DVD Rating: ***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Notorious

The quality of the picture and sound is remarkably good. The extras, however, are hidden, in the sense that you could easily miss the bulk of them because of the way the DVD menu is laid out.

They start with written biogs of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, which are, as you would expect, minimal. About The Creators does a similar job for producer David O Selznick and director Alfred Hitchcock, although the link to Hitch on my disc did not work. Slide Show is a selection of uninteresting stills from the movie and from the film set.

Copy picture

It is only when you move across to the name Hitchcock on the right hand side (easily overlooked) that you discover the talk-talk.

A Conversation With Hitchcock is hardly that. It appears to be an extract from an interview, conducted by a very young looking Robert Robinson for the BBC. As always the maestro is deliberately obtuse, coming out with pre-prepared quotes, such as, "Drama is life with the dull bits cut out." It is droll and oddly entertaining, because Hitch is like a caricature, his wit so dry it could start a fire.

"Are you a timid man?"


"I'm scared of everything."

Ironic smile.

Interview With Kim Newman is infinitely more valuable. He discusses every aspect of the director's life and work and does so with a light touch. As a leading British critic and writer on film, his knowledge is encyclopaedic and yet he is never boring. His admiration avoids adulation. He accepts that Hitch chose a certain kind of thriller and made it his own and, although always an innovator - he made the first British talking picture and Notorious had the longest kiss ever seen on screen at that time - he worked in a narrow field. He quotes Norman Bates from Psycho ("We are all in our own private traps"), implying that this did not exclude himself. "He found a small area he could be king of," Newman says. Also, he was the one who made the director the star and even if the man himself was elusive ("All his feelings are in his films"), he was not the monster he was made out to be.

The Real Me (The Thin One) is a written transcript from a talk he gave at the launch of Torn Curtain in '61. It is droll, witty and all the things I have already mentioned, except for one: it is a performance. As Newman says, "the man is very hard to come to grips with."

Hitchcock by Francois Truffaut is a short (written) extract from an interview in the book.

Reviewed on: 08 Apr 2006
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Notorious packshot
Reissue for the film about spies in South America who attract Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant.
Amazon link

Product Code: FHED1837

Region: 2

Ratio: 4:3

Sound: Dolby Digital mono

Extras: Cast biographies; photo gallery; conversation with Hitchcock; interview with Kim Newman; The Real Me (The Thin One); extract from Hitchcock by Francois Truffaut

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