Rebecca (1940)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Starring: Lawrence Olivier, Joan Fontaine

Awards: Academy Award (Best Picture)

As an avid Hitchcock fan, I found Rebecca an enthralling mystery film ahead of its time. Edited in camera, the film is technically sound and expertly plotted with a solid narrative and plenty of unexpected twists and turns.  This was the same studio to produce the Academy Award winning best picture of the year before, Gone with the Wind.

The story follows an unnamed common woman, companion to a rich woman in Monte Carlo. While there she meets a rich widower, Max De Winter. They fall in love, marry and return to Manderlay, Winter’s estate in England. The new wife has big shoes to fill though, trying to live up to the expectations created by the dead first wife, Rebecca, as related by the obsessive and sometimes dangerous housekeeper Mrs. Danvers.

Danvers tries her best to sabotage the overwhelmed young new wife, constantly reviving the memory of Rebecca to the torment of Winter. Winter’s grief leads to suspicion though, when the events surrounding his first wife’s death come into question. A multi-layered mystery unfolds with haunting conclusions.

Other Notable Films by this Director: Psycho (1960), Vertigo (1958), The 39 Steps (1935), Rear Window (1954), Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946)

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