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The beauty of this film (besides Bergman) is its ending. The good guy does not stumble across a gun and shoot down the baddie. The bad guy isn't hauled off to prison to rot in a dank cell. Instead, the villain is left in the lurch, his fate left up to our imagination, though unquestionably inescapable and ruinous nonetheless.

Notorious (1946) is an Alfred Hitchcock film noir starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman and set in Rio de Janeiro. American agent T.R. Devlin (Grant) convinces Alicia Huberman (Bergman), a playgirl and daughter of a convicted Nazi spy, to go undercover and dig up dirt on a group of postwar Nazis who've fled to Brazil. The two fall in love (that blend of film-noir desire and adoration that materializes in the seconds upon meeting), but then one of the Nazis (Alexander Sebastian) who Huberman is spying on asks her to marry him, and Devlin's boss green lights the union. Devlin becomes jealous, then feigns a total lack of interest, which the rather naive Huberman regards as sincere rejection. After the marriage, Devlin and Huberman discover that Sebastian and his associates are stockpiling uranium in wine bottles. Huberman's husband finds out she knows this, and his mother urges him to discreetly eliminate her. What will do the trick? They decide on a daily draught of poison in her tea and the pretense of natural illness.

If I were to rate all the films noir I've seen, this would probably be in the top 20. Bergman and Grant are a perfect team-up, with Hitchcock at the helm no less, plus the exotic setting and characterization of Nazis from a perspective right after the war. Out of five stars, I'd says it's ★★★★½.


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