9 February 2015


Rebecca 1940
  • Director: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Based on novel: by Daphne Du Maurier
  • Cast: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson, Nigel Bruce, Reginald Denney, C. Aubrey Smith,  Gladys Cooper,  Leo G. Carroll
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Laurence Olivier  King Lear, Sleuth, Oh What a Lovely War, Spartacus, Richard III, Hamlet, Henry V, As You Like It
    • Joan Fontaine – there must be something...
    • George Sanders – A Shot in the Dark, All about Eve
    • Judith Anderson – Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    • Reginald Denny – Around the World in Eighty Days
    • Gladys Cooper – My Fair Lady, Pygmalion
    • Leo G. Carroll – The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Parent Trap, Strangers on a Train, Spellbound, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
  • Why?  A classic
  • Seen:  February 8, 2015, with YW and KW in our read-book-see-film circle
The film is faithful to the book which is a shame because it’s such a stupid book. It has the wimpiest heroine ever and really, killing one’s wife is not OK. It’s especially not OK if one tries to hide it by getting rid of the body and pretending.
With that said the film is very atmospheric and well made.  It is Hitchcock after all and he knows how to make films.
He made a good choice in Olivier. I’m not fond of Olivier’s Shakespearean roles; I’m irritated by his hammy oh-look-at-me-the-great-Shakespearean-actor. But as Maxim De Winter he’s good. Very good. Suffering. Charming. And very handsome.
Fontaine does what she can with her nameless role. She cringes and skulks more than necessary but she also shows some spirit and has a very expressive face.
Evidently Hitchcock didn’t like the murder part either because he tones it down to an accident. Still...
After Maxim’s dramatic confession the film drags on for another half hour or so. The book did too and then ended abruptly with a very contrived ending.
Which Hitchcock more or less follows with an even more Jane Eyre-ish ending. However as a whole the film is better than the book.

3 * of 5

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