Write descriptive essay about Rebecca movie 1940, write an essay of at least 500 words on Rebecca, 5 paragraph essay on Rebecca, definition essay, descriptive essay, dichotomy essay.
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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Gothic Romance
Alfred Hitchcock directed this Gothic romance that stars Sir Laurence Olivier as Maxim De Winter, a recently widowed(and quite wealthy) man vacationing in Monte Carlo who meets the paid companion(played by Joan Fontaine) of a older woman. They unexpectedly fall in love and get married. They then return to his home in Cornwall, a country estate called Manderly ruled over by the imposing housekeeper Mrs. Danvers(played by Judith Anderson) who holds sacred the memory of the first Mrs. De Winter Rebecca, who died mysteriously in a boating accident. As events unfold, the new Mrs. De Winter will discover things about Maxim's past that will come to haunt her... Impressively directed and acted film is still melodramatic stuff given a high gloss, but remains entertaining and atmospheric, though hardly deserved to beat "The Grapes Of Wrath" for best picture of 1940!
One of Alfred Hitchcock's Timeless Classics
One of the finest psychological thrillers of its or any other time, Rebecca is an expertly crafted Gothic tale by Alfred Hitchcock that tells the story of a woman who's constantly haunted by the presence & reputation of her husband's first wife, Rebecca, when she moves to his large country estate and finds herself constantly in clash with the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who was extremely fond of Rebecca.

Engaging from its opening moments, the film takes the road of romance in its first act but soon turns into an extremely gripping suspense that even managed to touch the genre of horror with its carefully structured narration. Brilliantly directed by Hitchcock who maintains a remarkable control over each frame from start to finish, Rebecca is also aided by its tight screenplay, timeless cinematography, edgy editing & terrific performances from its entire cast.

The best part about this tale is the effortless manner in which it is able to immerse the viewers into its tense atmosphere of claustrophobia & isolation with all the mysteries surrounding a dead woman and benefits greatly from strong performances by Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier & especially Judith Anderson, who plays Mrs. Danvers with remarkable creepiness & ends up impressing the most.

On an overall scale, Rebecca is a significant example of film-noir and is one of Hitchcock's finest works behind the camera. The technical aspects are carried out amazingly well, the performances leave nothing to complain about and the creepy ambiance it is able to sustain throughout its runtime is something most thrillers don't even manage to come close to. An enduring classic that will probably never age, Rebecca comes highly recommended.
Sinister and Creepy
The ending is more than a little ex machina. Very unpleasant types: Hecate van Hopper, Maximum de Winter, Deathly Danvers, Flakey Favell Foulenough, combine to bully a sweet, pretty, innocent, young girl with no name. But she slowly grows strong, takes Maxim in hand, and in the end sees off the others. This all takes place at Manderley, not Mandalay. Joan Fontaine is gorgeous.

Florence Bates, as van Hopper, has a vicious Hitchcockian way with a cigarette, a stubbing technique later adopted by Jessie Royce Landis in To Catch a Thief. Was this another way Hitchcock decided later to repeat himself ? Just a thought. I don't think he showed up personally in Rebecca.

An unusual Hitchcock perhaps, because it is heavy on atmosphere, somewhat reminiscent of Edgar Allan P, and although there is a modicum of suspense, it is slightly flat in that department. It's almost as if Alfred was feeling his way with his first film under American skies. Rebecca's death throes, her smile of satisfaction as she expires, reminds me of Claggart, although the film of Billy Budd was not produced until 22 years later. A gripping watch, but Olivier is extremely unappealing in his role. Other reviewers have explained that Selznick interfered with the direction of this film.
Mrs. Danvers
Notice: This may (perhaps to some extent) contain a spoiler, but then again, who wouldn't be familiar with a motion picture seventy years of age?

Here is another way to analyze the role of Mrs. Danvers. Notice that Mrs. Danvers didn't decide to end it all until after the image of Rebecca was publicly shattered. Otherwise, one full year after the demise of Rebecca, Mrs. Danvers was still going strong. Thus, the definitive icon for Mrs. Danvers could have been the concept of British Royalty itself; and there are some in England even today who still see things that way.

