Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Original Release: 1940
Choice: My Wife's
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Alfred Hitchcock, certainly one of the most famous and influential filmmakers in the history of the industry, only directed one movie that won Best Picture at the Academy Awards: 1940's Rebecca. The film was also Hitch's first American project. Before this weekend, I had never seen it.
The protagonist (played by Joan Fontaine) is unnamed until she becomes the second Mrs. de Winter, marrying a glum yet charming aristocrat, Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier). The new Mrs. knows her husband is still mourning his dead first wife, Rebecca, but does not realize the extent to which she still haunts his existence until the newlyweds move back to his cavernous mansion. Meanwhile, Mrs. Danvers, the ghoulish housekeeper (Judith Anderson), does little to make the new lady of the house feel welcome.
The plot is engaging, though the twists are fairly tame by Hitchcock standards. The acting is solid, especially Judith Anderson. The cinematography is the highlight, George Barnes's Oscar-winning work incorporating the shadows and silhouettes that would become Hitch staples.
- Our Girl enjoyed the story but was confused by all the talk about the first Mrs. de Winter. We had to stop the movie a couple of times to explain.