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Purchase Rebecca (1940) Movie Online and Download - Alfred Hitchcock 🎥
Drama, Thriller, Mystery, Romance
IMDB rating:
Alfred Hitchcock
Laurence Olivier as 'Maxim' de Winter
Joan Fontaine as The Second Mrs. de Winter
George Sanders as Jack Favell
Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers
Nigel Bruce as Major Giles Lacy
Reginald Denny as Frank Crawley
C. Aubrey Smith as Colonel Julyan
Gladys Cooper as Beatrice Lacy
Florence Bates as Mrs. Edythe Van Hopper
Melville Cooper as Coroner
Leo G. Carroll as Dr. Baker
Lumsden Hare as Tabbs
Forrester Harvey as Chalcroft
Philip Winter as Robert
Storyline: A shy ladies' companion, staying in Monte Carlo with her stuffy employer, meets the wealthy Maxim de Winter. She and Max fall in love, marry and return to Manderley, his large country estate in Cornwall. Max is still troubled by the death of his first wife, Rebecca, in a boating accident the year before. The second Mrs. de Winter clashes with the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, and discovers that Rebecca still has a strange hold on everyone at Manderley.
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"Rebecca" is often mentioned as one of Hitchcock's finest works. In my opinion, it's his most overappreciated film. I just don't understand what's so good about this overdramatic, fairly unhitchcockian yarn. It goes on and on and on revealing "the secrets of Manderley", and then ends quickly, almost furtively. Maybe the maestro himself didn't like the film neither, because his cameo is a really hard one to catch! Still, "Rebecca" is worth seeing at least for Judith Anderson's amazing performance as the evil Mrs. Danvers.

If you're a Hitchcock fan, take notice that Leo G. Carroll (Dr. Murchison in "Spellbound", senator Morton in "Strangers on a Train", the professor in "North by Northwest") makes his first appearance in a Hitchcock movie as Rebecca's doctor (near the end of the film).
An Ageless And Timeless Hitchock Film
Based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier, the classic psychological thriller Rebecca was Alfred Hitchcock's first American project. The film's screenplay was an adaptation by Joan Harrison and Robert E. Sherwood from Philip MacDonald's and Michael Hogan's adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's novel of the same title.It features Laurence Olivier as the aristocratic widower Maxim de Winter, Joan Fontaine as his second wife, and Judith Anderson as the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers.It is a Gothic tale about the lingering memory of the title character, Maxim de Winter's dead first wife, which continues to haunt Maxim, his new bride, and Mrs. Danvers.

A young woman works as a companion to the well-to-do Mrs. Van Hopper.She meets the wealthy widower Maxim de Winter in Monte Carlo, where they fall in love and get married. Maxim takes his new bride to Manderlay, a large country estate in Cornwall. However, the mansion's many servants refuse to accept her as the new lady of the house. They seem to be loyal to Maxim's first wife, Rebecca, who died under mysterious circumstances. Particularly cruel to her is the prim housekeeper Mrs. Danvers, who is obsessed with Rebecca. She continually attests to her beauty and virtues and even preserves her former bedroom as a shrine. The new Mrs. de Winter is nearly driven to madness as she begins to doubt her relationship with her husband and the presence of Rebecca starts to haunt her. Eventually, an investigation leads to the revelation about Rebecca's true nature.

Hitchcock's first American film is a masterpiece of haunting atmosphere, Gothic thrills, and gripping suspense.It's an elegant production, beautifully photographed and designed like a dream house shrouded in mourning, but it also favors the pictorial over the cinematic and surface over subtext.Added to that,this classic female Gothic romance, beautifully adapted from Daphne du Maurier's novel is hauntingly accompanied by Franz Waxman's score.And it offers no overt violence or thrills, it is a model of sustained mystery and eerie suspense.Overall,it is an ageless, timeless adult movie about a woman who marries a widower but fears she lives in the shadow of her predecessor.
Entertaining thriller
A naïve young woman (Joan Fontaine) is in Monte Carlo working as a paid companion to Edythe Van Hopper (Florence Bates) when she meets the aristocratic but brooding widower Maximilian "Maxim" de Winter (Laurence Olivier). They fall in love, and within two weeks they are married. The young woman is now the second "Mrs. de Winter."

