Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Espionage and star crossed lovers make for a potent mix in Hitchcock's classic with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.

I'm so glad that I finally got around to watching this Hitch. It's a taut thriller, ace love story and there is a camera shot that you may not see in many other films. Ingrid plays the spoilt daughter of a Nazi war criminal, living it up in the U.S. American agent Cary Grant approaches her and forces her into working for the government to help uncover a dastardly plot involving more bad Nazis hanging out in Rio. She agrees (or has little choice) and Grant and Bergman head down south.

Whilst planning the mission the pair begin to fall in love although Grant is careful not to let it get in the way of the plan to have Ingrid 'fall in love' with Nazi No.1 Claude Rains. Eventually, Ingrid ingratiates herself all the way into Claude's home that he shares with his mother and they get engaged. All the while both Ingrid and Cary try to deny their feelings but you can see they feel deeply for each other and are frustrated in the whole situation.

The really tense stuff starts as Ingrid has to stealthily find out what the Nazis are up to and to pass on information to Cary. She starts well but it all goes a bit Pete Tong at the engagement party when her and Cary's behaviour starts to make the baddies suspicious. There is a technically amazing camera shot, that goes from almost a birds eye view of the party in the mansion. The camera pans all the way down from this very wide opening shot right down to a tight close up of a key in Ingrid Bergman's hand. I've read a bit about how this was done (very difficult to film apparently) but it looks fluent and effortless, further evidence of the Master's technical brilliance.

As the baddies have now sussed out poor Ingrid's task, they begin to poison her slowly so that neither she or Cary notice what's being done to her until it's almost too late. However, this leads to a wonderful rescue scene in which Cary comes to take Ingrid away. He manages to extract her from the evil grasp of the Nazis but it is SO tense. He is in the nest of vipers, risking his life and Ingrid's life but he (sniffles) loves her so much he won't sacrifice her to their fatal plan.

I liked the sacrificial, masochistic element to this film. You see both of them (but especially Ingrid) really suffering for each other, almost to prove their love to the other. Hitchcock loves to punish his characters, loves to test their resolve and their faith in humanity. This film illustrates perfectly that test and how two people can find inner strength that they never knew they had.

More info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038787/

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