*Based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier* *Directed by Alfred Hitchcock* Μια νεαρή συνοδός ηλικιωμένων κυριών (Joan Fontaine) κάνει διακοπές συνοδεύοντας την εργοδότριά της στο Μόντε Κάρλο όταν γνωρίζει τον πλούσιο χήρο Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier), του οποίου η σύζυγος Rebecca έχει πεθάνει σε ατύχημα. Οι δυο τους ερωτεύονται, ο Μαξίμ της ζητά κάπως βεβιασμένα να παντρευτούν κι εκείνη δέχεται. Η ευτυχία τους όμως είναι εφήμερη καθώς όταν κι οι δυο τους επιστρέφουν στο Manderley, την έπαυλη του Μαξίμ, η νεαρή γυναίκα διαπιστώνει ότι η πρώτη γυναίκα του συζύγου της εξακολουθεί να 'χει μια περίεργη επιρροή, ακόμα και μετά το θάνατό της. Η δεύτερη κυρία de Winter, όντας νέα κι άπειρη και μη γνωρίζοντας πώς να συμπεριφερθεί για να φανεί αντάξια σύζυγος για τον Maxim, για τον οποίο νομίζει ότι είναι ακόμη ερωτευμένος με τη Rebecca, γίνεται ευάλωτη. Αυτό έχει σαν αποτέλεσμα να βρεθεί έρμαιο εκμετάλλευσης στα χέρια της παράξενης και ψυχρής οικονόμου της έπαυλης η οποία έχει ψύχωση με τη Rebecca. Κάποια στιγμή η θάλασσα ξεβράζει...Η συνέχεια επί της οθόνης...
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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Produced by||David O. Selznick|
by Daphne du Maurier
|Narrated by||Joan Fontaine|
|Music by||Franz Waxman|
|Edited by||W. Donn Hayes|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Box office||$6 million|
The film is shot in black and white, and is a gothic tale. We never see Maxim de Winter's first wife, Rebecca, who died before the story starts, but her reputation, and recollections about her, are a constant presence to Maxim, his new young second wife, and the housekeeper Danvers.
The film won two Academy Awards, Outstanding Production and Cinematography, out of a total 11 nominations. Olivier, Fontaine and Anderson were all Oscar nominated for their respective roles. However, since 1936 (when awards for actors in supporting roles were first introduced), Rebecca is the only film that, despite winning Best Picture, received no Academy Award for acting, directing or writing.
Rebecca was the opening film at the 1st Berlin International Film Festival in 1951.
PlotA naïve young woman (Joan Fontaine), whose name is never mentioned, is in Monte Carlo working as a paid companion to Edythe Van Hopper (Florence Bates) when she meets the aristocratic but brooding widower Maximilian "Maxim" de Winter (Laurence Olivier). They fall in love, and within two weeks they are married.
She is now the second "Mrs. de Winter"; Maxim takes her back to Manderley, his country house in Cornwall. The housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson), is domineering and cold, and is obsessed with the beauty, intelligence and sophistication of the first Mrs. de Winter, the eponymous Rebecca, preserving her former bedroom as a shrine. Rebecca's so-called "cousin", Jack Favell (George Sanders), visits the house while Maxim is away.
The new Mrs. de Winter is intimidated by her responsibilities and begins to doubt her relationship with her husband. The continuous reminders of Rebecca overwhelm her; she believes that Maxim is still deeply in love with his first wife. She also discovers that her husband sometimes becomes very angry at her for apparently insignificant actions.
The heroine confronts Danvers, who tells her she can never take Rebecca's place, and almost manages to convince her to jump to her death. An airborne flare reveals that a ship has hit the rocks. The heroine rushes outside, where she hears that during the rescue a sunken boat has been found with Rebecca's body in it.
Maxim admits to his new wife that he had earlier misidentified another body as Rebecca's, in order to conceal the truth. His first marriage, until now viewed by the world as ideal, was in fact a sham. At the very beginning of their marriage Rebecca had told Maxim she intended to continue the scandalous life she had previously lived. He hated her for this, but they agreed to an arrangement: in public she would pretend to be the perfect wife and hostess, and he would ignore Rebecca's promiscuity. However, Rebecca grew careless, including an ongoing affair with her "cousin" Jack Favell. One night, Rebecca told Maxim she was pregnant with Favell's child. During the ensuing heated argument she fell, hit her head and died. Maxim took the body out in her boat, which he then scuttled.
