Classic Suspense June 14, 2001
The Best Picture in 1940 and an adaptation of Daphne du
Maurier's famous novel. It is not at all surprising this movie
won two Academy Awards and nine other nominations. Through the
masterful direction of Alfred Hitchcock, you will be kept in
complete suspense. The newly restored version from the original
negatives is presented full-frame and has been digitally
mastered for optimum picture and sound. The result is a
sumptuous black-and-white film that is better than I have ever
seen it before. They do say this movie gets better each time you
watch it, and I must agree.
The opening scenes convince you that this is going to be
quite a forbidding story. A meandering path overgrown with
foliage and a ghostly manor (Manderley) appears out of the
Cornwall, England mist. The gothic quality is only the stage for
a love story haunted by the memory of Rebecca. While this is
mostly filled with suspense and mystery, there are a few moments
While a young woman (Joan Fontaine) is vacationing in the
South of France as a ladies companion, she meets a wealthy
widower Maxim de Winter (Lawrence Olivier). His wife, Rebecca is
said to have died in a boating accident. They fall in love,
marry and then he takes her home to Manderley. She is ill
prepared for such a position in society and stumbles through her
days trying to adapt as best she can.
"Rebecca" is the theme of this movie, yet the
heroine is the second rather timid Mrs. de Winter when she rises
to the occasion and takes on this ghost who haunts her husband.
Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) manages the manor and seeks to
keep the first Mrs. de Winter's memory alive in an almost
obsessive way. She is cold and has no regard for Maxim's new
wife's feelings. Judith Anderson is just magnificent in her role
and her character is in a way is Rebecca's ghost personified.
The conclusion is surprising as we find out how Maxim really
feels and the story unfolds one detail at a time to finish with
a satisfying conclusion. You will never once think these
characters are actors, they are their characters from start to
You must watch this movie in complete darkness with just a
few candles burning for it to be just slightly scary. One of my
all-time favorite movies. Definitely worth owning.