2010 movies #45 – Notorious (1946, Alfred Hitchcock)

This is probably my fave hitchcock ever. It’s very solidly written, the pieces fall in place like clockwork as the tension rises steadily throughout. The love story is also uncharacteristically sexy and not at all creepy for an hitchcock movie, which is another plus in itself.

But watching this i mostly kept thinking how apparently, back in the 40s, hollywood held their audience in much higher regard than today: they actually thought everybody could follow right along with the intricacies of the spy story without unneeded exposition, flashbacks or other ridiculous gimmicks.

I mean, hitchcock was brilliant for sure, but studio heads actually trusted him to not dumb it down a lick, and people mostly loved it, sad to see that today this is no longer the case.

‘inception’ has been hyped up SO MUCH that i’m afraid i might be disappointed. i’m sure it’s an amazing movie on its own, but what this post is about, is that movies like ‘inception’ and movies of our generation are just so exposition-heavy. in other words, it leaves little to the audience’s imagination or to the audience’s own comprehension of the film’s exposition/plot. for example, heavy narration like that in ‘avatar’ filled in all the blanks for the viewer in case the viewer was left behind. i know that if the movie wasn’t narrated by the sexy sam worthington, the movie might’ve been lost in translation.

my favorite film OF ALL TIME is hitchcock’s ‘notorious,’ and in the whole opening scene, there is no narration; no introduction of characters or of settings… for example, hitchcock has cary grant’s character in silhouette and you slowly figure out who he is and what he’s doing. hitchcock did not need to explain anything to his audience by having cary grant or ingrid bergman narrate…

the trend today is that we enjoy films that are exposition-heavy. not to say that none of these are good– ‘avatar’ is actually one of my top 10– but this is why classic film is an acquired taste: the filmmakers of yesterday trusted in the audience to figure out what was going on without having to heavily narrate. 

i’m gonna see ‘inception’ once i get back from paris, so let’s just hope all this hype has merit. 


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