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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine release of a Hitchcock Classic, why pay more?
Having already reviewed the wonderful film "Notorious" this review deals with the DVD releases in question. Reading the reviews praising Criterion Collections "great acheivement" over Anchor Bays "bare-bones" release lit a fire under me. The fact is most re-viewers even those with high-end equipment came to DVD direct from VHS land. DVD is their first experience with...
Published on Jan. 29 2003

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Supplements, Average Picture Quality
As usual, Criterion has gone all out in producing a fine DVD of a great classic. I have to say however, that I was very disappointed in the picture quality. Overall, Criterion has no rival when it comes to producing the finest picture imaginable.
Unfortunately, I have to give the nod to Anchor Bay's DVD of "Notorious". It was nearly flawless, whereas the...
Published on Oct. 28 2001


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine release of a Hitchcock Classic, why pay more?, Jan. 29 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Notorious [Import] (DVD)
Having already reviewed the wonderful film "Notorious" this review deals with the DVD releases in question. Reading the reviews praising Criterion Collections "great acheivement" over Anchor Bays "bare-bones" release lit a fire under me. The fact is most re-viewers even those with high-end equipment came to DVD direct from VHS land. DVD is their first experience with Criterion releases.
I, for better and for worse, was part of the 1 percent of the population who ventured into the world of high tech video and the Audio-Video receiver and sound system, years before anyone had heard of DVD, with the Laserdisc. The Criterion Collection (formerly the Voyager Collection) put out very expensive editions of Classic films on Laserdisc for years and the results to say the least were mixed. Part of the problem was that Laserdisc technology steadily improved over its 20 plus year run and studios like MGM were able to best many of Voyager/Criterions releases with stronger more colorful releases over time. Others discs were, frankly, just average releases being sold at inflated prices, so inflated in fact that I picked many out of bargain bins. Having collected over 200 titles on Laserdisc, not counting multiple copies of some titles I came to DVD with both good and bad examples of Criterions work over the years.
Now having seen the Criterion Collection as well as the Anchor Bay versions of "Notorious" I cannot believe some of the reviews praising the Criterion editon are genuine. The opening credits of "Notorious" are windowboxed, making them almost minature even on a large screen moniter. While I agree that Criterion does exhibit better overall contrast and fewer skips, this, however, does not compensate for such heavy grain that the picture is severely compromised in several scenes (even viewed on just a 27 inch Proscan TV) and dust is apparent everywhere. Anchor Bay's 2.0 mono may have less definiton when played on a very high end system than Criterions 1.0, but Anchor Bay's still had more volume overall and the softer and far cleaner video image was more pleasant to watch. Considering that the Criterion edition, even deeply discounted, was triple what I paid for Anchor Bays DVD made me glad I had rented it first. Unless you want to own the extras on the Criterion release, which are substantial, I would recommend a rental first. Thanks, CAL
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock's best romance/spy/suspense film, May 17 2013
By 
Keith Smith "Keith" (Winnipeg, MB, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Notorious [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This review is for the MGM version of Alfred Hitchock's "Notorious" Blu-Ray Cat# M125249 UPC 839904-25249 obtained in 2013.

5 stars as a romance, 4 stars as an espionage suspense thriller.

With Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant, supported by Claude Rains, this movie is considered to be Hitchcock's most romantic movie, very erotic for its day.

Complex characters, each containing both admirable and detestable characteristics, great acting, lots of suspense.

This is a movie most women will really really love, while still being very entertaining for men.

This version has a good restoration of the B&W film and has plenty of extras.

On TV and even in theatres, films are generally shortened to allow more showings and more profits. Also on standard definition TV the quality is never as high. Good reasons for buying a DVD or blu-ray.

For me the extras (supplements) are the main reason to purchase a DVD or blu-ray rather than watching on TV. Typically I don't go through all the supplements right away, I work through them over a few weeks.

In this case the supplements are a "film study course in a box" just like one usually gets with the Criterion Collection blu-rays (maybe even better), but at a lower cost.

