Rebecca

“Magnificent romantic Gothic corn, full of Alfred Hitchcock's humour and inventiveness.”— Pauline Kael
Year: 1940
Country: USA
Running time: 115 mins
USA
Producer: David O. Selznick
Screenplay: Joan Harrison, Michael Hogan, Philip MacDonald, Robert E. Sherwood
Based on the novel by Daphne Du Maurier
Photography: George Barnes
Art director: Lyle R. Wheeler
Editor: W. Donn Hayes, Hal C. Kern
Music: Franz Waxman
B&W

With:
Laurence Olivier
Joan Fontaine
George Sanders
Judith Anderson
Nigel Bruce
“DAPHNE DU MAURIER'S romantic melodrama is given the Hollywood treatment with all the trimmings by one of the great American producers of romance (David O. Selznick, who was also responsible for Gone With The Wind) and Britain's master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, clearly revels here in having a big, Hollywood budget for the first time. The result is a fascinating, atmospheric classic, with three memorable performances: Joan Fontaine as the nameless heroine, Laurence Olivier as her coolly enigmatic husband, and – best of all – Judith Anderson as the housekeeper Mrs Danvers... Even today, the scene where Fontaine is investigating Rebecca's room and suddenly finds Mrs Danvers behind her can make the most hardened horror fan jump... Rebecca may not be Hitchcock's most personal work, but it is still a fascinating piece, with a mood of Gothic unease that has rarely been surpassed.” — Christopher Tookey

“Despite his stated resistance to working in a woman's genre, the Gothic romance, Hitchcock articulates with uncanny knowingness the dilemma of the female oedipal drama: the childlike heroine is rescued from a domineering old woman by Maxim, a handsome, fabulously wealthy man, old enough to be her father; but at the culmination of her triumph – her possession of Manderley, her husband's ancestral home – she must confront Rebecca, the woman who possessed Maxim first, appears to still possess him and can possess/annihilate her too. In this Cinderella story gone wrong is a theme that recurs with a vengeance in Vertigo and Psycho the dread of being taken up and absorbed by a stronger personality, whose omnipotence is augmented rather than diminished precisely because that person is dead.” — Marilyn Fabe, Pacific Film Archive