Friday 10 April 1998
Alfred Hitchcock's career is truly remarkable for its consistently high standard, but this 1946 film is a humdinger. Ingrid Bergman is Alicia, the jet-set woman of dubious morality whose father has been denounced as a Nazi spy. This makes her an ideal double agent for recruiter Cary Grant, who falls in love with her but won't admit it. The tensions mount as Grant forces Bergman to marry Claude Rains in order to discover a Nazi plot. Beneath the thriller surface, Hitchcock's concern with perverse male behaviour is revealed as shockingly modern. The film contains one of his most famous shots with the camera surveying a marvellous party, slowly swooping down and focusing in on Bergman clutching a key, and, in an era of tight censorship, the screen's longest kiss. The performances are outstanding, the suspense builds and builds and it's one of those films which improves on every viewing. In a double bill with that other great romantic thriller, Casablanca.
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