Jane Eyre (1943)
It may seem like Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 murder mystery, Rebecca, is nothing more than a story about a jealous woman succumbing to her insecurities, but the truth is that Hitchcock wasn’t just a master of suspense—he was also the master of subtly injecting deeper layers of meaning into his movies. Yes, it’s true that the second Mrs. de Winter lets her obsession with her husband’s first spouse take over her life, but there’s something else at work here. It isn’t just envy that drives the second Mrs. de Winter mad, as in addition to her identity issues,
Rko was reeling from Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons, an expensive flop forcing a refocus on low budget films. Charles Koerner headed the studio’s B Unit, envisioning a horror series inspired by Universal Studio’s successful franchises. Where Universal culled from established literature (Dracula, Frankenstein), Rko worked from Koerner’s whim: he created a title and left the filmmakers to handle trivia like plot and characters.
Starting today, five classic films from the studio will be made available digitally for the first time ever – Sunrise (1927), Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), Man Hunt (1941), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and The Flight of the Phoenix (1965). Throughout the rest of the year a total of 100 digital releases will follow from Fox’s extensive catalog, including 10 films
Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)
Wes Anderson’s leap through the animated realm was a key moment that shifted his filmic characterization toward metaphysical poignancy, thus making way for Moonrise Kingdom, an impressionistically stylized portrait of a pre-Vietnam adolescent bliss. It’s not just Pierret Le Fou for children, but a story about the recreation of storytelling, appropriating aesthetics from low and high arts to burn memories of innocent times as a protection against the fears of adulthood, portrayed here as a melancholic,
The “Rebecca” actress was born to British parents in Tokyo, Japan on October 22nd, 1917 and moved to California in 1919 with her sister, actress Olivia de Havilland.
Funny enough, Joan once joked about her now-97-year-old sister- "I married first, won the Oscar before Olivia did, and if I die first, she’ll undoubtedly be livid because I beat her to it!”
In addition to her Hitchcock flick, Fontaine also starred in “Letter From an Unknown Woman,” “The Constant Nymph,” “Jane Eyre,” and “Ivy.”
The iconic actress Joan Fontaine has died at the age of 95. Star of Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca, she went on to win an Oscar for her work in Suspicion, setting the standard for the director's many cool blondes. She also gave the screen a memorable Jane Eyre and appeared in the likes of Gunga Din and Letter From An Unknown Woman.
The sister of Olivia de Havilland, Fontaine began her career on the stage but was quickly signed by Rko and groomed for stardom, starring alongside Katharine Hepburn in Quality Street. Alongside her film career, she worked in television and became a successful radio star. She retired in 1994 to spend more time with the dogs she adored.
Fontaine died peacefully at her home in Carmel-by-the-sea, California. She is survived by a daughter from her second marriage, Deborah, and by an adopted daughter, Martita, from whom she had become estranged.
After appearing alongside Fred Astaire in A Damsel in Distress (1937), Fontaine went on to secure the lead role in Rebecca, the Hollywood debut of director Alfred Hitchcock, which saw her receiving a nomination for Best Actress. Although she lost out to Ginger Rogers, Fontaine was nominated again the following year for Suspicion, taking home the award and making her the only star to win an acting Oscar in a Hitchcock picture. Her subsequent
Joan Fontaine Dies
Fontaine rose to fame during Hollywood’s Golden Era in the 1930s and ‘40s, starting off in supporting roles before landing the lead in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca. The part earned the actress her first Academy Award nod. Her second time teaming up with Hitchcock, for 1941 film Suspicion in which she starred opposite Cary Grant, saw her take home the statuette for best actress in a leading role.
Following the pair of Hitchcock films, Fontaine’s career maintained its steam with The Constant Nymph, earning her third Oscar nomination. The actress went on to receive praise for her turns in the titular role in Jane Eyre (1944), Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), September Affair (1950), Ivanhoe (1952) and Island in the Sun (1957).
Throughout the ‘60s, Fontaine made a number of TV appearances and
According to People Magazine, the Hollywood star died on Sunday at her northern California house.
Apart from starring in another Hitchcock-helmed 1939 film 'Rebecca', the iconic actress' other well-known movies included 1943's 'The Constant Nymph', 1944's 'Jane Eyre' and 1952's 'Ivanhoe'. (Ani)
Known best for her back-to-back roles in two Alfred Hitchcock thrillers -- the 1940 Best Picture winner Rebecca and the 1941 film Suspicion, for which she won a Best Actress Oscar, making her the ony actor in a Hitchcock film to receive an Academy Award -- she and her sister were enshrined in Hollywood lore as intense rivals, and their rivalry reached a peak of sorts when Fontaine beat de Havilland for the 1941 Best Actress Oscar.
Born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland in 1917 in Tokyo, Japan, Fontaine suffered from recurring ailments throughout her childhood, resulting in her mother moving both her and Olivia to California. While her mother, stage actress Lillian Fontaine, desired for both her daughters to be actresses, it was only Olivia who initially pursued an acting career, as Fontaine returned to Japan for two years when she was 15 years old to live with her father, who divorced Lillian in 1919. Upon returning to the states, Fontaine found that Olivia was already becoming an established actress, and began to embark on her own career. Starting out in theater, Joan initially changed her name to Joan Burfield, then Joan Fontaine (so as to avoid confusion with her sister), and soon found herself in moderately noteworthy parts in such films as You Can't Beat Love (1937), A Damsel in Distress (1937, opposite Fred Astaire) and Gunga Din (1939, alongside Cary Grant, her future leading man in Suspicion). Though she garnered more notice in 1939 in the supporting part of naive newlywed Peggy Day in the classic comedy The Women, she was far eclipsed in fame and reputation by her sister, who had already starred along Errol Flynn in a number of romance adventures, and who received her first Oscar nomination for the blockbuster Gone With the Wind.
