Rebecca (1940) Poster

(1940)

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  • After the accidental death of his first wife Rebecca over a year ago, Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier) falls in love with a shy, inexperienced woman traveling in Monte Carlo as a companion to a wealthy widow. The second Mrs de Winter (Joan Fontaine) moves with her new husband back to Manderley, his large country estate on the Cornwall (England) seacoast, and is immediately intimidated by the housekeeper, Mrs Danvers (Judith Anderson), who runs the gigantic house with an iron hand and makes it obvious that she adored Rebecca. In fact, the memory of Rebecca seems to haunt everyone, including Maxim. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Yes. Rebecca is based on a 1938 novel by British writer Daphne du Maurier. The novel was adapted for the movie by British screenwriters Philip MacDonald and Michael Hogan. The movie was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and won the 1941 Academy Award for Best Motion Picture. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • According to the novel, Maxim thought that if he had fired her she could have suspected the truth, as she was the only one that saw him get back to the house so late the night Rebecca died. On top of that, Maxim may not have realized just how disturbed Danvers was because she seemed like the ideal housekeeper—silent, matriarchal, and capable of complete control—and Mrs. de Winter never tells him what she's seen and felt around her. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Most likely, Danvers was trying to prove to the second Mrs de Winter that she is a pale shadow compared with Rebecca, playing on her lack of self-confidence and her rather childish love for her husband. She wants to either drive her to suicide (which she almost does) or force her to run away. Danvers seems to believe that Maxim was as obsessed with Rebecca as she was. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The inquest is halted long enough for Maxim, Flavell, Frank Crawley (Reginald Denny), and Colonel Julyan (C. Aubrey Smith) to drive to London and interview Dr Baker (Leo G. Carroll) about Rebecca's secret visit to him on the day she died. Flavell assumes that it was because Rebecca was pregnant with his child, but Dr Baker reveals that she was terminally ill with cancer and had but a few months to live. Based on Baker's report, the final verdict in the inquest is that Rebecca committed suicide. Maxim realizes that Rebecca telling him she was pregnant was actually her goading him into killing her. Flavell phones Danvers to tell him how Rebecca lied to them both about being pregnant. Maxim and Crawley hurry back to Manderley only find it on fire. Maxim searches frantically for his wife and finds her safe in the yard. His wife tells him that Danvers set Manderley on fire because she would rather see it go up in smoke than allow Maxim and his new wife to live there. As the flames engulf the west wing, Danvers can be seen through Rebecca's bedroom window. In the final scene, the pillow covering bearing Rebecca's monogram is visible through the flames. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Those who have both read the book and seen the movie generally report that they are quite different. One major difference is the circumstances surrounding Rebecca's death. In the movie, Rebecca is killed when she falls and hits her head on a boat tackle, whereas in the novel Rebecca is shot by Maxim. There are some character differences, too. For example, Jack Favell (George Sanders) in the movie is not the drunken slob that's portrayed in the novel. Mrs Danvers of the novel was an older woman and was more torn by Rebecca's death. In the movie, Danvers is younger, cold and vicious, and more like a partner to Rebecca's evil. Another difference that irks some viewers is that, in the novel, the second Mrs de Winter undergoes a tremendous character transformation upon Maxim revealing to her that he never loved Rebecca. All her insecurity vanishes and she immediately becomes equal to the role of mistress of Manderley, even standing up to Mrs. Danvers now that she feels secure in her husband's love. The transformation of Mrs de Winter in the film occurs BEFORE Maxim's revelation when she simply declares out of the blue that she is Mrs de Winter now! Edit (Coming Soon)

  • No, the novel doesn't reveal the Christian name of the second Mrs de Winter. As Daphne du Maurier puts it in her memoirs "(the readers keep asking) why did I never give my heroine a Christian name? The answer (...) is simple: I could not think of one, and it became a challenge in technique the easier because I was writing in the first person". Maxim does say in the book that the second Mrs de Winter has "a very lovely and unusual name" but, as in the movie, we never find out what it is. The book suggests, that the name is exotic and difficult to spell. Since the novel is written in the first person from Mrs de Winter the second's point-of-view, she refers to herself only as "I" or as "the second Mrs de Winter". Edit (Coming Soon)

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