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Critics reviews
Notorious
Alfred Hitchcock United States, 1946
Hitchcock explored obsession before and after Notorious. But the sexual politics here are so quicksilver and contradictory as to lend the film a different kind of heat. Love isn’t chilly, dissected from behind glass as it is in his most iconic works—Vertigo and Rear Window come to mind first. In Notorious, it is all-consuming.
January 15, 2019
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Seven decades after its premiere in New York on 15 August 1946, it’s impossible to shake the feeling that Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious is a perfect film – a rare feature in which you wouldn’t want to change a thing. Next to Vertigo (1958), it’s certainly the Master of Suspense’s gravest, saddest and most perverse offering.
August 17, 2016
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Notorious takes a remarkably compassionate and nonjudgmental view of Alicia’s supposed waywardness. It is this generous depiction that forces the audience to feel her dread, and invokes atmospheric doom. Generically mixed, Notorious is a thriller with an emotional core with which to connect – a wartime spy film with a pure love story at the centre.
June 13, 2015
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Notorious (1946) remains one of the most compelling and mysterious of Alfred Hitchcock’s films… It has proved remarkably open to different responses and readings. It is particularly striking that while virtually all critics agree that Hitchcock’s central strategy is strategically to shift the narrational point of view (POV) throughout the film… almost none concurs with another on exactly where and how this happens, and which particular characters Hitchcock is favouring in any one scene.
August 25, 2014
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There’s something revelatory in those opening passages that makes me want to stay in them forever. It’s Bergman’s seemingly intractable bearing and tightly pursed lips, the haughty carelessness with which she flaunts her sexuality, the femme fatale-ish way she scowls and denounces him when she finds out his identity: “You double-crossing buzzard—you’re a cop.” Like poor Mr. Gower and that whistle-worthy train number were for their movies, she’s a showstopper.
December 23, 2013
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Notorious" could be considered an exercise in the artful variation of points of view, as created through camerawork that is, with one conspicuous exception, almost entirely objective.
February 10, 2012
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If Notorious is the first Hitchcock film to achieve a happy ending—happy if you’re Alicia or Devlin, that is, and not Alex or his mother—that is as emotionally satisfying as it is brilliant, it is also the last Hitchcock film—North by Northwest is an exception that proves the rule—that calls upon us to believe in such an ending.
October 15, 2001
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The stylization is fascinating to watch. Some of Hitchcock’s most famous scenes are in this film: the justly acclaimed crane shot, taking the audience from a wide establishing view of the elaborate formal party into a tight closeup of the crucial key to the wine cellar in Ingrid Bergman’s hand…
February 27, 1990
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One would think that the use of the camera subjectively—that is, as one of the characters—would for many years have been as basic a movie device as the close-up, but few people try it and Hitchcock is nearly the only living man I can think of who knows just when and how to. He is equally resourceful, and exceptional, in his manufacture of expressive little air-pockets of dead silence.
August 17, 1946