It was the same man who cast de Havilland in Gone With the Wind who would make Fontaine into a major star. Looking to follow up the monstrous success of Gone With the Wind with another noteworthy literary adapation, producer David O. Selnick snapped up the rights to the Daphne du Maurier bestseller Rebecca, in which an unnamed, demure heroine -- known only as "the second Mrs. de Winter" -- is taunted by the memory of her husband's first wife, the beautiful and seductive title character. Selznick brought director Alfred Hitchcock over for his first American production, cast matinee idol and rising star Laurence Olivier as moody, mysterious husband Maxim de Winter, and embarked on a Scarlett O'Hara-style talent search for his leading lady. Rejecting Loretta Young, Margaret Sullavan, Vivian Leigh (then Olivier's wife), and a then-unknown Anne Baxter along with hundreds of other actresses, Selznick decided on Fontaine, who though not an established star projected the right mix of beauty, insecurity, and tenacity needed for the part. Fontaine's insecurity, however, was heightened by Olivier's sometimes cruel treatment of her on set, as he had lobbied aggressively for Leigh to get the role, and Hitchcock capitalized on her inferiority complex to shape her performance. The resulting film, released in 1940, was an unqualified critical and financial success, catapulting Fontaine into the tier of top Hollywood leading ladies, establishing Hitchcock firmly in the United States, and nabbing the film 11 Academy Award nominations, includine ones for both Fontaine and Olivier; it would go on to win Best Picture.
Selznick, pleased with the combination of Hitchcock and Fontaine, signed the two on for a follow-up about a demure heiress who begins to suspect that her playboy husband is out to murder her for her money. Initially titled Before the Fact, it would later be retitled Suspicion, and Cary Grant was cast as the charming but caddish husband. Though the final ending of the film was tinkered with -- studio heads thought making Grant guilty would be bad for box office, and insisted on a twist to make him actually heroic -- it was another success, earning three Oscar nominations, including Fontaine's second Best Actress nod. It was at the 1941 Academy Awards that Fontaine, once considered the also-ran to her movie star sister, beat Olivia de Havilland for the Best Actress Oscar (de Havilland had been nominated for Hold Back the Dawn). In what became part of Hollywood and Academy Award legend, Fontaine coolly rejected her sister's efforts at congratulations, and What had always been a fractious relationship since childhood became officially estranged. Hollywood wags often reported that because de Havilland lost to her sister, she would retaliate by winning two Oscars -- in 1946 for To Each His Own and 1949 for The Heiress -- in order to top Fontaine. The two would officially stop speaking to one another in 1975.
Fontaine received a third Oscar nomination in 1943, for the music melodrama The Constant Nymph, and that same year essayed the title role in the commercially successful if moderately well-regarded version of Jane Eyre opposite Orson Welles. She remained a star throughout the 1940s, appearing in the comedy The Affairs of Susan (1945), the thriller Ivy (1947), and opposite Bing Crosby in The Emperor Waltz (1948). Fontaine also gave what many consider to be her best performance in 1948's Letters from an Unknown Woman, Max Ophuls' romantic drama opposite Louis Jourdan. In 1945 she divorced her first husband, actor Brian Aherne, and in 1946 married producer William Dozier, whom she would divorce in 1951. Two years later, she was embroiled in a bitter custody battle with him over their daughter, Debbie, and the ongoing lawsuit would prevent Fontaine from accepting the role of frustrated military wife Karen Holmes in the Oscar-winning drama From Here to Eternity -- Deborah Kerr was instead cast, and received an Oscar nomination for the part.
Though she continued to work throughout the 1950s, most notably in the lavish Technicolor adaptation of Ivanhoe (1952), Ida Lupino's film noir The Bigamist (1953), and in the pioneering if often campy racial drama Island in the Sun (1957), her work in both film and television lessened, and her last film appearance was in Hammer Films horror movie The Devil's Own (1966). Television work followed in the 1970s and 1980s, and Fontaine received a Daytime Emmy nomination for the soap opera Ryan's Hope. She published an autobiography, No Bed of Roses, in 1978, and after the television film Good King Wenceslas (1994), retired officially to her home in Carmel, California.
Fontaine is survived by her daughter, Debbie Dozier.
Born in Japan to British parents in 1917, she and her sister Olivia de Havilland moved to California as toddlers and began working for Rko Pictures by 1935. Early roles include the likes of "Quality Street" and "The Women," "Gunga Din," "The Man Who Found Himself," and "Damsel in Distress".
Fontaine achieved stardom in the early 1940s when she scored an Oscar nomination for Alfred Hitchcock's Best Picture winner "Rebecca" (underrated and one of my personal favorite Hitchcocks).
The following year she went on to win the Oscar for "Suspicion," her second team-up with Hitchcock and the only actress to ever win for a Hitchcock film. Fontaine beat her sister that year at the Oscars, and a rejected attempt to congratulate her added to an already frictional relationship - the pair having not spoken since the 1970s. De Havilland currently lives in Paris.
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