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Posts Tagged ‘ingrid bergman’

In this 1946 film from celebrated director Alfred Hitchcock, Ingrid Bergman plays Alicia Huberman, the daughter of a man imprisoned for being a Nazi collaborator.  The CIA, specifically a man named Devlin (Cary Grant) recruit her to go to Rio, where a group of her father’s Nazi friends have relocated.  Devlin wants her to infiltrate and report on the group, by getting close to one of them – a man named Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains) – but the mission becomes muddled when Alice and Devlin fall for each other.

I find Hitchcock films to be a bit hit-and-miss, but I realised today that my favourite Hitchcock movies all starred Cary Grant.  I’m still trying to work out if that is coincidence or not.  In any event, I did not enjoy Notorious as much as North by Northwest or To Catch a Thief, but nonetheless, this was still a good film (actually better than I expected).

Ingrid Bergman is just beautiful as Alicia, and it is not surprising at all that two men fall in love with her.  Alicia is a girl who drinks too much and has had more than her fair share of male companions (in the original script she was a prostitute), but she still manages to garners sympathy, and I was hoping that she would make it through the film safely!  Bergman and Grant have great chemistry together, as seen in their other collaboration, Indiscreet (an altogether more light-hearted film), and they are both on top form here.  They also share a very sensual kiss, which was cleverly filmed in order to get around the Hayes Code, which stipulated that on-screen kisses must not last longer than three seconds.  In keeping with the code, the actors break off from their kiss every three seconds, and then kiss again!  The end effect is very sexy, which ironically is probably what the Hayes Code was trying to avoid.

The story moves along nicely, and there are no real dry or boring patches, although it is very obviously a Hitchcock film, with all his trademarks in place (such as gimmicky camera angles, which I believe can date a film somewhat).  The suitably ambiguous ending is satisfying, and while I would not rush to watch this film again, it was certainly worth seeing.  I would recommend it to fans of Grant, Bergman or Hitchcock.  The reliable Claude Rains is also worth watching as the conflicted Sebastian.

Year of release: 1946

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Producer: Alfred Hitchcock

Writers: John Taintor Foote (story ‘The Song of the Dragon;), Ben Hecht, Alfred Hitchcock, Clifford Odets

Main cast: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Leopoldine Konstantin

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This film probably gave its stars Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman their most famous and celebrated roles.  In unoccupied Africa in the early days of World War II, Rick Blaine (Bogart) is a cynical and disillusioned exiled American, who runs a popular gin joint.  When Czech underground leader Victor Lazlo (Paul Henreid) arrives at his premises, he brings with him his wife Isla (Bergman), a woman who is well known to Rick, and who reawakens feelings that he thought he had put behind him forever.  Rick may be in a position to help Victor, but he has to choose whether he will use this position to his own advantage or not.

Have you ever watched a film that is called a classic, and been a bit let-down?  Well, this is not one of those films.  To put it bluntly, Casablanca is awesome.  It demonstrates the changes in people’s characters and lives that are caused by war, it has a beautiful romance at it’s heart (I cried a number of times throughout), and it’s a blindingly brilliant story.

I particularly liked the fact that Rick’s rival for Ilsa’s love, Victor, was not a bad guy – in fact he was an extremely good guy, who was fighting for people’s freedom and human rights.  It would have been so easy to have the audience rooting for Rick, by making Victor an unlikeable character, and it made the film all the more powerful for the script not taking this route.

The lead actors – Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid were just wonderful, and the chemistry between Bogart and Bergman was electric.  I also thought Claude Reins as the French officer, Captain Renault – a man who was loyal to whichever side served his own interests best, and Dooley Wilson as Sam, the piano player at Rick’s bar – were excellent.

Certain scenes stand out in my mind, in particular the ending, but I’m not going to reveal any details here as I would not want to spoil it for any first time viewers.

In short, this film is well worth all the accolades it received.  If you still haven’t experienced Casablanca, I strongly recommend that you watch it.

Year of release: 1942

Director: Michael Curtiz

Writers: Julius J Epstein, Philip G Epstein, Howard Koch, Murray Burnett, Joan Alison, Casey Robinson

Main cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains

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This romantic comedy teamed up the ever charismatic Cary Grant, with the beautiful Ingrid Bergman.  Bergman is Anna Kalman, a successful actress in London.  When she meets Philip Adams (Grant), a successful diplomat, the attraction is instant and the two embark on a passionate romance.  But Philip has told Anna a big lie, and when she finds out, she plots her revenge…

This year I have become a huge fan of Cary Grant – I love his effortless debonair charm, his gorgeous unmistakeable voice, and the visual humour he brings to his roles.  Here, he is on top form and perfectly suited for the role he plays.  Ingrid Bergman is also terrific – and beautiful – as the feisty and passionate Anna.  The first half of the film is more of a romance, but there is plenty of comedy in the second part, with one scene of Grant attempting a dance which he has no idea how to do (and which is shown in the clip I’ve posted) being an absolute delight.

The supporting cast are great, being mainly Phyllis Calvert, as Anna’s sister Margaret, and Cecil Parker, who was fantastic as Alfred, Margaret’s husband.

There are no deep messages in Indiscreet; it is simply a lovely looking movie with lovely looking and very talented leads, who have amazing chemistry together.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and definitely recommend it.

Year of release: 1958

Director: Stanley Donen

Writers: Norman Krasna

Main cast: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Phyllis Calvert, Cecil Parker

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