I have seen more Ingrid Bergman films lately than I’ve seen in a decade. Everyone knows the dewy-eyed beauty opposite Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. It’s been one of top ten, beloved films for almost seventy years. Every aspect for why one loves films, whether for the script, the acting, the music, the setting, suspense, love or other universal themes like loyalty and friendship, Casablanca has it all.
Casablanca and Notorious both contain the great character actor, Claude Rains, who never gets the spotlight as the leading-man, but he is integral as supporting actor. Consider his contribution in these top classic films, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Casablanca (1942), Notorious (1946).
Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller, Notorious (1946) has been a favorite of mine for a long time. Ilsa is a reluctant agent for the United States after her incarcerated Nazi father commits suicide in a Miami prison. She agrees to infiltrate enemy grounds where the Boys in Brazil are contemplating their next move. Cary Grant is the agent who reluctantly falls in love with this outspoken femme fatale. She self-medicates with drinks and sex, and with a Nazi for a father, it makes her, well, notorious. Hitchcock’s unique angle shots is one reason why he became an influential cinematographer. Hitchcock’s camera is an eye and manipulates the audience. For example, at the fancy post-wedding party, Hitchcock begins the scene on the second floor balcony overlooking the great hall of a grand mansion. Slowly he tracks down and in on Ingrid Bergman as though you, the audience, were walking down to her. The shot ends with a tight close-up of a key tucked in her hand. It’s original. Another favorite sequence involves Ilsa who is recovering from a cocktail party and she sees the silhouette of Grant in the doorway. The 360 degree tilting of the camera represents her eyes as she turns over to follow him walking into the room. How memorable and unique. You can see what I mean about 1:38 seconds into the following video.
Speaking about Alfred Hitchcock, have you seen Ingrid and Anthony Perkins in the 1961 film, Goodbye Again? Wow! Let me tell you all about it along with another Hitchcock classic, Spellbound in my next blog. There’s much more to talk about!
What are your favorite Ingrid Bergman films?