(Review originally written at 26 April 2008)

In my opinion '40's thrillers are often being forgotten and underrated. Thrillers from the '40's always know to create a perfect tense atmosphere, which truly enriches the movie's its tension, making those movies often genuinely tense ones to watch. "Notorious" is one fine example of this '40's thriller making movie style.

Alfred Hitchcock movies in general from the '40's and earlier, are often more or less forgotten ones, or at least not as good known as his later works. His '50's and '60's movies are much better known. A shame, since he truly already did some amazing things in the '30's and '40's, of which this movie of course a great example. Of course he also had some misses in his careers but this movie really hits the mark.

What I first noticed when watching this movie, from pretty early on in the movie, is how incredibly similar the story and some sequences are to "Mission: Impossible II". Sounds strange, since "Mission: Impossible II" is by no means a great movie, or one that is being praised for its amazingly clever story. Yet "Notorious" follows a very similar plot line but yet it works out an infinite times better in this movie. I must say that this is probably due to the Hitchcock touch, that provides the movie with lots of style and flair as well as some incredibly well build up and executed sequences.

The movie has some real classic thriller moments, such as a sequences involving champagne bottles (not going to spoil any more of it) and a great memorable ending.

Like basically all '40's and older movies, the movie starts of rather slow and formulaic but once things really start to take off (from the moment on they land in Rio) the movie just grabs you by the throat with its story, characters, atmosphere and thriller moments.

It's one fine looking movie with some real great camera-work. The movie uses a couple of really innovating shots and some incredibly good compositions, also often with a symbolic value for its story in it. The more times you'll see this movie, the more you'll notice.

The movie is also really well cast, with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in the main leads. It was not the first collaborations between this director and actors and it also wouldn't be the last. But the man who perhaps plays the finest role in the movie is Claude Rains, as the movie its 'villain'.

Seriously, spy-thrillers can't really get any better than this!


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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