Sunday, April 4, 2010

Rebecca (1940) - The First Hitchcock Masterpiece?

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Main Cast:
  • Laurence Olivier - 'Maxim' de Winter
  • Joan Fontaine - The Second Mrs. de Winter
  • Judith Anderson - Mrs. Danvers

3 Sentence Simple Synopsis: The wealthy Maxim de Winter gets remarried after his wife Rebecca, loved by everyone who lays eyes on her, drowns at sea. When he returns home with his new bride, the new Mrs. de Winter is tormented by the head house maid who is still infatuated with Rebecca. As the plot thickens, it appears the spirit of Rebecca never left the house as deadly secrets try to separate the newly weds.

Why is this film in my Blockbuster Queue: Other than the fact that I'm on a quest to watch all of Hitchcock's films, the thing that intrigued me most was the film shares the same name as my little sister.

Some Quick thoughts: So, how could a movie with a common girl's name be such a masterpiece of suspense? In my opinion, the most suspenseful sequence was when the Second Mrs. de Winter comes down the stairs dressed up for the costume ball. We all knew the Evil Mrs. Danvers tricked the poor girl into dressing like Rebecca. The sight of anything resembling Rebecca angrily upsets Maxim, so you can feel the tension even before Maxim turns around to see his beautiful wife.

This movie doesn't have any bombs, guns, or chase scenes, but the memories of Rebecca create enough suspense to make Hitchcock's first Hollywood film a thrill. In the end, the newly weds live happily ever after, even though Mrs. Danvers dies in a blazing fire and Maxim gets away with hiding the true reason for Rebecca's death (don't worry, he didn't kill her, she just fell and hit her head while they were arguing. However, he did make her death look like suicide by sending her body out to sea.). Regardless of any moral ground broken, the audience is pleased with the outcome because we know Rebecca was actually cruel and unfaithful.

Oh, and even though this film is old and in Black & White, I think Joan Fontaine was kinda hot.

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