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Rebecca (1940)

Not Rated  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  12 April 1940 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 78,121 users  
Reviews: 262 user | 138 critic

A self-conscious bride is tormented by the memory of her husband's dead first wife.

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(celebrated novel), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Title: Rebecca (1940)

Rebecca (1940) on IMDb 8.2/10

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Top 250 #146 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
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Frank Crawley
...
...
Florence Bates ...
Melville Cooper ...
Coroner
...
Dr. Baker
Leonard Carey ...
Ben
Lumsden Hare ...
Tabbs
Edward Fielding ...
Philip Winter ...
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Storyline

A shy ladies' companion, staying in Monte Carlo with her stuffy employer, meets the wealthy Maxim de Winter. She and Max fall in love, marry and return to Manderley, his large country estate in Cornwall. Max is still troubled by the death of his first wife, Rebecca, in a boating accident the year before. The second Mrs. de Winter clashes with the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, and discovers that Rebecca still has a strange hold on everyone at Manderley. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The shadow of this woman darkened their love. See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

12 April 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rebeka  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,288,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alfred Hitchcock and cinematographer George Barnes used a technique known as "deep focus photography" in this film. This is one of the few films to use that technique before Citizen Kane (1941). Hitchcock had also used it in his film When Boys Leave Home (1927). See more »

Goofs

During the dining scene after the second Mrs. de Winter knocks over the vase, the neckline of her blouse goes from untidy to perfectly neat between shots. See more »

Quotes

The Second Mrs. de Winter: Good evening, Mr. DeWinter.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The original 1940 credits read "Selznick International presents its picturization of Daphne Du Maurier's 'Rebecca'". The credits on the re-issue version read "The Selznick Studio presents its production of Daphne Du Maurier's 'Rebecca'". See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood: The Selznick Years (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Love's Old Sweet Song (Just a Song at Twilight)
(1884) (uncredited)
Music by J.L. Molloy
Hummed by Joan Fontaine
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

the first Hitchcock masterpiece
20 February 2001 | by (Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

"Rebecca" was the first Hitchcock film I ever saw, and I was mesmerized by it from the start, convinced that I had to see more of the director's work. It richly deserved the Oscar it received, but it's a real puzzle that the Academy saw fit to withhold a best director award for Hitch. Would one possibly give an award to a work by Picasso and not to Picasso himself?

"Rebecca" was the first of the director's American-made films, and it shows. It's quite different from his earlier British-made films, such as "Young and Innocent" and even "The Lady Vanishes," which somehow seem more amateurish by comparison. (I know little of the British cinema of that era, but it's difficult not to conclude that Hollywood was better at producing more sophisticated efforts.) I would even judge "Rebecca" the best of his films of the early 1940s, with the possible exception of "Shadow of a Doubt." It is true, of course, that much of this film has become cliché (remember the spoofs on the old "Carol Burnette Show"!), but it still weathers the decades very well. The acting is uniformly excellent. Olivier is the hardened Maxim de Winter, untitled lord of Manderly, trying to forget the past and given to unexpected bouts of anger and coldheartedness. Fontaine is perfect as the unnamed mousy heroine, innocent yet deeply in love, still carrying with her the aura of an awkward schoolgirl. Even character actor Nigel Bruce, best known for his role in the Sherlock Holmes films, makes an appearance and plays, in effect, Nigel Bruce!

But it is Judith Anderson's role as Mrs. Danvers that viewers are likely to remember best. Her presence is as dark and foreboding as that of the deceased Rebecca herself, and Fontaine is evidently cowed by her icy stare and unnervingly formal manner. The dynamics between the two actresses are wonderful. Who could fail to empathize with Fontaine's unenviable position as, in effect, the new employer of such an intimidating personage? On the other hand, Olivier seems quite unfearful of Anderson, despite her representing so much of the past he is trying to block out. This part of the plot (even in the book) never made much sense to me and is unconvincing.

As far as I know, this film marked Hitch's first collaboration with composer Franz Waxman, whose haunting score makes it all the more memorable. Waxman's scores are perhaps less obviously cinematic than those of the incomparable Bernard Herrmann, who would score Hitch's films from 1955 to 1966. Contrast the score for "Rebecca" to Herrmann's music for "Citizen Kane" the following year, and you'll immediately hear the difference. Waxman's is more symphonic in the central European style reflective of his own birth and upbringing. Yet it is worth recalling that scoring films was still a new art at this time, and both Waxman and Herrmann were pioneers.

Finally, one has to mention the cinematography, which is magnificent. Technically "Rebecca" might have been filmed in colour, which was newly available in 1940. ("Gone with the Wind" was filmed entirely in colour the previous year, while "The Wizzard of Oz" and "The Women" had colour scenes.) But colour would have diminished its impact. The suspense and the ominous sense of impending doom could only have been communicated through the medium of black-and-white and the deft use of light and shade which it affords.

In one respect, of course, "Rebecca" is not a typical Hitchcock film. There is no fleeing innocent trying to clear his name of a crime he did not commit. Surprisingly, there isn't even a murder, although its absence was apparently imposed by the Hayes Code and is certainly foreign to Daphne du Maurier's original novel. Some have said that there is more Selznick than Hitchcock in this film, and perhaps there's something to that. Still, if the collaborative effort between the two was not exactly amiable, it was nevertheless successful.

In short, this is the first in a string of Hitchcock masterpieces.


74 of 101 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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I'm a 20 year old guy and I love this film TwiZone
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