Next, notice that at first, Mrs. Danvers did hope to somehow mold Joan Fontaine into this iconic stature. Moreover, Mrs. Danvers always had to know about Jack Favell and the cottage, and also the rented flat in London; and so it wasn't until, in effect, Jack Favell told "Danny" on the telephone about the suddenly destroyed image of Rebecca, reflecting perhaps even against the seemingly nicety nicety image of British Royalty itself, that the end then came for Mrs. Danvers.

Continuing, here is more on the role of Mrs. Danvers. One can ask, why did Max de Winter allow Mrs. Danvers to continue maintaining what amounted to the shrine room of Rebecca for a number of months after the passing away of Rebecca, considering what emerged at the end of the movie? One reason could be that Mrs. Danvers the housekeeper did rule the rather large staff of Manderley for some years with a virtual whip, and Max de Winter evidently wasn't in the mood for interviewing for a new one.

Even more to the point, Max de Winter obviously didn't want to do anything that might tarnish the image of Rebecca. In other words, no one was to know about his final encounter with Rebecca. Thus, for their respectively different reasons, both Max de Winter and Mrs. Danvers had the same objective of keeping the shrine room intact.

Wait, there is still more. At the end, Joan Fontaine tells Max de Winter that Mrs. Danvers didn't want them to be happy at Manderley. However, that was well before the telephone call of Jack Favell, and shortly after Joan Fontaine actually ordered Mrs. Danvers to dismantle the shrine room. Enough said. Now, if you have read all of this, go see the movie, if you have not done so already.
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.
Five star
From the very first, legendary opening lines to the very end this is one of the cornerstones of a cinema history, but where some other old movies are simply, well old, this is something gripping and involving, truly magical, Gothic and strangely faithful both to du Maurier and Hitchcock. Even if director himself was not completely happy with being under someone else control (David O. Selznick was simply not a man to ignore) it has his signature all over the screen, from complicated characters hiding secrets from each others to evil lurking in the shadows, morbid fascination with death, innocent heroine (it never occurred to me earlier that she is never called by her name) lost in the imposing majesty of Manderley to twists and turns of a fascinating story itself. And - the best of all - this is a movie with Mrs. Danvers (magnificent Judith Anderson). Now I can finally admit that I always found her the true owner of Manderley and if anybody asked me, I would drown both Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier, in my version Mrs. Danvers would live on and on forever, bringing fresh flowers in Rebecca's bedroom and occasionally even try those silk stockings and underwear made by nuns from convent. (What kind of nuns knew how to sew sexy underwear?) Hitchckock would have been amused to find that audience of the future find the villainess the most appealing character in the movie. I got a lot of fun ideas involving Mrs.Denvers and me but will keep them for myself.
a producer/director combination that works, elegantly and to the best of abilities
David O. Selznick might have had more of an influence over this production than some might think- as with many of his films- and he is the one who ended up receiving the Oscar, not director Alfred Hitchcok, for the 1940 mystery-drama-romance Rebecca. But it is to the credit of both that, for the most part, it looks as if both tried to stay out of each other's way and just put up as good as film as they could. And it is a credit to Hitchcock that with a certain change from what one might see in his perhaps more entertaining films of the 50's and 60's also shows his knack at making great romantic Hollywood movie-making.

He is given a plethora of the best of English acting talents (Olivier of course is hyped and hyped again just like Brando, but his work is undeniably good here, and yet it's Joan Fontaine who quietly makes her mark quite powerfully even when she is reserved in scenes), lush sets and production decor, a solid 'studio' score by Frank Waxman, and some memorable sequences and set-pieces. There is also some solid storytelling as well with his usual knack at unraveling a mystery piece by piece, with love, loss and deception at the core.

Part of the film's success, however, is as attributable to the factor of it being one of the best "chick-flicks" in history that the film works today. And this time I mean it pretty much as a compliment, perhaps more to Selznick than anyone (Gone with the Wind, of course). The appeal that might usually go mostly for women is not lost at all on the male audience due to the sheer power and hints at what the two main actresses go for. Fontaine is the "2nd" Mrs. De Winter, who elopes with the Mr. played by Olivier and goes to live in Manderlay and meets some of the family and other folks. One of these is the one who has maybe the most interesting (naturally, as the antagonist) character, Mrs. Danvers played by Judith Anderson.

