Flying through Her Womanhood
Flying through her Womanhood:
The 1946 Hitchcock thriller, Notorious, held more than just another title with infamous faces such as Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains; it took character maturity to a different caliber by setting Ingrid Bergman’s inner characteristics free to express their own uniqueness.
She no longer played the reliant, frail, abandoned lover, Ilsa Lund, from the 1942 film, Casablanca, who waited upon Rick’s every breath. In Notorious, Hitchcock breathed into Alicia a rare sense of autonomy that mirrored that of Bergman’s true persona. Loved by two men, it was her inner strength as an independent, strong-willed woman that forced her to agree to the proposal of a man she did not love: “you can add Sebastian’s name to my list of playmates.”
The New Yorker’s Richard Brody explained Bergman’s inner unconventionality by referring to her relationship with director, Rossellini; she wished to break free in order to make her acting skills her steppingstones to personal autonomy.
One way that Hitchcock allowed Ingrid‘s character in Notorious to experience more autonomy than other female characters of her time was to challenge the Motion Picture Production Code for kissing regulations on screen. The code was enforced from 1930-1968 on the movies released in the United States of America. The code only allowed 3 seconds of continuous kissing, so Hitchcock evaded the regulation by having the actors pause after 3 seconds of kissing by adoring each other in other manners and begin kissing again, repeating the process. This innovative challenge allowed Hitchcock to create one of the most iconic two and a half minutes of intimate kissing in a movie, liberating his female character’s gender potential.
Photo credit: DAVID SEYMOUR / MAGNUM