Notorious (1946)

Notorious is a 1946 American thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary GrantIngrid Bergman and Claude Rains as three people whose lives become intimately entangled during an espionage operation. It was shot in late 1945 and early 1946, and was released by RKO in August 1946.

Notorious marks a watershed for Hitchcock artistically, and represents a heightened thematic maturity. His biographer, Donald Spoto, writes that “Notorious is in fact Alfred Hitchcock’s first attempt—at the age of forty-six—to bring his talents to the creation of a serious love story, and its story of two men in love with Ingrid Bergman could only have been made at this stage of his life.”

The film is known for two scenes in particular. In one of his most famous shots, Hitchcock starts wide and high on a second floor balcony overlooking the great hall of a grand mansion. Slowly he tracks down and in on Ingrid Bergman, finally ending with a tight close-up of a key tucked in her hand. So arresting is the shot that an outline of the key became a graphic element in the film’s promotional material. Hitchcock also devised “a celebrated scene” that circumvented the Production Code’s ban on kisses longer than three seconds — by having his actors disengage every three seconds, murmur and nuzzle each other, then start right back up again. The two-and-a-half minute osculation is “perhaps his most intimate and erotic kiss.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notorious_(1946_film)

IMDB Ratings: 8.2/10, A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038787/

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It’s a Wonderful Life: Colorized Version (1946)

It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra and based on the short story “The Greatest Gift” written by Philip Van Doren Stern.

The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of hisguardian angelClarence Odbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and the contributions he has made to his community.

Despite initially being considered a box office flop due to high production costs and stiff competition at the time of its release, the film has come to be regarded as a classic and a staple of Christmas television around the world. Theatrically, the film’s break-even point was actually $6.3 million, approximately twice the production cost, a figure it never came close to achieving in its initial release. An appraisal in 2006 reported: “Although it was not the complete box-office failure that today everyone believes … it was initially a major disappointment and confirmed, at least to the studios, that Capra was no longer capable of turning out the populist features that made his films the must-see, money-making events they once were.”

It’s a Wonderful Life was nominated for five Oscars without winning any, although the film has since been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made, and placed number one on their list of the most inspirational American films of all time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_a_Wonderful_Life

IMDB Ratings: 8.7/10, An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038650/