Her's is a cold, exacting kind of character who has the straightforward, stern attitude of the ma'am of the house, but also with some dark secrets. It's not to say Hitchcock doesn't hav his eye out for other supporting parts and characters (I liked particularly the old guy who's at the shack where the majority of the secrets are house). But he also is able to get the character the audience will dislike the most as the more fascinating of the bunch, and Anderson is up to task.

I wouldn't rush to see this as the first Hithcock film to see if you haven't seen one yet, but as an example of what he could direct aside from his outrageous and masterpiece works in the following years this is a fit example. It's also got, basically, an excellent story, and is pumped up with the best of Hollywood decorum and spectacle, with a big fire of an ending that practically on its own makes it worthwhile enough to see.
Hitch's Directing + Great Story = Best Picture
Despite the fact that Alfred Hitchcock is widely renown as one of the great directors of his time, it is a bit strange how so many of his films (especially the later ones) have such lame plots. Hitch can make practically anything watchable, but Cold War stinkers like Topaz or Torn Curtain, for example, just weren't going to be classics with even the greatest at the helm. In the case of "Rebecca", however, the overall plot is equal to Hitch's masterful style, producing an epic film worthy of its Oscar statue.

For a basic plot summary, "Rebecca" begins with the the meeting and courtship of Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier) and the lady who will become his wife (Joan Fontaine). When the couple arrive at Maxim's elegant mansion, however, the new bride discovers just how deep the love of Maxim's first wife runs through the home, especially in maid Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson).

The main plot element of this film reminds me very much of "Vertigo" in the sense that a supernatural presence is hinted at. Viewers never quite know what is going on (further hinted at by Hitch's adept film & music touch) until quite literally the final minutes of the movie. I won't give away any details here, but suffice it to say that the mysteries throw enough curve-balls to keep you on the edge of your seat in wonder.

The acting is also top-notch. Olivier & Fontaine shine in their leading roles, but Anderson's Danvers pretty much steals the show in this one as one of the great creepy movie characters of all time. Comparable to Nurse Ratched in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest".

Overall, "Rebecca" has got to be up near the top of all "Best of Hitchcock" lists, as it excels in pretty much every element of film-making. Whereas other Hitchcock films rely on Hitch's tricky camera work or silly humor to a large extent, "Rebecca" is just a fantastic story translated well onto the big screen. You can't really go wrong watching this effort.
Haunted as the second woman
Hitchcock movies are known around the world for a reason, they're really good, acting wise, director wise, and cinematography wise. The whole story was acted out wonderfully by Olivier and Fontaine, Oliver played the mysterious handsome man well, and Fontaine was believable as a naive girl who fell for the looks. There were so many instances of great cinematography unique to Hitchcock films, playing with light and shadow to really tell the story along with the dialogue to make everything come together. Alfred Hitchcock as the director definitely left his mark on this movie, since I saw it was adapted from a book, and not created by him, he made it his own with great directive vision.
All is not as it seems in this Hitchcock classic.
"I've loved you, my darling. I shall always love you, but I've known all along that Rebecca would win in the end."

Rebecca begins very simply, with only the slightest hints of the twists and turns to come. After a whirlwind romance in the South of France, a young woman (Joan Fontaine in a nameless role) is swept off to Manderly, the lavish ancestral home of her new husband, Maxim (Laurence Olivier). It doesn't take her long after arriving there to find out that the shadow of Rebecca, Maxim's deceased first wife, continues to hang over Manderly. The stress of constantly being compared to the memory of the seemingly perfect Rebecca begins to outright suffocate the young wife, and her husband's frequent outbursts of temper and preoccupation combined with the unfavorable opinions of some of the household staff becomes more and more overwhelming. All is not as it seems in Manderly, however, and hidden secrets are eventually brought to light, with life-changing consequences. 

I thought Rebecca was a great movie. It initially seemed to be a light romance, before seamlessly bringing in elements of mystery and even courtroom drama. It's actually a relatively dark story, full of sordid dealings and shady characters.  Quite a surprise or two is sprung on the audience before Rebecca is done, and while this doesn't seem much like a Hitchcock movie in the beginning, by the end, there is little doubt that his fingerprints are all over this. I highly recommend it.
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