downhill​. Another part of this clip that stood out to me as a potential Hitchcock touch was the shot looking into the bedroom. As the record is playing, Ingrid Bergman slowly comes into view, worry on her face. I don't know the exact reason, but I just really liked this shot. It's almost suspenseful in a way, because the record is playing something that could be used against her and we are waiting for her reaction.

 

The lighting in the opening scene contrasts between characters in a meaningful way. As he stands in the doorway, the light is behind him, casting his shadow and making his face difficult to see. However, the lighting on Ingrid Bergman is brighter. I think this (even if not intended) signifies the kind of people they are, and plays along with the intimidating feeling from the angled shot of Cary Grant. Additionally, as has been brought out already, Cary Grant is dressed very sharp, while Ingrid Bergman is dressed simpler--very tastefully done. This shows us that he is someone important (an agent), while she is a more common person.

 

I think this scene definitely challenges the personas of these two stars. Cary Grant usually plays a lovable character, sometimes comedic. But in ​Notorious​, his character seems dark, a little cold, and demanding, as well as intimidating as I have already brought out. Ingrid Bergman also usually played lovable characters, the good girls (which is interesting, because I remember hearing that she wanted to switch roles with Lana Turner and play the bad girl in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, because she was tired of playing the same good roles). In this movie, Ingrid Bergman's character doesn't seem perfect and is mixed up in some dark business. For both actors, I think these changes are great, because I love to see my favorite actors playing different characters.

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  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?  Hitchcock was not afraid to try a range of shots and styles throughout his career. The angled shot of Cary Grant and the rotation of the shot as he walks towards Bergman is probably the most obvious. The shot of Cary in the doorway and the close up of Bergman as she's in bed also have the Hitchcock touch.  
  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 is in shadow and we he is alone in frame he is lit darker than Bergman who has more light in her own scenes. It is in-between we they are both in the shot. Showing Grant looking over Bergman as she is in bed adds to the sinister nature of his character and to his dominance over Bergman. 

     

  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 cast out of his usual type while Bergman plays a character similar to others in her career. 

 

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The Hitchcock "touches" in this early scene include Alicia's (Ingrid Bergman's) pov shots of Devlin (Cary Grant). the tracking shot as Devlin goes into Alicia's bedroom the second time (as the recording plays), and Devlin's manipulation of Alicia.

 

The contrast between these two characters is quite distinct: Devlin is sharply dressed and in control of the situation whereas Alicia is in a hangover haze dressed in frumpy party dress.   As others have noted, the segment within this scene where Devlin pushes Alicia to drink from the glass is reminiscent of the scene from Suspicion where Cary Grant ascends a staircase with a glowing glass on a tray which he tries to get Joan Fontaine to drink from.

 

Having seen the movie previously, I cannot imagine a better cast for this story.  Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman were two of the most glamorous stars of the era and ideally suited for this story of espionage and sophisticated enemy agents in post-war Brazil.  

 

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1.    What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? Definitely a touch is the roll of the camera and the dark framing of Grant in the doorway.

 

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 out of focus, commenting on her current mental state and the winding POV shot shows the movement that she is going through. Grant is shadowy and dark without much direct light, possibly indicating his work and/or agency.

 

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 goes slightly against type, he's not the charming, humorous man about town, he's much more darker. Bergman is playing a similar role to the few movies that I have seen her in.

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1. The main Hitchcock touches in this scene are the varieties of shots, angles, and framing sequences. The personalities of the characters come out in this little bit.

2. Cary is framed and shot in darkness and shadows, which indicate his hardness and the tasks he has at hand. Ingrid is disjointed and troubled, indicating her vulnerablity and her steeliness.

3. They both are playing to and expanding their archetypes. Cary especially comes off as tough. It would have been interesting to see him play in more noir films. He could have pulled it off!

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  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?                  The elements that stand out most to me are the uses of light and shadows, focus on an object that will later become an important part of the plot (the glass), the silhouette of Cary Grant in the doorway and the camera angle as he walks from the doorway over above Ingrid Bergman. 

     

  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? You begin with Cary Grant in the shadows. He is dressed in a nice suit. Ingrid Bergman is introduced in the light. She is wearing a more casual outfit. Cary Grant is far away, Ingrid Bergman is close up. 

 

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 this film was a great role change for Cary Grant. He is charming and is mostly seen in comedies, but I think he was able to channel that charm and use it in a more dark and complicated way. 

 

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1)  The touches that stood out for me are the close up of Alicia and the rotating shot of Devlin as he comes into the room.  I also like the continuation of the scenes shot through doorways with one character on each side.  This is similar to the door/mirror shot in The Ring however; a bit more complicated in that both characters end up meeting in the doorway suggesting they come to an agreement or understanding.

 

2)  Devlin is sharp dressed but shot in shadows to begin with, giving him an odd contrast of mystery or maybe danger and control.  Alicia, on the other hand, is shot close up and in soft light giving her a fuzzy, disheveled, vulnerable look.  

