Rebecca (1940, with Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine)

Poster for the movie "Rebecca"
NR 130 min - Drama, Mystery - 12 April 1940
Our rating:

Rebecca is the only film of Hitchcock's to win the Best Picture Oscar, and though it's not his finest work (most would give Vertigo that honor), it's a wonderful outing with plenty of juicy subtext. It's about a young and timid unnamed woman (Joan Fontaine) who meets the rich widower Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier) in Monte Carlo, and they share a whirlwind romance ending in marriage.

When the couple arrives at de Winter's vast estate, called Manderley, the new wife finds herself overshadowed by her predecessor (the Rebecca of the title) and quakes in fear whenever she comes upon the lead woman on staff, the implacable Ms. Danvers (Judith Anderson). As the film plays itself out, the protagonist discovers the real cause of Rebecca's death, goes head-to-head with the diabolical "Danny," and tries to win her husband's love.

Critics have found much to chew on in Rebecca, including a suggestion of lesbianism between Danvers and the first Mrs. De Winter, the patriarchal qualities of Maxim, and the way Hitchcock uses his camera to create suspense and disorient the viewer. For those less inclined to analyze subtexts, it's also a ripping good story told in consummate style. The two scenes between Danvers and the narrator in Rebecca's room are unforgettable.


Director:  Alfred Hitchcock
Producer:  David O. Selznick
Composer:  Franz Waxman
Director of Photography:  George Barnes

Production Details

Production Companies:  Selznick International Pictures

Release Date:  12 April 1940

Running Time:  2 h 10 min

Genres: Drama, Mystery

Language:  English, French

Tagline: The shadow of this woman darkened their love.

Budget and Box Office takings where known

Budget:  $1,288,000
Revenue:  $6,000,000