Maxim takes his new bride back to Manderley, his rather large country house in Cornwall. The housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson), is domineering and cold, and is obsessed with the beauty, intelligence and sophistication of Maxim's dead wife Rebecca, the first Mrs. de Winter, preserving her former bedroom, the master suite, as a shrine. Although dead, Rebecca's presence is nonetheless pervasive - several things throughout the house - stationery, handkerchiefs, bed linens, even the master bedroom door - bear her ornate "R" or "R de W" monogram. As her closest confidant, Mrs. Danvers regularly comments on Rebecca's exceptional grace and style. When asked what Rebecca was like, Frank Crawley (Reginald Denny), Maxim's best friend and manager of the estate, absent-mindedly tells the new Mrs. de Winter that Rebecca was an exceptional beauty.

The new Mrs. de Winter is intimidated by her responsibilities and begins to doubt her relationship with her husband. The continuous reminders of Rebecca overwhelm her; she believes that Maxim is still deeply in love with his first wife. She also discovers that her husband sometimes becomes very angry at her for apparently insignificant actions. She also meets Rebecca's so-called "favorite cousin," Jack Favell (George Sanders), who visits the house while Maxim is away.
"I am Mrs. de Winter now!"
There is no way I couldn't review this. As a rule I don't have favorite films (because I can never pick) but let's be real, it's probably this one. I've seen Rebecca a good 10+ times and it never gets old.

I feel obligated to talk about the book just a little (it's amazing read it), because there is a big difference. First of all, I'm so thankful that the nameless main character in the novel remains nameless in the film. The book is slightly more twisted, as Maxim intentionally kills Rebecca in the novel, which makes for a much more complex and slightly more intense plot. This obviously could not be carried out in a 1940s film, however. Although I wish they had.

I really love the characters in this film. They make the whole story, and the idea of Rebecca is so strong it's like she's there as a fully formed character. Mrs. Danvers is the quintessential eerie housekeeper (who a lot of later figures are based off of), and her scenes with Mrs. de Winter are some of the best. It's obligatory that I mention the photography at this point, because it's really VERY nice. Especially the scene where Mrs. Danvers is trying to convince her to jump out the window.

But I have to say, the thing that draws me to this film the most possibly is how much I relate to the main character. She reminds me so much of myself. Plus, people are always telling me that I look like Joan Fontaine, creepy.

So, arguably the best Hitchcock film ever made—this movie is gold. Don't let me near the negative reviews, I might have a conniption.
Hitchcock goes to Hollywood
Alfred Hitchcock's Hollywood debut, while not likely to appeal to the same fans who champion 'Vertigo' or 'Psycho', is nevertheless a 14-karat treasure from the Golden Age of movie-making. Purists will argue that the film is more Selznick than Hitchcock: a blockbuster studio production packed with talent, prestige, and all the glamour money can buy, but certain touches (mostly those concerning malevolent maidservant Judith Anderson and smarmy playboy George Sanders) could not have been duplicated by any other director. The film today, restored to all its magnificent, pristine clarity, is suitably lush and moody, and after all these years the atmosphere of unease surrounding the stately house of Manderley is still palpable. But the Daphne Du Maurier scenario is still very much an anachronism: the innocent, unsophisticated girl who marries into wealth and tries, desperately, to conform to society's manners is hardly a valid role model these days. And once the mystery of the late Rebecca de Winter is finally solved, the Gothic plot settles into a conventional blackmail scheme more typical of the Master of Suspense.
He's mean. She's brittle. This is a love story?
I'm forced to say I just didn't "get" or enjoy Rebecca at all. I'm sorry.

Our male hero alternates between making his love interest cry and heckling her for trying to please him. He proposes by mentioning it in a flippant and sort of insulting manner from the next room. Our female hero tries so hard to please everyone that she's constantly excusing herself and breaking down.

Sure, people like this exist in the real world. But this is not a Leaving Las Vegas story of crippled people... it's portrayed as a true love story. I find it sickening. These days, we look up to strong women, and we certainly don't want people (of any gender) constantly saying thing that are mean.

