Rebecca 1940

June 24, 2010 Whitney movie review 7 Comments

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: Daphne Du Maurier (celebrated novel), Robert E. Sherwood (screen play)
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders
Release Date: April 12, 1940

A self-conscious bride is tormented by the memory of her husband’s dead first wife.

You had me at Hitchcock.  And if that wasn’t enough you can also throw in the great Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine.  These three mainstays of Golden Hollywood are all involved with the mysterious Rebecca.

Rebecca is the story of an unnamed girl who marries the wealthy Maxim de Winter who was ruined after the death of his first wife Rebecca.  Upon entering the estate of Manderly the second Mrs. de Winter is constantly being compared to the first wife of that name and is petrified by her maid and still devotee of Rebecca, Mrs. Danvers.

Rebecca was filmed in an eerie light making the most mundane things creepy, such as the opening of a window, a portrait in the hall or an embroidered pillow case, goosebumps were sent up my spine.

While I have never read the book, I’ve seen this movie many times and still manages to catch me off guard.  I think this is because there are gaps of questioning left in the conclusion, leaving this storyline as unfinished or unsolved, as somethings must stay unearthed.


7 responses to “Rebecca 1940

  1. I watched this film a few years ago and really enjoyed it, I had some shocks when reading the book though. So many things Hitchcock left out that my mouth fell open several times reading it. Both great though.

  2. I saw the movie a few days after I read the book and they did change some important parts. I heard that they didn't have a choice at that time but I don't want to give the book away.

  3. Chris and Jess– I've read that Hitch wanted to stray very far from the original story but fortunately Selznick put his foot down.

    Juju– Rebecca is very different from the typical Hitchcock and was his only film to win best picture in '40. Also, watch for his cameo by a phone booth.

    BookQuoter– I guess that's good and bad. Good that I'll still be surprised when I finally do read Rebecca and bad that they changed the script.

  4. Totally agree! I have read the book and it does answer some questions. Also, I don't feel quite so creeped out about Maxim marrying a young girl.

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