Hitchcock’s Notorious. Ingrid Bergman hired to spy on former Nazis in Rio largely on the grounds of her notable promiscuity, with nuclear age intrigue so current for 1945 that the FBI had Hitchcock under surveillance. Tense stuff once the plot gets rolling, and a great unraveling ending.
Also worth watching for its top-notch use of rear projection special effects: if you think that modern movies and tv shows use a surprising amount of green screen for inserting fake backgrounds, it’s worth remembering that it’s an old idea. All of the foreground action for Notorious was filmed on set in California, with background footage shot by a 2nd production crew in Rio and Miami, beautifully worked in behind the actors so that it’s really hard to tell sometimes.
Slowly working my way through all of Hitchcock’s oeuvre, moving on to some of his films that haven’t fully entered our pop culture lexicon. Shadow of a Doubt was one of his better early American movies, with some nifty subtext, a minor tinge of telepathy, and possible vampiric overtones. Definitely a 1942 pre-war Americana kind of movie, but with the signature Hitchcock dark humor and psychological uneasiness that turns the Norman Rockwell small town on its head.
A short clip from Double Take, a film by media artist Johan Grimonprez (there are a handful of other clips on YouTube). “They say that if you meet your double, you should kill him.” Hitchcock versus Hitchcock versus the Cold War, with cinematic history folding in on itself. There’s a worthwhile interview with Grimonprez over on the Cinema Scope website with more info.