Rebecca (1940)

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Robert E. Sherwood & Joan Harrison

This was awesome. The best film in the marathon and a great way to end it. It was thrown in at the end because it is Hitchcock’s first Hollywood film so it shows his transition well. Oddly enough, it is also the only Hitchcock film to win Best Picture. It had me all the way, from the word “Go”. The title character, Rebecca, is someone who is never seen, but very much the subject of the film. A young companion, Joan Fontaine, meets and falls in love with the widower Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier) in Monte Carlo in the first act. They then get married and move back to his large estate, Manderley. But once there, the character of Rebecca bears a large burden for the new Mrs. de Winter, as Rebecca is the last wife of Maxim, and she died in a boating accident of the shore of their estate. The house workers and even Mr. de Winter are overbearing when it comes to the new Mrs. de Winter. She soon has to fight for her sanity and her love of Maxim.

The third act takes yet another smart twist and the resolve is one of shock and finality. The film shows the genius of Hitchcock for sure. In the first act, we the audience see one of the most romantic pieces of film. Then we move into a big house and are treated to something like Sunset Blvd., especially with the head house maid, Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) being at the forefront of tormenting Mrs. de Winter. The two leads were fantastic and so was Judith Anderson as the villain type character. Joan Fontaine reminded me of Ingrid Bergman, but that’s a good thing.

I found little to nothing wrong with the film. All the scenes, all the characters were there for a reason and the plot and flow were beautiful. Easily my favorite film of the marathon. Reflecting on the marathin itself, I can see the growth in Hitchcock as a director. He went from silent film to talkies and he went from domestic drama and comedy to his niche, suspense and thriller. But at the same time, Hitch had the ability to infuse very romantic characters and subplots throughout many of these films. Some of them were duds, some of them showed signs of promise, and some of them were masterpieces, like this one. Now knowing where the film goes and how it ends, I feel as though this film would be one that would reward repeat viewings for picking up on the little things that were sprinkled about throughout the film. Great job by Hitchcock. Here and forever.

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