Introduction “No One Mourns the Wicked”



In Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious (1946), Devlin (Cary Grant) casts Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) as a “femme fatale,” unable to imagine “that a woman like [her] could ever change her spots.” Formerly promiscuous, and sullied by reputation, as well, because of her fascist, recently deceased father, Alicia bears the burden of Dev’s judgment and mistrust throughout their sadomasochistic courtship. While the ambiguity of Dev’s and Alicia’s roles has been recognized by critics such as Donald Spoto (who felicitously refers to Dev as “Prince Not-So-Charming” and Alicia as “Snow Beige” [155]), Alicia’s victimization by Devlin, her exploitation by the government men who use her as a pawn to seduce the strangely vulnerable fascist Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains), and her weary resignation to becoming the “fatal” woman, don’t tend to register in critical discussions of the film as part of a larger pattern of misreading women in film noir.


Female Experience Feminist Discussion American Film Social Script Gender Politics 
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© Julie Grossman 2009

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