94 – Rebecca

Welcome to The Best Movies I’ve Never Seen! This is the part of the blog where I work my way through 100 films I’ve never seen that are generally considered to be great. You’re invited to watch along with me if you can find a copy or find it streaming. So grab some popcorn and let’s get started!

Rebecca

1940

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Quick synopsis… The only Alfred Hitchcock film to win an Oscar for Best Picture, this mystery stars Laurence Olivier as Maxim de Winter, a widower whose hapless second wife (Joan Fontaine) moves into his mansion only to find the memory of his first wife still governs the household. Intimidated by the home’s hostile staff, the living Mrs. de Winter begins to go mad in Hitchcock’s eerie adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s Gothic classic.

  • I didn’t think I would be able to watch this movie in time for this week’s post.
  • Rebecca cannot be found on any streaming service, even as an individual rental or purchase from Amazon Prime.
  • I tried to get it through Netflix’s DVD mail service, but it did not come in time.
  • I also tried to check it out from the local library, but the copy was not available this week.
  • Luckily, the movie has been uploaded to YouTube in its entirety.
  • I’m certain that’s not completely on the up and up…
  • Recently widowed Maxim de Winter meets a young woman who will become his second wife while spending holiday on the French Riviera.
  • Maxim returns to his estate in England, Manderley, with his new bride.
  • Here, the new Mrs. de Winter meets Mrs. Danvers, Manderley’s housekeeper and the close confidante of the deceased Rebecca de Winter.
  • Danvers does everything in her power to make the new Mrs. de Winter feel uncomfortable, as if Maxim is still in love with his dead first wife.
  • Mrs. de Winter is naïve enough to take some advice from Danvers about throwing a costume party while wearing a particular dress worn by one of Maxim’s ancestors in a portrait.
  • Turns out this dress is identical to a dress Rebecca wore at the last ball they threw prior to her death.
  • Danvers’ true colors are shown when Mrs. de Winter confronts her about the dress and she very nearly convinces Mrs. de Winter to jump to her death from Rebecca’s bedroom window.
  • She’s saved from committing suicide when news arrives that a sunken boat has been discovered with Rebecca’s body inside.
  • Maxim confesses to his wife that the first marriage to Rebecca had been a sham from the beginning, stating that she had no intentions of keeping her wedding vows, but would keep up appearances as a perfect wife and hostess.
  • Eventually, Rebecca claimed to be pregnant as a result of her cousin/lover, Jack.
  • During the resulting argument, Rebecca accidentally fell and hit her head, killing her.
  • Maxim tried to hide the truth of what happened by taking Rebecca’s body out to sea and sinking the boat, misidentifying a different body as that of his wife.
  • Maxim and Mrs. de Winter try to devise a way to prove his innocence and that Rebecca’s death was a suicide.
  • Jack makes the claim that Rebecca was never suicidal, so when Maxim goes to the police, he is suspected of her murder.
  • As the police investigate the situation, it’s determined that Rebecca was never pregnant but had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
  • She had been trying to goad Maxim into a fight so that he would kill her and have his reputation ruined.
  • Once Maxim is again a free man, he returns home to find that Danvers has set Manderley on fire.
  • Everyone escapes except for Mrs. Danvers, who is killed when a ceiling collapses onto her.
  • Nothing like a happy ending to let you know all is right with the world.
  • Having now seen Rebecca, it currently ranks at 439 out of 2,244 movies on my personal Flickchart list.

While it’s not as suspenseful as a lot of Hitchcock’s films, it’s still quite good. I’m glad I was able to find it, even if it’s not the best possible means of watching a movie. Have you seen this original version of Rebecca? What about the recent remake with Lily James and Armie Hammer? Now that I’ve seen the original, I’m curious about the new version, which is available to watch on Netflix. If you’ve seen either version, let me know what you think down in the comments! Come back next week for my first Studio Ghibli film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

4 thoughts on “94 – Rebecca

  1. Pingback: What Are the Best Movies I’ve Never Seen? | The Confusing Middle

  2. I just watched one of the remakes of this on Netflix but thanks for reminding me that I have an Alfred Hitchcock set which includes this movie so I think I’ll watch it because I don’t think I’ve ever seen the original. I have read the book. Great story.

    Liked by 2 people

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