Cary Grant stars as a smooth talking secret agent who wants the boozing daughter of a convicted Nazi (Ingrid Bergman) to be a spy for the American government down in
Grant’s debonair good looks, impeccable charm and unflappable sense of humor in the face of danger always made him the ideal leading man for the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Here he adds variable shades of grey to his usual persona and in turn, delivers one of his best performances. Bergman looks as beautiful as ever and Rains, one of the most underrated actors of all time, does a fine job as the lovelorn Nazi with a domineering mother.
All the plot stuff about mixed loyalties and spying shenanigans are perfunctory as the real core of the story is the love affair between Bergman and Grant. They’re really wonderful and their chemistry together makes up for the particularly sluggish pacing. Despite the underwhelming stuffy machinations of the plot, Notorious is still worthwhile to see Hitchcock flexing his stylistic muscles. Some of the camerawork is inventive and the famous “kissing” scene between the two leads (originally designed to get around the Hayes Code’s three second kiss rule) is quite memorable.
The Paradine Case was the Master’s next.