Genre: Romance Drama Thriller Noir
Starring: Cary Grant (To Catch A Thief; An Affair To Remember), Ingrid Bergman (Under Capricorn; Anastasia)
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock (Dial M For Murder, Rope)
Overview: When a woman is asked to infiltrate a group of Nazis in Brazil, she find that her actions may lead to sacrifices that are all too great.
Acting: I don't think I like Cary Grant. Much to my surprise, I find him a touch on the fake side. So far the characters I've seen him play are so bold and out there that I wonder who buys that crap for a second. Humphrey Bogart, somehow, could pull it off. I guess it's because he went so far that we just laughed at how awesomely overboard it was. Ingrid's great, as always. Fantastic direction, as per usual.
Cinematography: The rear projection in this one was fantastic. You know, that special effect where clearly they're superimposed in front of a screen? Well, you'd be surprised to know how often they used that in this one. In fact the actors never once set foot in Rio, even though most of the film was set there. For as fantastic as the Criterion Collection version of the print was, for as grandiose (if I may be so bold) the Selznick-inspired interior sets were, I really didn't find the film anywhere near as dynamic as I expected.
Script: I will admit that there were a few lines lost here and there due to the company present, but it seemed apparent to all of us that constant declarations of love were all too-well understood. This is one of those 'damned if you do and damned if you don't' situations. If you only hear professions and proofs of love twice, you don't feel it strongly enough as a viewer. If it's done a lot, you know it's terrifically established, but enough already.
Plot: To hell with the love interest plot, I'm sick of it. It's not Hitch's fault I suppose, but as I realize that more of his films involve love triangles than the suspense he's known as "the Master" of, it makes me mourn the fact that he made movies in a day when love was a necessary element of all plots. This is far too thick in the test of duty versus love for me to enjoy it as the classic it purports to be, no matter how well Hitch did it here compared to other works. In fact he does it all too well. I was constantly asking myself, "Well?! When's the spy stuff going to start?!"
Mood: The themes I understood this film to be were diluted by the overall romance of it all. If you like Romance films in a hard-test setting, this is the film for you. It is indeed well done. But if you're looking for a spy flick with intrigue and espionage, you are going to find yourself sadly disappointed my friend. I wanted cloak and dagger and I got close-up kissing in glorious Black and White. Boo.
"My, what a B.I.G. glass of hangover juice."
Overall Rating: 74% (Hardly Even Infamous)
Aftertaste: I don't think you know how much I want to like Hitchcock. I love Bergman, she's seriously cool. Hitch consistently uses great names and great talent in his films but I'm still not freaking out over him. It's all too slow in leading up to the big finish of his best known works. It hurts me to be in the minority.
One more thing: unless I missed some critical dialogue, the title is completely inapropriate. Someone explain this to me.