Hitchcock, Wilcox and the Yellow Canary (continued)
Formal Similarities in These 2 Films
Similar stories aside, the first element in linking these films is their similar imagery.
I) Notorious has many shots for which Hitchcock is famous.. However, upon viewing Yellow Canary, the roots for some of the imagery of Notorious can be found (albeit on a modest budget) in the British Wilcox film.
The single-take staircase entrance of the matriarch of the Nazi household is a shared image in both films, yet at different plot points in the narrative. [All photo sequences are shown in chronological order,with Yellow Canary (1943) preceeding Notorious (1946).]
It is a stunning shot that loads a sense of inquiry and foreboding into both the character and story.
This staircase entrance is not evident in either the shooting script of May 9, 1945 nor June 11, 1945 of Notorious. Nor is it evident in the rewrites submitted by Clifford Odets. In those drafts of the script, there are attempts to introduce the character of Madame Sebastian dramatically, but never with the bravado of this shot. Due to a lack of written references to the shot in pre-production, it could be surmised that this was a Hitchcock invention and not an idea from one of the writers who contributed to the script.