Monday, July 19, 2010

#6 DZP: Rebecca

Rebecca tells the story of a young "companion" who, while accompanying her employer on vacation in Monte Carlo, she meets the wealthy widower, Maxim de Winter. After a brief courtship, the young girl and Maxim are married and return to his home in England. All of the servants at Manderly, especially Mrs. Danvers, seem to be constantly comparing the new Mrs. de Winter to Rebecca, the deceased former wife of Mr. de Winter. As time goes by, the young bride becomes more and more distraught over her inability to overcome the ghost of her predecessor. Even Maxim himself seems preoccupied by the memory of Rebecca. It is only after a freak accident that the second Mrs. de Winter learns that her husband truly is obsessed with his former wife, however not in the way she had believed. It turns out that it is only Mrs. Danvers who remembers Rebecca fondly, and that it is she alone who wishes the new bride ill. With this new found knowledge, Mrs. de Winter gains the confidence to truly take control of Manderly. Through the many twists and turns of this labyrinthine tale, true love finds a way to win out over the demons that haunt all who have known, whether they loved or loathed, Rebecca.

Director Alfred Hitchcock's first American film and produced by David O. Selznick, this strange love story pairs Laurence Olivier with Joan Fontaine, but the real fireworks (and the film's most memorable scene) occur between Ms. Fontaine's character and Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper, played brilliantly by Judith Anderson.

I really liked this movie for the fact that Hitchcock's film was definitely before it's time. It was slow in the beginning, but once Mr. de Winter showed his crazy side from the "loss" of Rebecca. One of my favorite quotes from Mr. de Winter: "I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool."

And Mrs. Danvers character was just as psychotic! From the introduction of Mrs. Danvers, you knew that she was crazy and deranged. When she was urging Mrs. de Winter to jump out the window and end her misery, "Go ahead. Jump. He never loved you, so why go on living? Jump and it will all be over..." So depressing!

And then the newly Mrs. de Winters... poor thing. I felt for her. So sweet and innocent, and Rebecca's memory hurts and ages her. "[Her father] had a theory that if you should find one perfect thing, or place or person, you should stick to it. Do you think that's very silly?" I have to agree, but be certain about it.

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