To add on top of this, I didn't feel any chemistry between the characters... declaring their love felt quite sudden, I didn't feel any real chemistry about the hero's angst about his dead wife... the whole film just seemed contrived. The scenes where the heroine isn't quite ready for rich living become repetitive, like beating a dead horse. It would feel preachy if only there were some message to preach. Finally, I'm sorry to say it, but cinematography and things like color have been in films for a long time now.

This film left me even more confused than Chasing Amy and I couldn't get all the way through it. I can see from other people's reviews that a murder mystery eventually surfaces. But hey, I did get an hour into the film without a hint of tension so I guess that all happens later. I'm forced to give it a 3 out of 10.
Chick Flick "Vertigo"
Nearly 20 years before "Vertigo", Alfred Hitchcock made another film featuring romantic atmosphere, social misfits, a possible ghost, and male-female frustration. Except in "Rebecca's" case, it was from the woman's point of view.

"Rebecca" features identity confusion as well, in this case pitting a woman without a face against another without a name. Joan Fontaine is the nameless one here, paid to keep a miserable battleaxe company until she is whisked away in Monte Carlo by rich, debonair Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier). It's a perfect fantasy except that the place he lives, Manderley, is a perfect nightmare.

"We're happy, aren't we?" the bride asks at one point. "Terribly happy!" The problem's the dead former Mrs. de Winter whose first name is the movie's title. Based on a best-selling novel by Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca's malign spell is captured in the ornate but shadowy set decoration, a creepy Franz Waxman score, and the raven-like Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson), a maid who pops out of corners of the frame offering unwanted advice on how "the late Mrs. de Winter" would have wanted things.

Beaky, unblinking Mrs. Danvers is one reason guys might find this film frustrating. If she's so nasty, just send her packing, right? But Mrs. D works for me because of the heroine's trembly manner. Fontaine wears her character's insecurity very well. She wants to be on Mrs. Danvers' good side, which only mines "Danny's" contempt. Still devoted to Rebecca, a spellbinding force for whom "love was a game", Mrs. Danvers's perverse loyalty prompts a jealous cruelty. In "The Shining", we learn that people leave traces of themselves in strange buildings after they're gone, like "if someone burns toast". In "Rebecca", Mrs. Danvers IS the burned toast.

Olivier is a bit of a stiff here, though it suits the part. It's a woman's-eye story all the way, with a real tough-love male to draw out his lover's unquenchable spirit. He wins her over to him with such lines as "I should have asked you to have had lunch with me even if you hadn't upset the vase so clumsily" and "I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool". He probably sent her out for Chinese food on their honeymoon, too.

The movie moves very slowly, stringing out every hurt emotion. Because Rebecca was lost at sea, Fontaine has to blurt out at one point irrespective of nothing: "I never have any fear of drowning, have you?" cuing a musical sting. Around Maxim, there are lots of stings. "I'm boorish through living alone", he says, but of course that only makes the heroine's devotion more grand. Like Mrs. Danvers, she loves fully, but not at all well.

Still, "Rebecca" is a solid romantic film with recognizable bits of Hitchcockian suspense worked in the corners. It's his first and most successful collaboration with David O. Selznick (a nudge who this one time was right to nudge), his first American film, and his only Oscar winner.

I can think of several other Hitchcock films deserving of Oscar over "Rebecca". But it's better than no Oscars for Hollywood's greatest director. Looking past that, "Rebecca" is a solid, character-driven story worth watching and appreciating for its own substantial merits.
Joan Fontaine portrays a pre-Feminist Clueless Doormat !!!
I give this film a 7.5 on a 10 point scale. All of Hitch's films, though mostly good, have screenplays that are just unbelievable & improbable to some degree and "Rebecca" is certainly no exception. Fontaine's character is S-O-O Weak, Naïve, Passive, & Fragile that it lacks credibility. NO Woman, even in pre-Feminist times, could possibly be as much of a Clueless Doormat as the new Mrs de Winter. That as the new mistress of Mandalay she would have kept that witch Mrs Danvers as the housekeeper is at least very unlikely, especially when Danvers tricked the new Mrs de Winter to wear that dress for the ball. The Mrs Danvers character was rather unreal too. She was much more a caricature than a believable character. Otherwise, a very suspenseful, & well thought out storyline, with great dramatic tension, although the "dramatic" was much too "melodramatic" in my opinion. How a great director like Hitch got stuck with so many sub-par screenplays is beyond my comprehension.
Hitchcock & Selznick's Superb du Maurier Adaptation
"Last night I dreamed I went to Manderlay again..." and so begins one of the most captivating films from Hollywood's golden era. A superb adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's best selling novel, "Rebecca" was Alfred Hitchcock's first American directorial assignment, although producer David O. Selznick's strong influence is evident. While lacking the color and historical spectacle of "Gone with the Wind," Selznick's follow-up to his 1939 blockbuster shares lush production values, a thickly romantic atmosphere, and flawless performances with its illustrious predecessor. Both classics were adapted from popular novels, and both won Academy Awards for Best Picture.

