Rebecca (1940)

ALFRED HITCHCOCK

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  USA, 1940.  Screenplay by , , adaptation by , , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Podcasts:  My Criterions.  Academy Awards 1940.

A young woman who remains nameless throughout the film () falls in love with moody aristocrat Max deWinter () while working as an old lady’s companion at a fashionable resort. She marries the gentleman, and upon going home to her new mansion abode discovers that her husband’s first wife Rebecca died under such mysterious circumstances that everyone in the house seems to be obsessed with her ghost. Her husband won’t help in the information department when it concerns the first Mrs. DeWinter, and the chilling housekeeper Mrs. Danvers () follows our heroine around like the plague to make sure that the memory of her beloved mistress is left undisturbed (the part where she shows Fontaine Rebecca’s lace underwear is a repressed lesbian dream delight). Alfred Hitchcock’s direction of his first Hollywood film couldn’t be better, and all the performances do extreme justice to Daphne du Maurier’s story (slightly altered by the censors but more or less intact). I still get chills every time I hear the opening line (‘Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again’).

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