Sunday, February 1, 2015

Movie Review: "Rebecca" (1940)

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Oscar Movie"Rebecca"
Year Nominated: 1941
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: NR
Running Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Did It Win?: Yes.

While vacationing in Monte Carlo, a wealthy Englishman and widower 'Maxim' de Winter (Laurence Olivier), meets a young American woman (Joan Fontaine) who is an employee of an upper crust acquaintance of Mr. de Winter. Maxim becomes infatuated with this young woman and quickly asks her to marry him. They move back to his estate in England called Manderley. When the new Mrs. de Winter arrives at the estate, she has trouble adjusting to high society and is haunted by the memory of Maxim's dead wife Rebecca. 

"Rebecca" is a dark mystery involving a young woman, played by Joan Fontaine, who has her dreams come true, only to have those dreams turned to a nightmare once the reality of her husband's past starts to creep up from beyond the grave. The main female character remains nameless throughout the film and this serves to give her no real identity of her own, a point of the film that we absolutely love. She is, at first, simply a wealthy woman's assistant, then she is a wealthy man's wife who lives in the shadow of her husband's dead wife Rebecca. Once married, she is only ever referred to as Mrs. DeWinter, the same thing everyone called Rebecca, and she is often viewed and treated as simply a low-class replacement for the former Mrs. DeWinter. This is especially perpetrated by the cold head housekeeper Mrs. Danvers, played by Judith Anderson, who almost worshiped Rebecca and has kept her room untouched as a shrine of sorts. There are many twists and turns throughout the story to keep you deeply enthralled and guessing as to what has happened and what will happen. What starts as a simple romance turns out to be a story about infidelity, blackmail, possibly murder, and a loss of innocence. Alfred Hitchcock, master of the silver screen, does another wonderful job directing this film and sets an excellent mood throughout that really fits the story. Lawrence Olivier is great in this movie, but both Joan Fontaine and Judith Anderson are quite tremendous here and really stand out, both separately and together on screen. All three of these people received well deserved Oscar nominations for their performances. All in all, if you're a lover of mystery and intrigue, or Alfred Hitchcock, you will probably love this movie.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were watching: "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"

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