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Notorious: Criterion Collection (1946) - Blu-ray Review

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Notorious: Criterion Collection (1946)

You can’t say that Hitchcock didn’t warn audiences of Hitler.  He made several films with Hitler’s world view overhanging the shadows in each frame.  But, after a decade in Hollywood, Alfred Hitchcock took that warning to a new level and gave audiences the ultimate romance between a German American woman and a spy for the United States while at the same time addressing the consequences of Nazi Germany in a very complex film which he proudly flexed as his cast was pure cinematic gold.

"a definite showcase of masterfully executed suspense"


Notorious, now on blu-ray with a stunning 4K treatment from Criterion Collection, is a definite showcase of masterfully executed suspense as bitterness undercuts the atmosphere of romance time and time again hence the broken wine bottle full of uranium ore that is a centerpiece of this movie..   

Starring the ever-alluring Ingrid Bergman as Alicia Huberman and Cary Grant, whose suaveness knows no limits, Notorious is the story of two men in love with the same woman.  This woman, who is very much unsure of what to do with herself at the beginning of the movie in Miami, finds herself at odds with how they see her sexuality as a defining statement into who she is.  The other man in this equation is Claude Rains as Alex Sebastian, who is the leader of the Nazi ring of spies and one of her father’s friends, but there are far more complications to this twisted love story than mere feelings.  Notorious: Criterion Collection (1946)

This is a spy thriller, after all, and the drama is first and foremost as government agent T. R. Devlin (Grant) finds himself recruiting Alicia Huberman, the American daughter of a convicted Nazi spy, to help America locate some smuggled uranium from the Nazis.  But, with warm glances and smiling lips, their mutual attraction for each other tries to get the way of her recruitment.  Try as he may, Devlin finds himself falling for her and not wanting her to try and seduce anyone but himself.  

But the mission to seduce Sebastian is first and foremost and, and Devlin must bury his feelings so that Alicia can infiltrate the Nazi spies.  He just didn’t know she would marry him . . . 

. . . and it all hinges on scoring the key to a wine cellar, where the secret of the Nazi industrialist is stored.  And, keeping with the spirit of Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense gives us a tracking shot to rule all others as Sebastian’s Rio de Janeiro mansion is filmed at a high angle and finally rests with a close-up of a stolen key.  Notorious is mood perfection thanks to its cast, its director, the music, and cinematographer Ted Tetzlaff (The Window).  The film, in all its REEL CLASSIC glory, is now a part of the Criterion Collection.

5/5 stars

Notorious: Criterion Collection (1946)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

With this twisted love story, Alfred Hitchcock summoned darker shades of suspense and passion by casting two of Hollywood’s most beloved stars starkly against type. Ingrid Bergman plays Alicia, an alluring woman with a checkered past recruited by Devlin (Cary Grant), a suave, mysterious intelligence agent, to spy for the U.S. Only after she has fallen for Devlin does she learn that her mission is to seduce a Nazi industrialist (Claude Rains) hiding out in South America. Coupling inventive cinematography with brilliantly subtle turns from his mesmerizing leads, Hitchcock orchestrates an anguished romance shot through with deception and moral ambiguity. A thriller of rare perfection, Notorious represents a pinnacle of both its director’s legendary career and classic Hollywood cinema.

Video:

The 4K digital restoration is absolutely stunning!  Framed in a 1.37:1 aspect ratio, Notorious’s restoration is a glorious monument to stirring black-and-white cinematography as the details in each of the rooms (AND THE DOORS) absolutely burst out of the edges of this transfer with depth and surprising detail.  You will get sucked into the life of the wealthy as the riches herein tease and tantalize you, begging you to pick them up and never, never let them go - this includes the wine bottles.  The locations in this film- with clean black lines and sparkling grays - is intoxicating.  This is a grand transfer with a clarity that is appreciated and thanks to the work here it looks all the more gorgeous.  Truly a wonderful handling of this transfer.

Audio:

This release is made complete with the addition of the uncompressed monaural soundtrack.  Get swept away!

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Fans get audio commentaries from 1990 and 2001 featuring film historian Rudy Behlmer and Alfred Hitchcock scholar Marian Keane

Special Features:

Fans are in for a treat with this 4K digital restoration of Notorious.  There are new interviews, new featurettes, and rare glimpses at the making of the movie.  As an added bonus, there is an essay by critic Angelica Jade Bastién about the significance of the movie.

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with Hitchcock biographer Donald Spoto
  • New program about the film’s visual style with cinematographer John Bailey
  • New scene analysis by film scholar David Bordwell
  • Once Upon a Time . . . “Notorious,” a 2009 documentary about the film featuring actor Isabella Rossellini; filmmakers Peter Bogdanovich, Claude Chabrol, and Stephen Frears; and others
  • New program about Hitchcock’s storyboarding and previsualization process by filmmaker Daniel Raim
  • Newsreel footage from 1948 of actor Ingrid Bergman and Hitchcock
  • Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of Notorious from 1948, starring Bergman and Joseph Cotten
  • Trailers and teasers

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

5/5 stars

Notorious: Criterion Collection (1946)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
102 mins
Director
: Alfred Hitchcock
Writer:
Ben Hecht
Cast:
Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains
Genre
: Drama | Film-noir
Tagline:
Electric Tension!
Memorable Movie Quote: "There's nothing like a love song to give you a good laugh"
Theatrical Distributor:
RKO Radio Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 6, 1946
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 15, 2019.
Synopsis: A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them?

Notorious: Criterion Collection (1946)

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