Du Maurier's well known mystery centers on a never-seen, but exquisitely beautiful and admired woman, Rebecca, who dies tragically before the story begins; however, she casts a dark shadow over her husband, his young second wife, and Manderlay, a stately seaside estate in Cornwall. The mystery-romance unfolds before George Barnes's Oscar-winning camera work, which emphasizes velvety blacks, window-cast shadows, and rainy reflections on a grandfather clock. Franz Waxman's lush score weaves its own web throughout the film with an appropriate mix of romantic themes and suspense.

In front of the camera, Hitchcock drew memorable performances throughout. Sporting a mustache and a touch of grey, Laurence Olivier embodies the handsome Cornish aristocrat, Maxim de Winter; smooth, cultured, refined, and harboring a dark secret. With a voice born for sarcasm, George Sanders steals his scenes in a snide, cunning performance as Rebecca's "favorite" cousin. Mrs. Danvers ranks among cinema's most beloved villains, and Judith Anderson is cold, impassive, and riveting. Also called "Danny" in a sly allusion to her lesbian infatuation with the title character, Anderson excels in a restrained, yet hypnotic scene, where she fondles Rebecca's furs and caresses her lingerie; the actress says everything that the Production Code forbade about Danver's relationship with Rebecca. Florence Bates is another scene stealer as Mrs. Van Hopper, Joan Fontaine's employer; selfish, self absorbed, catty, and unforgettable. In support, Selznick sprinkled in such veterans as Gladys Cooper, Nigel Bruce, Reginald Denny, C. Aubrey Smith, and Leo G. Carroll to fill out an exceptional cast.

Although easily overlooked among the bounty of rich performances and skilled thespians, Joan Fontaine's portrayal of the second Mrs. de Winter is exquisite throughout. Still in her early 20's, Fontaine's subtle growth from shy insecure travel companion, dominated by her overbearing employer, to self-assured supportive wife is masterful and never calls attention to itself; on a subsequent viewing, fans should focus on Fontaine throughout and marvel. While Fontaine grows as a woman, she also becomes closer to Olivier as the story unfolds; initially, Olivier kisses her chastely on the forehead, retains a distance between them, but, as the secrets spill, Olivier reaches out to her and, eventually, they kiss on the lips.

Hitchcock's final image in "Rebecca" foreshadows that in "Citizen Kane." A silk pillow embroidered with an "R" is consumed by flames; a year later, Orson Welles ended his masterwork with a sled emblazoned "Rosebud" also engulfed in flames. Like the Welles classic, "Rebecca" is a timeless film that bears repetition. Despite familiarity with plot and ending, the film is like an old friend, and a return to Manderlay is always cozy, comfortable, and welcome.
One of the Great Hitchcock Classics
It is strange that after arriving in Hollywood from Britain, Alfred Hitchcock should have chosen to base his first film upon a novel by Daphne du Maurier, the same author, who had provided him with the material for the last film of his British period. "Jamaica Inn" was one of his few failures, a minor-league costume drama that is today of little interest except to Hitchcock completists. With "Rebecca", however, he achieved one of his greatest successes, even though the story is hardly typical of his work.

