Sunday, April 18, 2010

#97 Rebecca: I've opened a window for you

1940. dir. Alfred Hitchcock, starring Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Judith Anderson.

Max De Winter (Laurence Olivier) is a wealthy aristocrat with a recently dead wife named Rebecca. He's on vacation in Monte Carlo and he meets a young woman (Joan Fontaine, whose character is never given a name) who he impulsively decides to marry.

So he brings her back to "Manderley", his huge estate. The house is killer huge and has a small army of servants, most of whom immediately disapprove of the new Mrs. De Winter. The one who disapproves the most is the head housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) who keeps shooting icy death stares and poor whatever-her-name-is. It's a wonderful performance, and Hitchcock frames her so as to emphasize how much she unnerves Mrs. De Winter.

It's amazing how richly developed the character of Rebecca is, considering she's completely absent from the movie. Joan Fontaine's mousy, anxious performance was a result of enforced Method acting... apparently Hitchcock told her that everyone on the set hated her. Hitchcock was a jerk.

Position on the list: 97
Hitchcock's cameo: I completely missed it. Oops

No comments:

Post a Comment