Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Out of the Past - Investigating Film Noir: Alfred Hitchcock's Notorius (1946)

Episode 14: Notorious
Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir

The question of whether Hitchcock is a noir director remains open. What is certain is that by 1946 noir aesthetics began to inflect every genre from the Holiday picture ("It's a Wonderful Life") to the espionage/thriller film. Like "The Third Man," "Notorious" is best described as the latter, for its political and geographical scope exceed what is typical of noir, and justice is defined and done in unambiguous terms. Nevertheless, at crucial moments a noir camera vision is manifest. More importantly, Hitchcock has his stars play their darkest roles: Bergman is the alcoholic tramp daughter of a convicted Nazi; Grant plays the cold-hearted and sadistic spy who is her only hope.

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