Starring: Laurence Olivier * Joan Fontaine * George Saunders
Adapted from the Novel Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.
A shy ladies companion on holiday in Monte Carlo meets Max De Winter, and they fall in love and he takes her back to Manderley in Cornwall.
From the first she suspected that he was grieving for his wife Rebecca, but as she tries to settle into life at Manderley she finds that Rebecca was a force to be reckoned with even dead she’s still mistress of Manderley this is enforced by her creepy former lady’s maid now housekeeper Mrs Danvers.
Max with his own demons cannot understand why the 2nd Mrs De Winter cannot just fall into place, even with the constant reminders of Rebecca he feels she should try harder and is unaware that Mrs Danvers constantly taunts his wife making her belive she’s not good enough and will never be the true mistress.
Hitchcock, manages to tell a love story and a supernatural tale at the same time the story moves quite slowly, but the nuances are there,it’s as though the whole house is still under Rebecca’s malevolent presence and everyone is still in her thrall such is her power even in death.
It’s interesting that as in the book we never know the 2nd Mrs De Winters name, she too is like a ghost in her new life her gauche attempts at fashion and to fit in are glaring, but she does have a hidden strength shown in the scene when Danvers tries to get her to commit suicide.
The 2nd Mrs De Winters confidence is further dented when there is an inquest into Rebecca’s death and it looks as though Max could face a murder charge,but she draws strength from this determined to stand by him no matter what and discovers that it’s she that he loves and had nothing but contempt for Rebecca and her lifestyle all of which she had confessed to him on their honeymoon.
A fantastic movie, and has taken the best from the book which is rarely the case the actors play their parts very well, Joan Fontaine particularly excels as the timid second wife and keeps within her role which must have been hard.
The ending is more like a cleansing as Rebecca’s ghost is finally put to rest.