 

3)  In the Cary Grant films I've seen, he always plays a "nice guy" and although I have not seen this film yet, I get the distinct feeling his character is hard and cold.  Seeing Ingrid Bergman playing a role where she is drunk is definitely departure from her roles Casablanca and Gaslight.  She has such a "good girl" image that I'm looking forward to seeing if she can pull this off.

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Bergman's a mess in this scene, definitely playing against type. First, she is not lit for glamour. Though she still gets some nice hair highlights and a tear near the end that looks like a diamond beneath her eye, she doesn't quite have the star lighting that generally emphasizes her luminous beauty.  

 

More notable, in my opinion, is what her look tells us about her character.  What kind of woman goes to bed in last night's party clothes?  THAT kind!  And in her dishabille we see her unattractively picking something off her tongue and handling her hair rat- things you don't expect to see a star do.   Grant, on the other, is sleekly and sharply put together, so creased and slicked back that he looks like a cut out. Grant being Grant, in other words. The pairing says he's a man with the upper hand who's got it all together, while poor Ingrid is at a definite disadvantage.

 

I have to say the shot where she's framed in the door, listening to the recording of herself and her father is just a gorgeous bit of acting.  The look on her face changes several times, leading to the end of the scene where she tries again to "hang tough," spitting out "I didn't turn him in."  It's a great reaction shot and shows the wonderful softness beneath the tougher exterior. No wonder Hitchcock wanted her in his films.  

 

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Just a few thoughts after looking at the daily dose and the lecture video.  There is a lot of melancholy and sadness is a lot of Hitchcock's films.  We always think of his films as suspenseful, or terrifying, but there are some that are just sad. The Skin Game is one that comes to mind. Downhill, while it had a happy ending of sorts there was sadness there.  Having seen Notorious before and loving it.  I will now look at it from a different point of view.  There is a hardness to Cary Grant that you kind of over look, because of who is or his persona, but now I will look at this with different eyes.  It is a wonderful film and of course Claude Raines is just magnificent.

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

     

    The shots are tight. The characters are first shown concealed, Alicia by sheets, Devlin by shadow. Devlin is showed in unusual camera angles, a dutch tilt at first which rotates completely around. This also reveals Alicia's frame of mind. Devlin, then later both characters are framed in a doorway. The dialog starts economical, but then goes on to more exposition.

     

  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 a mess. Her hair is mussed, she is sleeping in her clothes. Grant is Grant. He is perfect in appearance, but he is a mystery. He is concealed in shadow. He 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? 

     

    I think Grant is cast against type here, but it works. He is not very likable here and that would have challenged audiences at the time. I also think Bergman is cast to type, at least in comparison to Casablanca. She is in a situation that she needs to escape from. In this scene, she is escaping through alcohol.

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

 

The obvious one was mentioned in the lecture video.  Hitchcock uses the same cantered shot that he used in "Downhill", which gives a great POV shot for Bergman's character.  In addition, we see him framed in the doorway, again a POV shot.  Lighting seems darker, foreboding, suggesting a hint of mystery to the Cary Grant character.  Hitchcock uses sound as well, with music, and using the recording to back up Grant's accusations.  Masterful scene by the Master!

 

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?

 

​Again, he his using shadows and light in a muted way to help set the foreboding tone of the scene.  It makes Grant look hard, and not a nice guy like we normally see him play.  He's tough, and he's calling the Bergman character out. She is disheveled, and obviously coming out of a drunken bender.  She looks haggard, spent.  He is dressed neatly.  This contrasts their differences.  He is in charge.  She is going to be his subordinate.  It seems that she is going to need him in some way.  It's been a while since I've seen this movie, so I am drawing on muted memories.

 

 

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? 

 

​They were both extremely well known and well like stars.  They were guaranteed box office.  But I think both films are a bit of a departure from their normal film roles.  They are more dark, sinister, and certainly more real.  Their characters are round, dynamic characters that definitely reveal much about them as "real" people.  Of course, Bergman's public persona was changed after the Rosellini affair, but this is before.  It's a great film that I will be watching again later this weekend.

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Daily Dose #12 - Notorious

 

Hitchcock touches that are in this scene from NOTORIOUS include the spiraling camera work where we see Grant ultimately upside down, the close up of Ingrid’s face, and the record player conversation as a sort of flashback (giving us information on plot).

 

Devlin is first shown to us in dark shadows, and with the dizziness of the spiraling shot on him, we are clued in that he is complex and we are not sure if we can trust him completely. He is very poised, calm and well-dressed and continues to retain he upper hand, ultimately with the information he has on her. Bergman, on the other hand is a mess; disheveled and still in bed, wearing clothes from the night before, her hair literally falling apart, and she is wrought with a hangover. Her black and white dress also shows us her dual side and we are also unsure if she can be trusted. By the end of the scene, however, we know, as they both are equally facing the camera and now on the same side.

