20. Notorious (B-)
I like this film, especially the second half (once Claude Rains has been introduced), but it's certainly not among my favorite Hitchcock pictures. The repeated use of rear-projection isn't as effective as it is in North by Northwest
--instead, it's distracting. At times, it seems like Cary Grant, who is at his best a lively performer with a good sense of comedic timing, is wasted on a role that can be a little dull. Even when he's professing his love to Ingrid Bergman in the film's finale, it feels like he's holding back a little. The pacing is also a little odd. More than a few times, Hitchcock cuts in with scenes that last no more than five seconds. Other scenes take the opposite approach, with several beautiful long takes that last more than a minute. Together, they feel a little disjointed. And then in the ending, the emphasis is placed on Rains, not on Grant or Bergman. It's a chilling ending, but it feels like something is missing when it comes to the leads.