This masterpiece of post-war crime drama is marked by Bergman’s sensitive portrayal of Alicia, a war criminal’s party-girl daughter who is offered a chance at freedom by US agent Devlin (Cary Grant) in exchange for collecting secrets from a surviving Nazi scientist (Claude Rains). In classic Hitchcock fashion, things are further complicated when Alicia and Devlin fall in love.
The shifty nature of Notorious (including its slippery gender politics) is structural. This explains why the film’s life is not over, and we will continue to renovate its secrets for some time.
With shifting narrative subjectivity, tense set pieces, and complex cinematography by Ted Tetzlaff, Notorious is a deep reflection on miscommunication, conspiracy and dependence. Over the decades its reputation has continued to grow, and the film is now considered among both Hitchcock and Bergman’s best.
– Andréas Giannopoulos, Melbourne Cinémathèque, committee member