copyright © Jedo Dre 2011

I am going to get a personal problem with the film out of the way first. I know not everyone will share my opinion but the issues sticks like a bone in my throat. If your father or mother are in trouble with the law and you disown them just because of that, you are not a good person. No one can be that much blinded by silly patriotism, surely. The beginning of the movie left a bad taste in my mouth.

Moving onto a more general problem, Notroius does not have a very good story if you care enough to think about it. For example, the main character goes from "No way I am doing this" to "Ok" in an instant. Characters start talking about someone while right next to that person and the movie pretends that the conversation is not overheard. The main villain plays an intelligent person but is very oblivious to what is going on, when it should be very obvious if you think about it. His manner of acting and dialogue say "I know and understand everything" but his actions say "I am completely clueless".

The movie clarifies that the characters take a number of days to fall in love (which may be enough time to get a crush on someone I suppose), but it only takes a minute of montage in real time so it feels very forced. And it happens within the first fifth of the film, mind you. It was at this point that my partner who was watching with me commented, "What is it with these old movies?" referring to a similar situation in Singing in the Rain, a movie we saw the other day, and indeed she was right: it is noticeable that films from that era do not treat romance properly. Instead, these two are in love now, because we say so; deal with it.

The place where it was decided to end the movie also felt very strange. It felt like the makers forgot to show the final third of the movie.

This awkwardness in story is contrasted by the high quality of acting and dialogue. Question: "Don't you need a coat?" Answer: "You'll do." If you just take this film one scene at a time and concentrate on the actors, it is great. There are several tense scenes, which Hitchcock is so good at. And the scenes with the lovers are emotional (once you get over the fact that the relationship came to be at a snap of the fingers).

This movie was an Ingrid Bergman's show. Unlike a movie like the much celebrated Casablanca, where she felt diminished to playing a romantic interest with pretty lips, in this film her full professional range is revealed. Cary Grant as her counterpart plays a very calm and collected person, which can come off as emotionless at times, but the skillfulness with which he loses his composure is all the more deserving of praise.

There are a number of interesting scenes with long tracking shots and effects, like the lenses of binoculars showing a very clear reflection of what is going on in the font.

Overall, the story has many weaknesses. As in another one of Hitckock's movies I watched, the story requires one or more of the characters to be dim-witted and there are some issues with the story's flow. But everything else is skillfully done.