Notorious (1946)

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Released 11-Feb-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Gallery-Photo-12
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Spellbound, Rebecca
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Scene Selection Animation
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1946
Running Time 97:16
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (56:42) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Alfred Hitchcock
Studio
Distributor

MRA Entertainment
Starring Cary Grant
Ingrid Bergman
Claude Rains
Louis Calhern
Leopoldine Konstantin
Reinhold Schünzel
Moroni Olsen
Ivan Triesault
Alex Minotis
Wally Brown
Charles Mendl
Ricardo Costa
Eberhard Krumschmidt
Case ?
RPI ? Music Roy Webb


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     "Miami. Florida. Three-Twenty P.M., April the Twenty-Fourth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty-Six."

    Hitchcock's Notorious is an outstanding romantic thriller, set in post-World War II Rio. This film is comparable to Hitchcock's classic Vertigo in that it deals with the sometimes cruel games that lovers play and applies a similarly dark twist to emotions, lust and romance.

    Ingrid Bergman gives one of her most notable screen performances as Alicia Huberman, the daughter of a recently imprisoned Nazi spy. We first meet Alicia as her father's trial is ending, and the media circus is beginning to focus upon her with keen interest. Retreating to the bottle in shame, her prospects as a patriotic citizen combined with being the daughter of a treasonous man appear less than bright. Enter Devlin (Carey Grant), an agent for American Intelligence who recruits Alicia to spy on a suspected cell of Nazis operating from Rio De Janeiro. In the days leading up to her commencing her mission, the two fall in love and embark on a passionate affair - an affair that comes to a screaming halt once Devlin learns the nature of her assignment. She is to seduce Alex Sebastian, one of the Nazi members who was previously a friend of her father's and to make matters worse, he was her former lover to boot. Devlin savagely brushes Alicia aside and denies his love for her even though she is merely performing her task, and when the Nazi sympathiser asks for her hand in marriage she finds herself in an awkward and life-threatening position with nowhere to turn.

    There are a number of factors that combine to make this a worthwhile and suspenseful outing. The story by Ben Hecht is complemented by some of the most memorable dialogue I have heard from a film of this era, and the cast clearly revelled in the wit and complexity of the script. Carey Grant plays the emotional manipulator Devlin with astonishing cruelty and force, so much so that as an audience we begin to side with the overly charming Nazis! This is of course the intent of our director, twisting and contorting our perception of their relationship until it is unrecognisable. It isn't until Devlin sees the error of his ways that we are reminded of his humanity.

    The direction by Hitchcock is of course second to none and may be attributed to Producer David A. Selznick granting the filmmaker free reign over the creative aspects of the film. The result is a dramatic and darkly suspenseful journey through the destructive nature of jealousy, and arguably one of Hitchcock's finer moments.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This black and white video transfer is presented in an aspect of 1.33:1 and is framed closely to its original aspect of 1.37:1. In short, the film appears to be in good condition for its age.

    Sharpness and general clarity is adequate and doesn't present any major issues. The first reel of film exhibited the most variances in detail and contrast, but is still in fine condition. Many scenes are shot in a romantic soft focus which negates a little too much detail for my tastes. This is the way Hitchcock wanted it, so who am I to argue? There are good examples of solid blacks for a film of this vintage, and shading is relatively consistent.

    Compression artefacts are nowhere to be seen in this transfer. A little grain is visible now and then, particularly some pieces of stock footage, but is in no way problematic. Film artefacting is limited to a few minor specks and scratches here and there. Aliasing is thankfully absent.

    There is no subtitle streams on this disc.

    This disc is RSDL formatted (DVD9), with the layer transition placed during the feature at 56:42. The transitional pause is very well placed in a black, silent moment and is barely noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono) soundtrack included.

    Vocal delivery is always distinct and easy to understand. There are no issues concerning audio sync at all.

    The soundtrack is in good condition and apart from a couple of minor clicks is relatively problem free.

    The soundtrack score by Roy Webb ranges from majestic and romantic to bitter and cold, taking the viewers' emotions on a parallel journey with the story. The score is simultaneously effective and subtle without drawing unnecessary attention.

    There is no surround activity or subwoofer response in this soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are a couple of small bonus features included on the disc. None of the features are 16x9 enhanced.

Menu

    The menu pages are silent and decorated with stills from the film. The scene selection menu is animated, with access to 14 chapter stops within the film.

Photo Gallery (12)

    There are twelve stills taken from the film itself, viewable individually or in a scrolling montage.

Trailers (3)

    The original Theatrical Trailer for Notorious is included, along with trailers for two other films by Selznick and Hitchcock - Spellbound and Rebecca.

Filmographies (4)

    Ingrid Bergman, Carey Grant, Alfred Hitchcock and David O. Selznick each receive a brief summary of their life's work and a listing of their most well known films. The Hitchcock filmography is extensive and touches on some of his early work as an assistant director.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film was released in Region 1 by Anchor Bay on a bare bones disc, with a reportedly inferior print.

    Criterion have also released this film with a transfer that is comparable to the Region 4, in that it includes windowboxed opening credits. The Criterion edition also includes the following extras:

    The Region 2 release is presented on a single layered disc, and includes the following additional features:

    For Hitchcock aficionados, the Criterion is clearly the ideal purchase.

Summary

    Notorious is a finely produced and often overlooked film that successfully blends suspense, romance and jealousy into a remarkable example of post-war cinema. The performances from Bergman and Grant are exemplary and the screenplay is sharp and witty, even by today's standards.

    The video transfer is surprisingly clean and well restored.

    The audio transfer is a rendition of the original mono.

    There are a couple of small extras included.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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