- Commentary by film professors Rick Jewel.
- Commentary by film professor Drew Casper (who holds the Alma and Alfred Hitchock chair of film studies at UCLA).
- The Ultimate Romance: The Making of Notorious [definitely watch this].
- Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Spymaster.
- The American Film Institute Award: The Key to Hitchock
- 1948 radio play starring Joeseph Cotton and Ingrid Bergman
- Hitchcock audio interviews
- Restoration comparison
- Original theatrical trailer

Two commentaries by film professors, plus two specials, one on the movie one on Hitchcock. You can't beat that at any price. Lots of stuff to increase your future enjoyment of films, and you will be able to re-watch the film again several times of the coming years discovering aspects each time.

I highly recommend this version of this film to women, to teenage girls, and also to my fellow men.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of Hitchcock's finest ever, June 14 2003
By A Customer
Top-notch espionage thriller with all-star cast consisting of :
Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains. With a very similar plot to the much later made Mission Impossible II
it has the daughter (Bergman) of a man convicted of treason living in Miami and a debonair secret agent (Grant) spying on her and trying to convince her to help the United States goverment in capturing some spies that her father worked with during World War II. One of the spies "just happens" to be an "old flame"(Rains)who still wants to marry her. Of course by the time they (Grant and Bergman)get to Rio de Janeiro (where the spies are in hiding) they have inevitably fallen in love with each other. Bergman marries Rains, the "old flame" spy to get closer to him and find out anything important. But eventually Rains finds otu that she and Grant are American agents and he starts trying to poison her. Then Devlin finds out and comes to the rescue,. Being a gem of a movie that I highly reccomend, I think you will enjoy it immensely.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Arguably Hitchcock's best, Sept. 19 2002
By 
Leigh A. Barrett "LeighBeeSM" (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Notorious [Import] (DVD)
Sure, we hear about "The Birds," "Psycho," "North by Northwest," "The Man Who Knew Too Much," and "Vertigo" until our ears bleed, but Hitchcock never surpassed the passion and intrigue he pulled off in this one. An excellent cast led by Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains; love scenes hotter than any of the semi-nude sax-underscored things we get today (sometimes just the sound of Bergman breathing); and a solid nail-biter plot make this one of his very best.
Fans who prefer the platinum blandness (sic) of Kim Hunter, Grace Kelly, or Tippi Hedren may not be satisfied: Ingrid Bergman actually has some fire! Cary Grant was better only with Katharine Hepburn, and really shines here with his portrayal of a prejudiced, tough as nails special agent who must team up with a woman whose past he is so revolted by that he can't see the forest for the trees until it is nearly too late.
The Criterion edition has some very impressive special features, and is a must-have for Hitchcock fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Arguably Hitchcock's best, Sept. 19 2002
By 
Leigh A. Barrett "LeighBeeSM" (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Notorious [Import] (DVD)
Sure, we hear about "The Birds," "Psycho," "North by Northwest," "The Man Who Knew Too Much," and "Vertigo" until our ears bleed, but Hitchcock never surpassed the passion and intrigue he pulled off in this one. An excellent cast led by Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains; love scenes hotter than any of the semi-nude sax-underscored things we get today (sometimes just the sound of Bergman breathing); and a solid nail-biter plot make this one of his very best.
Fans who prefer the platinum blandness (sic) of Kim Hunter, Grace Kelly, or Tippi Hedren may not be satisfied: Ingrid Bergman actually has some fire! Cary Grant was better only with Kathryn Hepburn, and really shines here with his portrayal of a prejudiced, tough as nails special agent who must team up with a woman whose past he is so revolted by that he can't see the forest for the trees until it is nearly too late.
The Criterion edition has some very impressive special features, and is a must-have for Hitchcock fans.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I don't think I've ever reviewed this, Sept. 1 2002
By 
J B (Willamette Valley, OR) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Notorious (VHS Tape)
If I have, it's no matter - I shall do it again. This movie is worth reviewing more than once, I think. Like all Hitchcock films, there is always some new thing to discover about it.
