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Author Topic: Rebecca (1940)  (Read 106 times)
Matt
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« on: October 13, 2018, 06:04:34 PM »



This is the discussion thread for Rebecca (1940). Discuss anything about the film that you'd like to!
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KC
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2018, 06:46:00 PM »

What, nobody watched this great movie yet?

I was putting it off, thinking I'd pick it up from the library. Then I found out the Criterion Collection is having a half-price sale (https://www.criterion.com/sale), so I ordered it. It won't be here by week's end, so I may try to get it from the library anyway. But I hope someone else will comment on it first!
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Matt
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2018, 05:58:53 PM »

I was hoping not to be the first one to post.  I watched it and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Anyone who hasn't seen this (AKA) should definitely not skip this week.

There will be some spoilers here -- nothing too big, but don't read on if you have never seen Rebecca.

Things I love about it:

First of all, it's a great story.  Joan Fontaine is impeccable portraying the shy but happy young woman who starts out the film, who never quite feels she's good enough for the aristocratic Maxim de Winter.  Sensing her weakness, our villainess Mrs. Danvers preys upon her until she feels so inadequate and worthless that she can barely function and in one scene Mrs. Danvers almost succeeds in ridding Manderley of her. The film is called Rebecca, and the "R" monogram is in nearly every room in Manderley and her presence is felt in every scene. But, the only name our sympathetic heroine is known as is "Mrs. de Winter".  She doesn't have a name or identity from the time she marries Maxim de Winter other than as his bride.  But when she arrives at Manderley, she doesn't even feel that honor -- she feels a poor substitution for the "most beautiful creature I ever did see".  Mrs. Danvers' love and loyalty to Rebecca are so strong that she won't allow her presence to ever be erased or replaced, and it nearly destroys everyone and everything in the film.


It's an absorbing story, with wonderful acting from Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, and Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers. 

I love the melodramatic moments of facial closeups of Joan Fontaine combined with the swelling music. It's over-the-top in the best, best way.

My favorite scene is Laurence Olivier's unexpected "reveal". It's just so much fun to watch this film.

This is one of my favorite psychological dramas, with the other being George Cukor's Gaslight.  They're a great double feature, and every time I watch Rebecca, I want to cue up Gaslight. In fact, I might do that tonight! :)

There's a lot more to say, but I hope others will say it. Anyone else watch this yet?
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KC
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2018, 06:27:15 PM »

I'm going to wait until my DVD comes. :)
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KC
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2018, 09:34:35 PM »

Am I really the only other one who watched Rebecca? I know it might not be possible to find it streaming, but it's really worth buying the DVD. Or get it from your library! They should have it.

I can endorse just about everything Matt says above. In particular, watch the closeups of Joan Fontaine in the scene of Laurence Olivier's unexpected "reveal." Amazing mixture of emotions.

Does "the second Mrs. De Winter" have father issues? She tells us (it's almost all we know about her past) that she had just lost her father, and Maxim looks old enough to move into that role.

I noticed two things in the story that Hitchcock elided. One was the honeymoon, apparently a time of unblemished happiness for both of them, which we catch glimpses of in Maxim's home movies (again, as in Sabotage, a movie within a movie!) This was partly cut just for purposes of shortening the story, but also it prevents us from seeing "her" happy in her new life, as it takes the audience abruptly from the proposal scene ("I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool" is one of the great lines from the whole romance/gothic/innocent-heroine-brooding-mysterious-older-man genre, on a par with "Reader, I married him" from the genre's original, Jane Eyre) to the gloomy arrival at Manderley, where rain is pouring outside and an army of servants is lined up to confront her as she enters.

The second elision is at the end, where we don't get to see what happens between the shot with Mrs. Danvers approaching "her," who has apparently dozed off by a fireplace, with a burning candle ... and the shot when a frantic Maxim arrives back home to find Manderley ablaze! This, of course, was done to heighten the suspense for the audience about the fate of "her" ... and the dog, who was with her in the previous scene. But Maxim finds them both outside on the grounds, safe and sound. This time, unlike in Sabotage, where not only a little boy but a cute puppy got blown up, the dog was saved!

All the small parts are well cast. George Saunders was a standout as the oily lover. But of course, Judith Anderson practically steals the movie. One of the all-time great villainesses ... or is she, too, just a woman hopelessly in love?

I know there were some changes from the Daphne Du Maurier novel. Has anybody read it? I'm thinking it might be a worthwhile read, if only to compare it with the movie. I know a friend of mine, who liked the movie a lot, used to complain that the ending was different from the book.

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Christopher
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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2018, 06:38:34 AM »

It's been a long time since I've seen the movie, but I know I have the DVD somewhere. I would like to check out the book sometime.
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Matt
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2018, 07:44:32 PM »

("I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool" is one of the great lines from the whole romance/gothic/innocent-heroine-brooding-mysterious-older-man genre, on a par with "Reader, I married him" from the genre's original, Jane Eyre) to the gloomy arrival at Manderley, where rain is pouring outside and an army of servants is lined up to confront her as she enters.

Yes! That is probably the best line of the movie!  ;D

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But Maxim finds them both outside on the grounds, safe and sound. This time, unlike in Sabotage, where not only a little boy but a cute puppy got blown up, the dog was saved!


Funny you mentioned this! The dog died in Rear Window too, and when Manderley was shown in flames, I wondered in Hitch had killed a dog in all three of our first three films. I was happy THIS dog survived!


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Christopher
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2018, 06:41:50 PM »

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KC
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2018, 08:31:21 AM »

He's too young and she's too old. Or at least they're too close together in age (32 and 29).
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The Schofield Kid
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2018, 10:50:45 PM »

I think I have a new favorite Hitchcock film this week. This was a bonus because I thought this was one of the films I wouldn't get to participate in but I got a copy from a friend.

I have to say though, I'm not a fan of the DVD cover.




The film is great though. KC is right about Dame Judith Anderson stealing the film. A great Aussie in a brilliant performance. I was wondering how she didn't win an Academy Award for that performance and I checked and Jane Darwell won for The Grapes Of Wrath and Hitchcock missed out on best director to John Ford, even though Rebecca won best picture.

This was just a great story, that it does make me want to read the book it was based. How many great films were released in 1939/40 though. So many always pop up on the best ever. Rebecca is up there with the best.
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