Notorious [Blu-Ray] Alfred Hitchcock

Notorious [Blu-Ray] Alfred Hitchcock
Much of the hullaballoo over Hitchcock's Notorious was about the purported romance between government agent T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant) and reluctant, self-destructive alcoholic spy Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman). Early in the film, they do a great deal of making out while exchanging breathy, romanticized, albeit playfully sarcastic, dialogue, which, in truth, was a bit racier and more romantic than typical Hitchcock. However, this supposed love story turns into a series of manipulative, passive-aggressive bids and unspoken bitterness once Alicia marries a Nazi (Claude Rains) that likes to frequently comment on the attractiveness of other men. Devlin vacillates between championing Huberman as an intelligent woman worthy of his affections and dismissing her as a drunken whore. Surely, this sly subversion and examination of the effects of espionage on the human psyche was Hitchcock's focus, having a history of playing with the movie star image of apple pie celebrities like Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart in stories about antiheroes with morally ambiguous heroines. But what distinguishes the artistically lauded Notorious from other noire works from the master auteur was the political didactics injected by Zionist screenwriter Ben Hecht, wherein the implication that a German presence was still a concern even though the physical battles had ended. It gives the slowly building tension of the film and discomforting presence of suspect secondary characters, such as Leopoldine Konstantin, as a sinister Nazi matriarch, added dramatic context, especially considering that this was released in 1946. Included with the Blu-Ray are some "Making of" ersatz academic supplements that discuss this context, along with the decision of Producer David O. Selznick to sell the film mid-production to RKO Pictures when Duel in the Sun went way over budget. There are also two commentary tracks from film professors that genuinely sound like tedious first-year film lectures, only the latter track from Drew Casper has a hint of tenured schizophrenia. There are also some radio spots, Hitchcock interviews, an isolated music and effects track, and a restoration comparison so that we can appreciate the final product in our hands. (Fox)