A number of Hitchcock's films, such as "The 39 Steps" or "North by North-West" end up with the hero and heroine falling in love, but are nevertheless essentially suspense films with an element of romance. "Rebecca", however, is essentially a romance with elements of suspense. Indeed, it starts out as a romantic comedy. A young woman (we never learn her name) staying on the French Riviera with her employer Mrs Van Hopper, meets and falls in love with Maxim de Winter, a handsome older widower. There is a brief comic sequence as the two lovers try to outwit the overbearing, bullying Mrs Van Hopper and escape back to England.

With the shift in location to England, the mood of the film becomes darker and more serious. We learn that Maxim is the wealthy owner of Manderley, a stately home near the Cornish coast, and that he was widowed about a year earlier when his first wife Rebecca drowned in a boating accident. The new Mrs de Winter finds it difficult to adapt to her new role as the mistress of such a large house, especially as she feels that everyone, including the servants and Maxim's friends, is comparing her unfavourably with the beautiful and accomplished Rebecca. Maxim reveals to her that his first marriage was an unhappy one as Rebecca was compulsively promiscuous and betrayed him with a number of lovers. This revelation does not, however, put her mind at rest, because evidence soon comes to light that suggests that Maxim may have killed Rebecca out of jealousy.

The "suspense" elements of the film only occur near the end, when Maxim has to struggle to clear himself from suspicion of murder. There are no typical Hitchcock set-pieces like the crop-duster in "North by North-West" or the shower scene in "Psycho". This is, however, one of the most atmospheric of Hitchcock's films. Although it was shot in California, the morning mists, the pine trees by the rocky coast and the Gothic mansion are all suggestive of England. (I suspect that if Hollywood were to make the film today they would try to Americanise it, but in the forties their attitude to British literature was generally more respectful).

In a way this is a ghost story, although not in the literal sense of a tale of supernatural happenings. Manderley may not be literally haunted, but it is permeated by Rebecca's spirit. The old house is solid and luxurious, but it also has an oppressive air, especially for Mrs de Winter. (Max Ophuls was to conjure up a similar atmosphere in "Caught", made a few years later). Rebecca does not actually appear in the film; she does not appear in the book either, but that is a first-person narrative told from the viewpoint of her successor. In the film, where the first-person perspective is largely abandoned, it would have been much easier to show her in flashback, but Hitchcock chose to resist this temptation. In my view he was right to do so. Rebecca is far more frightening as an unseen but malevolent and brooding presence than she would be if seen in the flesh.

Mrs de Winter is an outsider at Manderley, partly because she is from a less privileged social background than Maxim, partly because she is the only character who never knew Rebecca personally. Maxim was probably attracted to her precisely because she was so unlike Rebecca. As she is supposed to be somewhat plain and dowdy, Joan Fontaine, one of the most attractive actresses of the period, was perhaps not physically right for the role. (Joanna David, in the 1979 TV production, seemed closer to du Maurier's conception of the character). Nevertheless, Fontaine's interpretation of the role is a very good one, making her shy and bewildered but possessed of an inner strength which enables her love for Maxim to survive.

Laurence Olivier is also good as Maxim, bringing out the two sides of his character. On the one hand he is the calm, self-possessed English gentleman, on the other a man haunted by his past. The other performance which stands out is that of Judith Anderson as the sinister housekeeper Mrs Danvers. Always dressed in black, with a severe hairstyle, moving silently through the house, Mrs Danvers initially greets the new Mrs de Winter with an icy formality, but gradually becomes her chief tormentor. Although this could not be explicitly stated in the forties, there is a strong hint that Mrs Danvers is a lesbian and that she might have been in love with Rebecca. Certainly, the scene in which she stands lasciviously pawing her late employer's underwear is highly suggestive.

It certainly seemed eccentric of the Academy to give this film the "Best Picture" award while withholding "Best Director" from Hitchcock. 1940 was, however, a very strong year in the history of the cinema and, excellent film though "Rebecca" is, I am not sure that it is necessarily a greater one than John Ford's "The Grapes of Wrath", Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" or "The Philadelphia Story", all of which were nominated. I suspect that the decision to give "Best Picture" to "Rebecca" and "Best Director" to Ford may have been a deliberate attempt to spread the honours more evenly. Nevertheless, "Rebecca" remains one of the great Hitchcock classics. 8/10
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