”Rear Window” and ”Vertigo” get more play, but the most satisfying Hitchcock film may be Notorious. Romantic, brilliantly constructed, and glowing with beauty, it’s a stunning example of the master’s work. (And speaking of stunning, Ingrid Bergman was never easier on the eyes.) The 1946 espionage classic has been on DVD for a while now, so the digitization is no revelation, but the deluxe Criterion treatment is a pleasure. The presentation is sharp. The commentary tracks – featuring Hitchcock film scholar Marian Keane and film historian Rudy Behlmer – are an even balance of history and crisp analysis that rarely meander into the realm of pap.
And the ”dossier” of goodies features everything from the 1948 Lux Radio Theater version of the film (with Joseph Cotten as Devlin) to a neat presentation of scripted scenes that were never shot. But the real treasures are the excerpts from David O. Selznick’s correspondence files, which document the legendary producer’s back-and-forth about the film with the likes of the Production Code Administration and FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover. A delight.