Friday, March 26, 2010

review: Notorious

This is one of the hottest romances. Grant and Bergman are electric. This is the romantic in me talking, but I swear their first kiss takes my breath away. I don't really know if there is a single person better at making love to a woman on screen better than Cary Grant. I think very highly of the Bogart/Bergman romance in Casablanca, but even that pales in comparison to this. I would love to trade places with Bergman and nustle into his shoulder. I swear, everytime he kisses her - my heart skips a little. Grant is an amazing actor in that sense. When he kisses on screen you can see right into his character. Because a kiss is not just a kiss, there is always something behind it, and Grant shows us what is behing the kiss.
The story is really good - an international spy thriller kind of thing. Not Hitchcock's most powerful story, but darn good one.
Acting is phenomenal. I like Bergman in these slightly stronger roles. Not that I don't like her in Casablanca, but she's a lot less weak in this movie. As I said, Grant is amazing. It is interesting to see him in this kind of film - especially after watching so many of his comedies. There is next to nothing to laugh at here and he still commands the screen. You don't notice as much in some of his other movies, but Grant is also a very simple actor - a very readable one; you can tell every inflection he has - but you think you are the only one seeing it. That scene where he coaches her out of bed is so amazing to watch him in. Rains, of course, is wonderful - he is an amazing actor. The perfect non-villian, villian. You can see him being tortured by his mistakes and by what he has to do to her. The supporting cast is also quite wonderful and Leopoldine Konstantin - who plays Rains' mother is so damn creepy. She is the evil one, no doubt.
As par with international spy thrillers, the designs are usually, rightfully always very rich. In movies like these you are almost always sure to have elaborate and very beautiful sets, costumes, etc.
As far as how honored this movie is: it is part of the Criterion collection, in the National Film Registry, and nominated for 2 Oscars.
I personally think it deserves more.
4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars

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