Most people rate "Notorious" as one of Alfred Hitchcock's best movies, and after watching "Notorious" (again) after seeing "North by Northwest" a few days ago, I think it's my favourite. It's tense, uncomfortable, and thought-provoking. But also heroic, noble, and romantic. To be all those things, in one movie ...
The plot (does anyone not know it?) shows Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) as a party girl whose father is convicted in an American court for supporting the Nazis, and T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant) approaching Alicia to recruit her to help discover Nazi activities in Brazil. They fall in love, but Devlin isn't willing to deal with her history and treats her badly. To prove herself to him or because she's feeling rejected, she keeps getting into more and more danger.
What sets the movie apart is the quality of the writing (often the case with Hitchcock), the quality of the acting (just about the best cast you could get in 1946), and the uncomfortable topics indirectly addressed (she marries a man to spy on him). A superb and highly recommended movie.
The title remains something of a mystery to me. I wrote in my original review that I'd find an explanation online: she was "notorious" because her father was a Nazi. But the extras on the DVD I watched this time described a part of the script that didn't make it into the final product in which she was described as "notorious" because of her partying and scandalous constant swapping of gentleman friends before meeting Devlin. Either - or both - will do, I suppose.