 

The casting of Grant and Bergman is a success as they are both captivating visually on screen and they are both very skilled at the art of acting. They are believable in these roles and the movie would not hold the same tension if they were not. Cary pulls off *flippant* seamlessly (an integral part of Devlin’s nature) and Bergman is great at looking personally tortured while also maintaining her composure (a necessary trait for Alicia).

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1.  Once again we have moved away from the crowd scenes and into the 2 person scene with the 2 people being the 2 most important persons in the film, like Maxim and the Second Mrs DeWinter, and Mr and Mrs Smith. Using the downcast head with one open eye is reminiscent of Mr and Mrs Smith but Devlin's voice tries to wake Alicia to drink her, probable, bicarb, unlike Mr Smith's unwillingness to wake his wife for coffee. . She is bored by talk of Nazi work and patriotism and she covers her head at it.  

 2. Bergman's face is viewed primarily in close up as she is the most important person in the scene but Devlin is viewed in far shot as he walks to the record player and upside down. I wonder if the upside down might be a hint that his motives are not all what they seem to be.  He is surrounded by shadow at times. A shadowy figure. Bergman's face it always well lit.

Bergman's gown is striking. I kept looking at it because of the sequins and also because of the ornate zipper pull at the back. She had obviously been in bad shape to sleep in it. Finally, her hair piece had come loose from the back of her head and her instinct was to re-attach it, to no avail. Devlin is the plain, dark suit. Close cropped hair. No ornamentation. It might seem to be straightforward, but he could also be straight-laced and judgmental. 

3. I read recently about Cary Grant in the book, Dark Angel. In it, he is described as having a dark side that can be seen even in his comedies. It certainly shows here. He is cold, dark, vindictive, and he seems self-righteous about his actions toward Alicia. In the end, when he saves her and redeems himself, I am glad but the feeling of darkness lingers. Ingrid Bergman's self-sacrifice doesn't seem new at all. Casablanca, and The Bells of St. Mary's both come to me as examples. But the wayward girl does seem new. I find Bergman hard to believe early in this movie because I have Ingrid mixed up with Alicia. If I leave Ingrid behind, Bergman's Alicia is beautifully believable. The scene where her temper blows up in the car is wonderful!

 

 

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​1. Some Hitchcock touches that I see in this scene are the POV shots/rotating camera of Devlin standing over Alicia, as mentioned in the video, the use of light and shadow to contrast characters, and the importance of sound (even if not music) to set the tone or in this case give us information.

 

​2. Devlin's character is in shadow at the very beginning, as opposed to Alicia, bathed in light. It makes Devlin (whose name is in itself similar to Devil) dark and mysterious, almost a menacing figure. Alicia also has a sparkly outfit, which gives her even more light. Another contrast is Alicia's messiness and hangover, compared to Devlin's put-together-ness and clarity of mind. He also seems to have power over her because she drinks whatever is next to her at his command even though she obviously hates it. She wants nothing to do with helping him at the beginning, but by the end they are in the same shot, and he is in light, showing visually that they are on the same page as well as audibly, when the record reveals she is not loyal to the Nazis.

 

​3. I think that Grant and Bergman are very well cast for this film, but it goes against their usual personas. Bergman is usually elegant and sophisticated, but this role calls for most recklessness and less of a concern for her appearance, or at least a different standard for herself. Grant is usually a leading romantic man, but we are not immediately informed of his goodness of character, and he is definitely more rough around the edges and less comedic in other roles. But the fact that they both can pull off this change in persona just speaks to how well they can act and work together. The romance still works.

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


 


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


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


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  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?  Clever use of lighting and the subtle touches of shadow to suggest a window, for example, in the bedroom -- more German Expressionist influence.  The POV shot of Bergman looking at Grant is amazing, ending up with a view of Grant upside down and showing the ceiling (which was likely very difficult to do on a sound stage!).  

     

  2. How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene?What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock  trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography?  As most have already noted, Grant is shown in black, usually associated with sinister or 'devilish' characters.  I particularly like the way Grant pronounces the character's name -- not as the usual two-syllable DEV-lin, but as three syllables -- DEVIL-in.  I am intrigued by the choice of the blouse with heavy black horizontal lines for Bergman.  The style, with what appear to be sequins for a bit of glitter, suggests something that a party girl might wear, yet the horizontal black lines also suggest what is sometimes associated with a prison uniform.  A woman imprisoned by her past, perhaps?  I may be way off, but it's an interesting thought.

     

  3. Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas? I think it's a mixed bag.  For Grant, I think the scene is a challenge, having appeared in what were essentially romantic or screwball comedies (The Philadelphia Story and His Girl Friday) and a dark comedy (Arsenic and Old Lace) prior to Notorious.  In the example scene, he comes across as cold, uncaring and controlling   Bergman, however, exhibits some of the vulnerable wholesomeness with a strength and fire just beneath the surface, as seen in her iconic Casablanca role.
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What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

The casting is perfection if we consider the 4 Functions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Possibly a personal commentary.

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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