Rebecca movie review (Better Know Your Hitchcock!)

rebecca-hitchcockThere’s Alfred Hitchcock movies and then there’s Rebecca. It’s one of his older flicks (1940 – his first picture for Hollywood) that is consistently on everyone’s list of best Hitchcock movies, and it’s easy to see why. It flows like a lot of his other movies in terms of narrative, but the performances and revelations push this one above most of its peers.

Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier are great in the leads – especially Fontaine (Hitchcock sure did like his leading ladies, didn’t he?) Meanwhile, Judith Anderson is great as Mrs. Danvers, the head housekeeper. She’s completely over the top in a way I’ve never seen before… She’s over the top understated. It’s fascinating to watch. If you ever wondered how an actor could do so much by doing so little, Anderson is doing it here.

The movie starts at a hotel (kinda think I could make a long list of Hitchcock movies that start with people in a hotel or otherwise sleeping away from home) but quickly moves to the estate, Manderly. This place is more like a small town than an estate and is practically a character. Despite its epic scale, the only important characters in the story are the second Mrs. de Winter (Fontaine), Maxim de Winter (Olivier), Mrs. Danvers (Anderson), George Sanders as Jack Favel and Reginald Denny as Frank Crawley. Everyone else just kinda helps push the plot along, but it all flows so smoothly that you never notice.

A few points of interest:
Rebecca was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won best picture. It’s the only movie in history to win that Oscar but not win an award for any of its actors or director since 1936, when awards for actors in supporting roles were first introduced.
This is one of the more difficult Hitchcock cameos to spot: if you’ll fast forward the video below (which is the entire movie, by the way!) to 2:01:30, you’ll see Hitchcock walk passed behind Favel – you can’t see his face, so it’s a tough one to spot. You can barely tell it’s him, so this one was sorta useless.

Check out more Hitchock movies!

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on February 25, 2014, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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