Notorious: Hers & His Perspectives

For the nineth installment in our 2023 Classic Couple Movie Challenge, we offer our take on Notorious (1946). We’ve returned to our journey with Peter Bogdanovich settled back into his recommendations.


Great cast, great director, great original screenplay. Film noir Notorious has it all. And it has, for me, a performance from Ingrid Bergman that, while it did not earn her an Oscar nomination as it did her co-star Claude Rains for best supporting actor, was certainly worthy of accolades. Notorious is the most stylishly elegant of Alfred Hithcock’s thrillers, and Ingrid Bergman as leading lady certainly fits right in, elevating the film with her beauty and talent.

Full of intrigue, Notorious centers on Bergman as Alicia Huberman, daughter of a German traitor tapped by the U.S. government to spy on a German enclave in Brazil. Made in 1946, the storyline is intriguing enough, but coupled with a love story, the role created for Bergman is complex. But Bergman delivers.

Opposite two exceptionally well-cast actors in Cary Grant and Claude Rains as love interests in a complex love triangle, Bergman’s performance is extraordinary. She steals every scene she’s in – not surprising from one of the greatest actresses in Hollywood history.


Made in 1946, Notorious is a true condemnation of post-war Germany and the hunt for German exiles thought to be engaged in continued criminal activity. With its spy plot focused on a German group living in Brazil, the movie is overt in positioning the Germans as the film’s baddies. And baddies they are. They are focused, cunning and ruthless, despite viewers never actually knowing fully what they are up to. We just know they are up to no good. Nowhere is this more prominent than in their “disposal” of anyone, even those within their inner circle, thought to be a risk to their plans. The supporting cast of those playing Germans in the film, with Claude Rains at its helm, is powerful and convincing. Viewers despise them from beginning to end. And the final justice scene, the outcome of which we can only guess, is the perfect ending for what many consider a perfect film.

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