Ingrid steps out of her usual mold here and plays the wild and crazy Alicia, the daughter of a German imprisoned for treason against the United States. She hostesses a wild party the night of his imprisonment, which is crashed by a dashing American agent Devlin (whom we all know is Cary) who enlists her services as fellow agent down in Rio. They want her to get into the house of Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains, who has a mother in his house) and find out exactly what he and his fellow-criminals are up to.
Of course during all this Alicia and Devlin fall in love and the kiss which has become notorious takes place. I don't find it particularly unusual, but I guess maybe for back then it was pretty racy.
The mother I mentioned is a very strange woman - but then most of Hitchcock's mothers are. She lights a cigarette like she's a been a gangstress all her life. I guess in a way she was. Anyway. She calmly does needlework while poor unknowing Alicia suffers from the poison mother is serving her.
Even Alex, who supposedly wants to devote his life to Alicia's happiness, stands by and watches calmly with the true grace and charm of... well, he makes me think of Philip van Damm in North by Northwest. His work means more to him than anything, and even a woman around isn't worth the risk if it's discovered she's an American agent. So he'll conveniently dispose of her and be done with the whole problem.
This is a specimen of a very well-done film. Not many movies have the cinematic excellence of this one. The party scene is one of my favourites. Ingrid wears a lovely black dress and a fascinating hairdo which looks impossible to replicate. The business with the key is pretty tense as well.
Well, I'll end this scattered review and say: Buy this, you won't regret it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion is the version to get, July 14 2002
Besides all the *great* extras you get with this DVD, there's also about 15 seconds worth of additional dialogue on the Criterion DVD that was left out of the Anchor Bay edition due to reel changes. At approximately 12:54 in the Anchor Bay DVD, 2 of Cary Grant's lines are cut in half & blended together & rendered indecipherable, with Ingrid Bergman's response in between those lines completely cut out! That same scene is approximatetly 13:03 in the Criterion DVD. There's another scene later in the DVD that does the same thing. As far as picture quality, I'm not sure why some people complain about the graininess--it's inherent in the film. The Criterion is restored from earlier prints than the Anchor Bay edition, so the blacks are blacker, the whites whiter. Anchor Bay's version doesn't have as much graininess because it's more faded & softer than Criterion's edition. And unless you have a big-screen TV, you won't even notice any graininess except in 2 or 3 scenes. In any case, this is by far the best Hitchock movie from the pre-fifties era, and certainly in his best top 5 of all time, so even if you don't get the Criterion version at least get *some* version!
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of Hitchcock's greatest films..., July 13 2002
By 
ehakus (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
Notorious is truly one of Hitchcock's greatest films. In addition to combining incredible suspense with romance, it features excellent black-and-white cinematography and a phenomenal cast. This movie is a must-see!
Anyhow, Notorious is basically the story of Alicia Hubermann (Ingrid Bergman), a young woman of questionable morals, whose father is revealed to be a Nazi agent. When he dies in prison, Alicia is hired by the US government to help investigate another agent, Sebastian (Claude Rains). To do her job, she must work with Devlin (Cary Grant), a mysterious and seemingly unfeeling American agent - who she falls in love with. The movie deals with the investigation of Sebastian's plans AND with the romance between Alicia and Devlin, which is hurt greatly (surprisingly enough) by Alicia's marriage to Sebastian (done in the name of duty).
Hitchcock uses the interesting plot to build almost unbearable suspense and to present an interesting romance between Alicia and Devlin, who at first does everything to ignore his love for Alicia. The acting is truly amazing: Ingrid Bergman is perfect as Alicia, Cary Grant reveals his darker side as Devlin, and Claude Rains makes Sebastian charming in an evil sort of way. Ingrid and Cary are perfectly matched - in real life, they were very close friends, and their mutual respect and warmth is evident in their love scenes, which are amazing (especially the famous scene in which they kiss nonstop while picking up the phone, etc, etc.).
This movie is perfect - every scene is breathtaking! If you haven't already seen this 1946 classic, what are you waiting for? The DVD is excellent and has many special features - but you don't need to buy it on account of that - the movie alone is a must-have!
