Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rebecca (1940) (2nd time)

When a naive young woman marries a rich widower and settles in his gigantic mansion, she finds the memory of the first wife maintaining a grip on her husband and the servants. [imdb]

Nominated for 11 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Best Actor: Laurence Olivier
Best Actress: Joan Fontaine
Best Supporting Actress: Judith Anderson
Best Writing, Screenplay
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White (WINNER)
Best Editing
Best Original Score
Best Art Direction, Black-and-White
Best Visual Effects

As someone might remember, months ago I got the idea for this blog to watch (again) all Best Picture winners and gradually rank them. I did the 20s and 30s and stopped after Gone with the Wind, and here was the ranking up to that point (CLICK).

Next in line: Rebecca, a movie I’ve seen many years ago after reading Daphne du Maurier’s book, which remains one of my all time favorites. The subject is so interesting and fascinating and Rebecca is one of the greatest characters even though she never physically appears in the story. The film actually felt better this time and it’s a fine example why Hitchcock is considered a master of directing. Rebecca feels fresh, modern for its time and actually ground-breaking.

The direction is close to perfection and it might’ve deserved the Oscar win, but the real star of the film for me is the cinematography: revolutionary, artsy and perfectly fit for the story and the mood of the film. Definitely one of the best black-and-white camera work I’ve ever seen. The performances are ok: there’s generally a lot of praise for Joan Fontaine’s acting here, I thought she was fine, just not my type of performance. However, she was definitely close to winning. Olivier is his usual British self, but the acting star is Judith Anderson in the creepy role (played much in the spirit of the book) of Mrs. Danvers.

I like Rebecca, even with its flaws. It could never reach the level of the book, but it’s a fine adaptation… actually a great film that everybody should see.

My rating for the film: 8.5/10. Hitchcock rules 20th century cinema.


  1. I love this movie! One of the most deserving winners ever!
    I am also working my way through the Best Picture winners right now...but it's gonna take a lot of time! :-)

  2. oh, such an absolutely amazing movie. Judith Anderson has got to be one of my favorite nominees of all time!

  3. Yes, wonderful film. The image you have posted -- I've never seen that poster before. Very cool!

  4. well, Fritz, this BP series is not really a priority for me :) i guess i had more time now, waiting to get The Last Station to complete Best Actress 2009...