|Grant and Bergman embrace.|
Grant's Devlin is Hitchcock's most conflicted hero, and one difficult to root for. Suave, witty, and handsome, he can also be rude and nasty. Deeply in love with the woman he has endangered, it is Grant's most serious role. His barely controlled emotion in several scenes with Bergman are some the best acting of his long career. When Alicia comes to tell Prescott she'll act as spy, she all but begs Devlin to tell her not too. His mouth tightens and he leaves the room. Later, during one of their clandestine rendezvous she tells him that he can add Sebastian's name to her list of playmates. He is more visibly angry, his voice projecting disgust, but it is not with Alicia, but rather with himself. She is merely following orders.
Devlin proves Grant a considerably more versatile actor than his common persona suggests. He never played anyone quite like it before or since. One thinks of Cary Grant as a likable rouge, but Devlin is hardly a character to elicit our sympathy. That role belongs to one of the villains of the film, Sebastian, and that's one of aspects film that makes the film so interesting. Claude Rains—a consistently great supporting actor—makes us feel sorry for him, a Nazi! He is trusting and vulnerable. He genuinely loves Alicia, and unlike Devlin, openly admits it. His shock at her duplicity is painful to watch.
Notorious is slight on action but full of suspense as one should expect from Hitchcock. Grant is convincing as the agent who can keep his cool when needed. No one wore a suit better and it's no wonder that Rains' character is jealous of the man. His suspicions are aroused when he finds the two kissing in the basement after they've inspected some strange bottles of champagne.
Alicia: What does the speedometer say?
Alicia: I want to make it 80 and wipe that grin off your face.
The film has an elegant look, heightened by the black and white cinematography. These Nazis have money. Famed Hollywood costume designer Edith Head designed Bergman's gorgeous wardrobe. Though inexplicably not for this, Head was nominated for 35 Oscars.
|"You can add Sebastian's name to my list of playmates."|
|Sebastian confesses to his mother.|
- Suspicion 1941
- To Catch a Thief 1955
- North by Northwest 1959
Grant performances nominated for Best Actor:
- Penny Serenade 1941
- None But the Lonely Heart 1944