Murder on the Orient Express. I think my favorite part was the extended opening, gathering up all the players before the journey starts. Mostly entertaining. The final act/resolution seems a bit over-cooked. I wonder if it comes across better in the book, though.
Casablanca. It’s perfect. Claude Rains keeps the whole thing moving.
Notorious. Highly recommended. We’re back in quality Hitchcock territory after that last fiasco. Grant recruits the scandalous socialite Bergman as a fellow spy. They go down to Rio and struggle with how far to take their work and their love. The highlight for me was the party/wine cellar scene (which starts with a famous shot). The ingenious tension in this comes from the simple issue of whether there is enough champagne, and thus, is there time/cover to sneak into the wine cellar? And there’s the clever screenwriting where Bergman excuses herself to request that the band play Brazilian music instead of waltzes, which also refreshes the soundtrack for the subsequent cellar snooping.
And I tell you what: Bergman is an incredible actress–maybe my favorite female film star? I like Grant in this one, too. I’ve long been ambivalent about him on screen, but I like that this role seems to have a touch of menace underneath, and a little less confidence. Great movie. Ebert says.