Screenplay 101: NOTORIOUS

Here's something you may not know: We have every one of the WGA's 101 Greatest Screenplays right on the shelves of our library. From Ben Hecht's 1946 spy thriller NOTORIOUS to the Epstein brothers' CASABLANCA, we're fully stocked with the scripts voted the best in history by WGA members. And over the coming year, we'll be posting pages from each and every one. To start, here's the aforementioned NOTORIOUS by Ben Hecht, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant and Claude Rains (not the other NOTORIOUS, about Biggie Smalls, which by all accounts is itself a pretty decent flick).

Here's the scene: Alicia (Bergman), an American spy tasked with infiltrating a group of former Nazi expatriates in Brazil, has just married one of those expats, Alex (Rains) - much to the chagrin of her handler, TR Devlin (Grant), who is in love with her (hence Hecht's description of their relationship as "cool"). Devlin here is attempting to get Alicia to convince Alex to throw a party as a distraction, so Devlin can break into Alex's wine cellar, where he hopes to find dirt on Alex.

Nobody ever said spy thrillers were simple, right?