Rebecca (1940) dir. Alfred Hitchcock

11/11 @ COOLIDGE


Rebecca was Alfred Hitchcock’s first crack at a Daphne du Maurier adaptation, and his first American film. (He would continue adapting her work with 1963’s The Birds). Several of the actors were nominated for their work, and the film won Oscars. But funnily, it’s not the film most people think of when they think Hitchcock (that would be Psycho).

Rebecca is the story of a young, naïve woman (Joan Fontaine) working as a companion for a rich American women. While staying in Monte Carlo, the pair run into Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier), who owns a country house in Cornwall. He also recently lost his wife in a tragic boating accident. After her employer gets sick, the narrator becomes friends with Maxim as he takes her for rides in his car over the next few weeks. She falls in love with him, and accepts after he abruptly proposes marriage. They return to his estate, Manderley, and the narrator must learn to cope with an intimidating housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, (Judith Anderson) as well as the shadow of Maxim’s first wife, Rebecca.

It’s not hard to see why this movie won an Oscar for cinematography. Towards the end of the film, every scene is carefully set up to get the maximum amount of shock value, since it wouldn’t be a Hitchcock film without some psychological torment. The actors are flawless, which is, again, not a surprise given the cast. Overall, this film is a masterpiece that deserves the praise it receives.

dir. Alfred Hitchcock
130 min.

Screens 11/11, 7:00pm @ Coolidge Corner Theatre

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