"A man doesn't tell a woman what to do. She tells herself."—Devlin
Alicia, daughter of a convicted Nazi spy, is recruited by agent T.R. Devlin for an important assignment. A few Nazis, led by one Alexander Sebastian, have relocated to Brazil for an evil plan. Her mission, should she choose to accept it, is to infiltrate the group and find out their goal. She infiltrates the group, and eventually marries Sebastian, over his mother's objections. How long can Alicia uphold her charade? Can Devlin save the day if her cover's blown?
Notorious was added to the National Film Registry in 2006.
- Affably Evil: Sebastian is about the nicest, most debonair Nazi you'll ever meet--in fact one gets the sense that he probably cares more about Alicia than Devlin does.
- The Baroness: Madame Sebastian.
- Big Damn Heroes: Devlin saves the day when it seems Alicia might die from the poisoning. How big? Count the steps, there are a lot more when he's going down than when he went up them.
- Bottle Fairy: Alicia runs to alcohol to help deal with her personal life, and the problems that arise from it.
- Creator Cameo: As always with Hitchcock films. In this one, he's quaffing champagne at Sebastian's party.
- Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Despite many people's perceptions of the 1940's, one of the reasons Alicia is selected by the American government is because she has a history of many boyfriends and this is neither out of the ordinary nor exceptionally noteworthy. She and Alexander Sebastian sleep together before marriage, before there is even a proposal, and the entire courtship took only a few weeks.
- My Girl Is Not a Slut: Devlin keeps sniping at Alicia about this and eventually suggests that she abandon the whole project, since he doesn't want his girlfriend to be that kind of girl.
- Evil Matriarch: Madame Sebastian, again.
- Hays Code: The Code said a kiss could not be held onscreen for longer than three seconds. This led Hitchcock to craft the famous kissing scene in this movie where Alicia and Devlin embrace, kiss each other, nuzzle a little, chat softly about making arrangements for dinner, kiss again, nuzzle, kiss again... A wonderful example of Hitchcock Getting Crap Past the Radar.
- MacGuffin: The uranium in the wine cellar.
- The Mole: A heroic version.
- Oh Crap: Sebastian, when the other Nazis find out about his marrying an American Agent.
- Perfect Poison: Averted. The Sebastians attempt to kill Alicia by spiking her coffee, but it is done gradually to give the impression that she is simply ill. This keeps their fellow Nazis from growing suspicious and also prevents Alicia from acting until it is already too late.
- Playing Gertrude: Leopoldine Konstantin was a mere three years older than her on-screen son, Claude Rains.
- Pretty in Mink: Alicia wears an ermine wrap and a mink coat.
- Those Wacky Nazis
- Would Hit a Girl: Devlin, although he's partially justified in doing so, as she nearly killed him with her drunk driving, then became hysterical upon realizing he is a government agent.
Alexander Sebastian: [to Alicia] Many things have died for all of us. We mustn't let our spirit die with them. Perhaps I can help you to forget. I'd like to.