21 November 2014

Rebecca (1940)
130 min.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
With Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson, Nigel Bruce, Gladys Cooper, Reginald Denny, Leo G. Carroll, Florence Bates.
The classic 1938 Daphne du Maurier novel gets the Hitchcock treatment in the director's first American outing.

A shy young woman (Fontaine) marries self-assured aristocrat Maxim de Winter (Olivier), and moves in with him to his regal English estate at Manderley.

But the second Mrs. de Winter soon finds her new life of upper crust nobility isn't all peaches & cream.

The extended de Winters family prove less than friendly. And Manderley's grand housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Anderson) is one mean spirited dame.

To boot, could the ghostly spirit of Maxim's previous wife, Rebecca, be lording it over the joint?

Will the second Mrs. de Winter pull through?

A great cast highlights this superb outing: Olivier gives one of his best performances, while Fontaine is the picture of vulnerability, and (the very creepy) Anderson is a paradigm of malevolence.

Excellent cinematography, a stellar score by Franz Waxman, and a great fiery climax all boost this 1941 Academy Award winner for Best Picture.

This definitive gothic ghost story is a must see.

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