Notorious: A Spy Film Analysis

1556 Words 7 Pages
Two of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous films are the spy movies Notorious and North by Northwest. Released in 1946, Notorious is a film about romance, espionage, and Nazis. Alicia Huberman agrees to work for the U.S. government by seducing Alex Sebastian, a friend of her father and a U.S. traitor, in order to get inside his home and learn valuable Nazi secrets. Along the way, she falls in love with her colleague, T. R. Devlin, and the plan goes differently than expected. North by Northwest (1959) is also a spy movie, where an innocent, clueless man, Roger Thornhill, finds himself hunted down by agents of an unknown organization, who have mistaken him for their enemy. As he is chased across the United States, he falls for a double agent, Eve …show more content…
Both are spy movies, however one was made over a decade later than the other, so they have some aspects in common and some major differences. One of the plot elements both movies include is a romance in the middle of a government scheme. In Notorious, Alicia is asked to seduce an enemy of the United States in order to spy on him. This is harder for her than she previously thought, because she begins to fall in love with the man who got her the job, Devlin. Devlin is driven to jealousy as he watches Alicia spend time with Alex Sebastian and begins to get angry even though he is the one who suggested she partake in the plan. Both of them hide their feelings for each other, as they feel they cannot be together. A similar scenario happens in North by Northwest. This time it is much more complicated. Thornhill is approached by a woman who he at first thinks is a civilian, then later thinks is a spy working for the men who are chasing him down to kill him. He eventually discovers that she is a double agent, working for the U.S. but acting like she is reporting to the evil organization in order to learn valuable secrets. Both Eve and Thornhill want to be together, but they are separated by the danger of spywork and the pressure of keeping their identities secret. Both are similar scenarios, yet North by Northwest is more complicated while Notorious has some more straightforward romance …show more content…
Both movies are directed by Alfred Hitchcock, who has techniques that help define his films and set them apart from other directors. Both of these movies make use of the bird’s-eye view as an angle in a specific scene, and both movies have a MacGuffin. In Notorious, there is a famous bird's-eye shot that takes place during the party scene at Alex Sebastian's house. The camera starts out above the great hall of the party where many people are congregating, then proceeds to slowly sweep closer down until it makes its way to a close up shot of a key in Alicia’s hand. A good example of the use of a bird’s eye-view in North by Northwest is when Thornhill and Eve are in the enemy’s house. Thornhill knows that the enemy is on to Eve’s secret identity and that she is in danger, but she does not know, and he is standing on a ledge above her trying to get a message to her without being seen. He comes up with the idea of throwing a pack of matches down to her with a note written on them. The bird’s-eye view is when he is looking down at her from the ledge above as he throws the note, hoping that it is picked up by her and not the enemy. Bird's-eye views are used to make the person viewed by the camera seem trapped, helpless, or small. This is more evident in North by Northwest as Eve is in danger of being found out, which is why she

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