A shy lady's companion, staying in Monte Carlo with her stuffy employer, meets the wealthy Maxim de Winter. She and Max fall in love, marry and return to Manderley, his large country estate in Cornwall. Max is still troubled by the death of his first wife, Rebecca, in a boating accident the year before. The second Mrs. de Winter clashes with the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, and discovers that Rebecca still has a strange hold on everyone at Manderley.Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
Impossible police procedure: immediately after the inquest, the Chief Constable starts a possible murder inquiry, on his own, taking the chief suspect with him. This error is copied from the novel. See more »
[as the second Mrs. de Winter runs into the room]
I watched you go down just as I watched her a year ago. Even in the same dress you couldn't compare.
The Second Mrs. de Winter:
You knew it! You knew that she wore it, and yet you deliberately suggested I wear it. Why do you hate me? What have I done to you that you should ever hate me so?
You tried to take her place. You let him marry you. I've seen his face - his eyes. They're the same as those first weeks after she died. I used to listen to him, walking up and down, up ...
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The original 1940 credits read "Selznick International presents its picturization of Daphne Du Maurier's 'Rebecca'". The credits on the re-issue version read "The Selznick Studio presents its production of Daphne Du Maurier's 'Rebecca'". See more »
The opening credits were re-done (with different font) for the 1950's re-release of the movie. It is these credits that have turned up on all telecasts of the film (even as recently as 2013) and all previous video releases. The Criterion release (which is now only available through outlet stores) restores all of the credits to their original form. See more »
I spent the majority of this film thinking about how lucky M. Olivier really was. To be able to wrap his arms around Joan Fontaine and kiss her. Oh my. She's one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen (almost, but not quite as beautiful as Veronica Lake). She's also absolutely perfect in the role of the second Mrs. DeWinter, taking a character that could have become a cloying bore in less capable hands and transforming her into a sympathetic and interesting figure.
The movie, on the whole, is similarly amazing, capturing the spirit and the tone of those great Gothic romances. Watching Rebecca, I was reminded (pleasantly) of Wuthering Heights; I do not mean to suggest that in some way this film re-tells the tale of Cathy and Heathcliff, but rather that Rebecca has the feel of Bronte's novel (I am most certainly not talking about the William Wyler adaptation a few years before the release of Rebecca. That's a terrible film that somehow manages to mis-interpret the novel).
I must assume that the guiding hand of Hitchcock played no small role in recreating the feel of a Gothic romance. There are very few that would be able to take a love story, infuse it with such gloom, with such a sense of foreboding, and still manage to create something that ends happily without it feeling like a cop-out. I'd also like to draw everyone's attention to the incredibly moving section of the film that occurs between the arrival of the second Mrs. DeWinter at Mandalay and the masqued ball. The emotional strain on the Joan Fontaine character is so palpable, so absolutely taxing, that it actually pains me to watch. I hurt along with her. Few other movies affect me so emotionally - one of them is Vertigo.
All in all, this is a fantastic piece of film-making from Hollywood's golden age. Laurence Olivier is in top-form, as he plays the quiet, sad Maxim and George Sanders is positively hateful.
10/10 - a visceral masterpiece
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