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Alfred Hitchcock film, July 7 2002
By 
Robert Moore (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As with many serious movie buffs, Alfred Hitchcock is one of my favorite filmmakers, and of the twenty or thirty films of his that I have watched over and over, NOTORIOUS is my personal favorite. Why? I think it is partly because is the one Hitchcock film that also manages to be genuinely romantic in addition to truly suspenseful. Although nearly all his films contain some romantic interest, he by and large isn't nearly as successful with love as he is with suspense and comedy. Interestingly, the other films in which he is most successful with romance also feature Cary Grant in a starring role (TO CATCH A THIEF and NORTH BY NORTHWEST), so perhaps it has as much to do with his leading man as with anything else.
There are so many superlatives about this film. It is one of Cary Grant's finest roles. It is one of Ingrid Bergman's two or three best performances. And it is also one of Claude Rains best movies.
The romantic tension of the film derives on the one hand that T. R. Devlin (Grant) and Alicia Huberman (Bergman), the daughter of a convicted WW II traitor, are passionately attracted to one another and, to their own surprise, very much in love with one another, and on the other hand that Devlin is more than a little puritanical on sexual matters while Alicia has been around the block a few times. Devlin is a government agent charged with bringing her to Rio de Janeiro for an assignment. His male pride is hurt when he learns that her assignment is to meet and seduce a Nazi who the government believes is still engaged in nefarious activities (Claude Rains). Grant is reminded of her "bad girl" past. One of the tragic moments in the film is when Bergman, obviously in love with Grant, wants him to express his love for her, or ask her not to take the assignment. When he stonily refuses to make a gesture, she takes the assignment in order to punish him. In most other Hitchcock films, the romance is subservient to the suspense. In NOTORIOUS, the suspense is subservient to the romance. The scene involving the key to the wine cellar is one of the finest in all of Hitchcock.
The rest of the film is classic Hitchcock. Alicia marries Alexander Sebastian (Rains), and she and Devlin manage to discover precisely what he and his cohorts are up to. Sebastian discovers that his wife is a spy, and makes plans to dispose of her as quietly as possible. And, in the end, the lovers are reunited.
The film was released in 1946, but it had actually been filmed during the final year of WW II, but before it had ended. But the general release was held up because uranium plays a role in the film (though Hitchcock had no idea at the time of the script that it would play a key role in the making of the atomic bombs used at the end of the war). Hitchcock claimed that for sometime he was under surveillance by the FBI because of his references to uranium. Interestingly, Ingrid Bergman was not the first choice to play Alicia. The producer, David O. Selznick, wanted Vivian Leigh to play the role, but as was so oftent he case with Leigh, her health did not permit her participation in the film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tea Time with a Hitchcock classic, May 5 2002
By 
T. Lobascio (New Jersey United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman star in NOTORIOUS, from 1946, a top notch film from Alfred Hitchcock. Bergman plays Alicia Huberman, a beautiful woman with a troubled past. She is asked by American Secret Agent T.R. Devlin, (Grant) to spy on a suspected group of Nazi criminals, located in Rio.The situation becomes more complicated when Alicia falls in love and marries one of the suspects, Alex, played with intensity by, Claude Raines. Now its up to Devlin to save her...and to admit that he has fallen in love with her. This film is, in my opinion, Hitchcock's best early American film. Fully restored and digitally remastered for this DVD, the film looks and sounds wonderful, gone is the grainy look of many late late show airings. The soft lighting and striking cinematography by Ted Tetzlaff really stands out and makes this a film not to miss.
Once again, the people at Criterion have put together a great DVD. Some of the standout extras on the disc include an original radio drama version from 1948. Insightful and engaging commentaries from 2 Hitchcock historians that take us through the film. Rare news reel film of the director and the film's star Bergman, nifty promo material, and more. I highly recommend this DVD for anyone who likes great spy/espionge thrillers. The film is unforgettable.
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