Sunday, April 12, 2009

Notorious (the Alfred Hitchcock version, not BIG)

I have always maintained, a little arrogantly, that I hate Alfred Hitchcock. There's a couple of reasons for this: (1) I saw Birds, and bits of Psycho, and they are def not my idea of an enjoyable afternoon. (2) He and Quentin Tarantino are the gods of the pretentious film student, and I try to stay away from their stereotypes.

But pairing Ingrid Bergman with Cary Grant? Well played, Alfie.

I had to watch some clips of this in my production design class, and I paid special attention since in my production class I have been all Noir-obsessed. The three clips I saw kind of fit in with my short film's story really well, so I could steal some of the cinematography. Tonight I finally got around to watching the whole thing, because NB wouldn't let me have the TV on (it was distracting him from work) and I wanted to feel like I was doing homework without actually having to do anything...

Anyway, I would strongly recommend this, for when you are in the mood to feel cultured but watch trash (let's face it, these things are essentially thriller pulps...), and when you want to cry about how people back in the day were so much better than they are today. Especially the men. And the women had sweet clothes and got to be drunk all the time... oh. No change there.

Plotty: After Alicia(Ingie)'s German-sympathizer-actual-German-war-profiteering-or-something father is thrown in prison, Devlin (Cary), an American agent, recruits her to use her connections to dig up dirt for the Americans. Her job is to seduce Alexander Sebastian, an old friend of her father's who happens to already be in love with her and is also a big bad German. Natch, she and Cary have fallen in love so things go all topsy turvy.

I don't want to give a good/bad, because all the things that I might consider bad are so retro-fun that they kind of make the movie for me. Such as long panning shots where you can feel the camera man walking around. The 'binocular' viewpoint. The rear projection for the exterior 'Rio' shots that were actually filmed on a sound stage. And that point at the end of the first act when the two leads proclaim their love for each other and everyone in the modern audience is like ... whaaa?! Didn't you guys JUST meet???

Other than that awkward moment, the romance was fantabulastic. I adore Ingrid, yes, because she had a great trenchcoat in Casablanca, and who can resist a good trenchcoat? I'd like to say I love Cary Grant, but as it turns out, I haven't seen anything on his IMDB. Although he is 'First Sailor' in a movie called Singapore Sue, so that gets him mega props right there. Whatever it is, the two of them make a great couple.

She is all 'I love you and I know you love me, I won't sleep with this other man if you say so...' and he's like 'I won't say I love you, see if I care if you sleep with him, if you want to sleep with him GO AHEAD' and she's like 'fine eff you I will!' and then he is all bummed. In real life (um, the real lives of my friends?) this situation either ends with her going 'oh no I would never' and he continues to not love her, or she says FINE and then... he really doesn't care.

(Actually, it's probably movies like these that make women believe that men are more noble than they are when they are being douchey. Because we/I would love to believe that they are pining inside but have to hold their feelings in to be manly, when actually they have completely forgotten about you since they have some weed and video games to hang out with instead...)

(Yea... I got pretty personal with all this... projecting...)

Even as individuals, they are pretty bad-ass. She is drunk all the time and taunts him by hinting about sex, and he is completely blase about the fact that she is drunk driving him around town, or that he just made a HUGE mess and has 5 seconds to clean it up before the bad guys catch him. Speaking of, the bigbad, Sebastian, is quite a sympathetic bad guy. He is quite genuinely in love with her and romantic, and doesn't seem terribly evil. And his creepy-ass mother is also pretty understandable. She might be a bitch, but she's always right. And she wants the best for her son. So... characters? Thumbs up.

And the best thing about thrillers, especially the ones where you know everything is going to be alright in the end: those moments where you are literally squeeling with worry, 'no, no, you STUPID cow! He's going to see you!'... and that sort of thing.

Ok, ok, the actual bad: The 'mystery' plot is pretty thin, like many James Bond's. 'Hey pretty lady, go um... find out... something. German.' 'Oh wow, (magical discovery), well at least now we know what's going on. Now you... find out where they're getting it from.' Really, does knowing they have uranium really tell me anything? Is this a secret no one let me in on?? But really. That's the only kind of annoying thing about it.

YAY! Because even if you don't like it that much, you can always go hang out with a crowd of film students and be all 'oh yea, I love the use of size in Notorious, you know, that was an enlarged model so they couldn't show her drinking out of it without cutting...'

Lots of ' ' and ... today. What's up with that?

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