Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Notorious (1946)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Notorious (1946)

In this vintage Alfred Hitchcock, noirish suspense thriller and spy-story concerning international intrigue and a passionate yet perverse romance:

  • the opening sequence of the trial and conviction (for the war crime of treason) of traitorous Nazi Germany spy John Huberman (Fred Nurney) in April of 1946 in Miami, Florida; the sentence was 20 years in prison (and soon after, the German-American Huberman committed suicide by taking a poisoned capsule in his jail cell); his daughter exited from the proceedings - a promiscuous, alcoholic, play-girl socialite Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman), who was quickly hounded and questioned by reporters
  • the developing romantic relationship between manipulative and shady American CIA agent T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant) and Alicia (wearing a horizontally-striped top with a bare waist); uninvited, he gatecrashed her decadent party, and witnessed her self-destructiveness from overdrinking: ("The important drinking hasn't started yet")
  • early the next morning, the two had survived the party - she suggested a joy-ride, a drunken 80 mph challenge with Devlin as her captive passenger: ("I want to make it 80 and wipe that grin off your face. I don't like gentlemen who grin at me") before being chased and stopped by a motorcycle cop, when he had to reveal himself as a US government agent; she was furious with him for being deceptive as a "double-crossing buzzard - you're a cop!...a federal cop crashing my're trailing me to get something on me"; he took over the wheel by knocking her out with a punch
  • the next morning after she awoke with an intense hang-over, Devlin explained his ploy: he was an American intelligence officer with a secret mission to enlist the promiscuous Alicia to infiltrate and spy on the Rio de Janeiro home of her father's old associates ("German gentry"); a number of Brazil-based Nazi Germans had moved to Rio de Janiero after WWII; she refused to be involved in Devlin's "rotten schemes": ("Go away and leave me alone. I have my own life to lead. Good times. That's what I want, and laughs with people I like. And no underhanded cops who want to put me up in a shooting gallery, but people of my own kind, who treat me right and like me and understand me")
  • once they arrived together in Rio de Janiero, they played a cat-and-mouse romantic game; although he had a growing interest in her, he was hesitant about her alcoholism and her loose reputation; she teased and berated the cool, indifferent, distant, and sometimes nasty Devlin about his unflappable, repressed romantic emotions; she told him: "Poor Dev, in love with a no-good gal. It must be awful. I'm sorry"
  • the longest kiss in film history (to date) - in order to bypass the Production Code's restriction on a screen clinch beyond three seconds long - there was a passionate three-minute kissing scene in her apartment between Devlin and Alicia that began on her Rio de Janeiro balcony, moved inside to the telephone where Devlin took a call, and ended at the front door -- with them all the while talking and kissing; during part of their conversation when he was dialing the telephone (calling his hotel for his messages), Alicia told him: "This is a very strange love affair" - and he asked why as she kissed him. Then she replied: "Maybe the fact that you don't love me"; after connecting with the hotel, he responded as he kissed her: "When I don't love you, I'll let you know"; when she further stated: "You haven't said anything," he told her: "Actions speak louder than words"
  • specifically, Alicia's assignment was to serve as sexual bait to fool lead neo-Nazi scientist-agent Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains) (one of the colleagues of Alicia's father, and Alicia's former rejected suitor), in order to marry him and learn the Nazi's secrets - ("Sebastian's house is a cover-up, for whatever this Farben group's up to here in Rio. We've got to get Miss Huberman inside that house and find out what's going on there"); after agreeing to the mission, she spitefully told Devlin her attitude about being used and whoring herself for him (to get married) in the dangerous espionage plot: "You can add Sebastian's name to my list of playmates"
  • the incredible, long and unbroken crane shot beginning on the second floor balcony (above the guests mingling below), in Sebastian's Rio de Janeiro mansion during a tense formal champagne party given in the new bride's honor -- the camera swooped down and zeroed in on the purloined key (from Alex's key ring) clenched in Alicia's hand (in closeup) that could unlock the wine cellar - where the film's MacGuffin (secret uranium supplies) was located; shortly later, when Devlin arrived, she passed the key to him when he kissed her hand
Crane Shot - to Key in Alicia's Hand
  • the furtive search by Devlin and Alicia in the wine cellar (tension was created when the champagne supply ran out upstairs in the party), where uranium ore dust (looking like black sand) was found in one of the broken wine bottles - Devlin took a sample of the sandy substance, to confirm a dastardly conspiracy by the Nazis to stockpile the material for future use in atom bombs; when they were discovered kissing in the unauthorized location by Alex, Devlin and Alicia pretended to be having a love tryst, and Alicia blamed their romance on the drunken Devlin: ("Alex, don't be foolish. I-I came down because he threatened to make a scene...I couldn't stop him. I tried"), and Devlin also added: "For what it's worth as an apology, your wife is telling the truth. I knew her before you, loved her before you, only I'm not as lucky as you"
  • after Alex discovered the broken wine bottle (when he realized the wine cellar key had been returned to his key ring overnight), the scene of his humiliating confession shot from a top-angle to his domineering and authoritarian mother Mme. Konstantin (Leopoldine Konstantin in her sole US film) in her bedroom: ("I am married to an American agent"), and his mother's curt reaction: "We are protected by the enormity of your stupidity - for a time"; and her plot to silence and eliminate Alicia by slowly poisoning her to death with arsenic-tainted coffee - and later, the scene when Alicia suddenly realized that she was being drugged (visiting Nazi conspirator Dr. Anderson (Reinhold Schünzel) reached for Alicia's poisoned cup and was simultaneously and hesitantly warned not to drink by both Madame and Alex)
  • the exciting and nerve-wracking finale - Alicia's rescue scene - with Devlin's ascent of the stairs to the weakened and sedated Alicia on her deathbed; after they confessed their love for each other and he admitted: "I was a fatheaded guy full of pain. It tore me up not having you", he carried her down the staircase in full view of a number of Nazi enemies and out to a car - reportedly to take her to the hospital; he locked the car door on Sebastian, telling him: "No room, Sebastian"
Alicia Carried Down Stairs by Devlin
Alicia Exiting Alex's Home with Devlin
Alex's Final Summons
  • the conclusion - Alex received a final summons, the final line of dialogue, by one of his sinister, renegade Nazi agent superiors inside the front door: Eric Mathis (Ivan Triesault): "Alex, will you come in, please? I wish to talk to you"

Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) at Father's Trial

Drunken 80 mph Drive with Devlin (Cary Grant)

Rio de Janeiro Kisses on Balcony and During Phone Call

At Champagne Party

Kissing - to Avoid Detection in Wine Cellar

Alex's Confession to His Mother, and Her Reproach

Alicia's Arsenic-Tainted Coffee


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