Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rebecca (1940) "Hitchcock's first American film classic!"

Rebecca (1940) "Hitchcock's first American film classic!" 
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier & George Sanders
Selznick International Pics/United Artists

Taglines: The shadow of this woman darkened their love

Our film will play into our topic right now which is "Academy Awards" which was made into a mega-hit motion picture in 1940 with 11 Academy Award Nominations including "Best Actor, Actress, Director, Music etc. It took two which were: "Best Picture" & "Best Cinematography for George Barnes. Alfred Hitchcock directed this suspenseful black and white classic with his two film leads being Laurence Olivier & Joan Fontaine.


We begin the thrilling film with a voice over of a woman whom we do not see but only hear saying the following lines: ""Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again", and continues - as it no longer exists, except as a ruin. We see while she is speaking the manor is in ruins.

We then meet a young lady (Fontaine) who is an orphan and is now a paid companion to a very old and wealthy stickler. Both ladies are vacationing together in Monte Carlo and love it there. The young lady meets a widower who is well to do named Maximilian (Maxim) de Winter (Olivier) and the older lady meet him as well and is smitten. During there stay the young lady does many day trips with Maxim and they both start to fall in love over the course of the short time. While the young care giver is out she makes up stories to keep her walthy widow in the dark of the situation.

Then the day comes and the lady and the widow are getting ready to leave soon and go back abroad. The decision is made that Maxim is going to wed her and not allow her leave. So abruptly the job is done and the young lady becomes the 2nd Mrs. de Winter. Maxim takes his new bride back to where they are going to reside which is a sprawlling country estate called Manderley located in England.

We find out the previous Mrs. de Winter lived in this home and had the first name Rebecca and was a great beauty and becomes a tall act for the new lady of the hosue to follow. The new Mrs. de Winter has no background nor breeding of any sort which is fine for most of the servants except for one who was the personal servant Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) to the first wife. Her former mistresses bedroom suite is kept exactly as it was for years as a shrine due to Mrs. Danvers devotion. This is a lot for the new lady of the hosue to deal with the rules, looking part, speaking the part and more she simply was not in the same calipur as the first wife, Rebecca.

Shortly the new lady of the house discovers that Maxim and the honeymoon time is well over and he has quite a temper that gets even more ignited by his new wives being questioning and wet behind the ears. Is the dream and love that she was experiencing at first still there or is it all gone and a true nightmare now?

We then have a lavish and beautiful costume ball that Maxim pushes onto hs new bride hoping that it will make her happy. And from there things continue to just go downhill. We see dark things such as murder and secrets that come out of the light that make us wonder behind this beautiful country estates walls is it pure danger to wish to be there and want to live there??? Perhaps it seems so.

Note from the classic movie gentleman:
I love many of Hitchckock's films but this one has to be one of my favs. I love the script along with the actors casted and the overall feeling that seems to be captured perfectly with the cinematography (which now makes perfect sense why George Barnes took home a golden statue for this work) along with the feel that it could not other than being in black and white. A true classic that everyone has to see no matter if you are a Hitchcock fan or not you will love it!!!

1 comment:

  1. I must have read the book Rebecca a dozen times now and seen the film heaven knows how many. But who can I credit?. . .du Maurier? Hitchcock? Olivier? Fontaine? Anderson?. . .all great contributions !! . .Thank you all !!