Shedding the remnants of her girlish innocence, Maxim's wife coaches her husband how to conceal the mode of Rebecca's death from the authorities. In the police investigation, deliberate damage to the boat points to suicide. However Favell shows Maxim a note from Rebecca which appears to prove she was not suicidal; Favell tries to blackmail Maxim. Maxim tells the police, and then falls under suspicion of murder. The investigation reveals Rebecca's secret visit to a London doctor (Leo G. Carroll), which Favell assumes was due to her illicit pregnancy. However, the police interview with the doctor establishes that Rebecca was not actually pregnant; the doctor had told her she was suffering from a late-stage cancer instead.
The coroner renders a finding of suicide. Only Frank Crawley (Maxim's best friend and manager of the estate), Maxim, and his wife know the full story: that Rebecca told Maxim she was pregnant with another man's child in order to try to goad him into killing her, an indirect means of suicide that would also have ensured her husband's ruination and possible execution.
As Maxim returns home from London to Manderley, he sees that the manor is on fire, set alight by the deranged Mrs. Danvers. The second Mrs. de Winter and the staff escape the blaze, but Danvers is killed when a floor collapses. Finally a silk nightdress case on Rebecca's bed, with a beautifully embroidered "R", is consumed by flames.
AdaptationAt Selznick's insistence, the film adapts the plot of du Maurier's novel Rebecca faithfully. However, at least one plot detail was altered to comply with the Hollywood Production Code, which said that the murder of a spouse had to be punished. In the novel, Maxim shoots Rebecca, while in the film, he only thinks of killing her as she taunted him into believing that she was pregnant with another man's child, and her subsequent death is accidental. However, Rebecca was not pregnant but had incurable cancer and had a motive to commit suicide, that of punishing Maxim from beyond the grave. Therefore, her death is declared a suicide, not murder.
According to the book It's Only a Movie, Selznick wanted the smoke from the burning Manderley to spell out a huge "R". Hitchcock thought the touch lacked subtlety. While Selznick was preoccupied by Gone with the Wind (1939), Hitchcock was able to replace the smoky "R" with the burning of a monogrammed négligée case lying atop a bed pillow. According to Leonard J. Leff's book Hitchcock and Selznick, Selznick took control of the film once Hitchcock had completed filming, reshooting many sequences and re-recording many performances. Some sources say this experience led Hitchcock to edit future pictures in camera—shooting only what he wanted to see in the final film—a method of filmmaking that restricts a producer's power to re-edit the picture.
Although Selznick insisted that the film be faithful to the novel, Hitchcock did make some other changes, especially with the character of Mrs. Danvers, though not as many as he had made in a previous rejected screenplay, in which he altered virtually the entire story. In the novel, Mrs. Danvers is something of a jealous mother figure, and her past is mentioned in the book. But in the film, Mrs. Danvers is a much younger character (the actress, Judith Anderson, would have been about 42 at the time of shooting) and her past is not revealed at all. The only thing we know about her is that she came to Manderley when Rebecca was a bride.
The Breen Office, Hollywood's censorship board, specifically prohibited any outright hint of a lesbian infatuation or relationship between Mrs. Danvers and the unseen Rebecca, though the film clearly does dwell on Danvers' obsessive memories of her former mistress. The scenes are clearly echoed in the 1944 film The Uninvited, in which an unseen and ghostly mistress of the house has possibly had such a illicit relationship with her psychologist best friend.
The Hollywood Reporter reported in 1944 that Edwina Levin MacDonald sued Selznick, Daphne du Maurier, United Artists and Doubleday for plagiarism. MacDonald claimed that the film Rebecca was stolen from her novel Blind Windows, and sought an undisclosed amount of accounting and damages. The complaint was dismissed on January 14, 1948 and the judgment can be read online.
- Joan Fontaine as the second Mrs. de Winter
- Laurence Olivier as Maxim de Winter, owner of Manderley
- Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers, housekeeper of Manderley
- George Sanders as Jack Favell, Rebecca's first cousin and lover
- Reginald Denny as Frank Crawley, Maxim's estate manager of Manderley and friend
- Gladys Cooper as Beatrice Lacy, Maxim's sister
- C. Aubrey Smith as Colonel Julyan
- Nigel Bruce as Major Giles Lacy, Beatrice's husband
- Florence Bates as Mrs. Edythe Van Hopper, employer of the second Mrs. de Winter
- Edward Fielding as Frith, oldest butler of Manderley
- Melville Cooper as Coroner at trial
- Leo G. Carroll as Dr. Baker, Rebecca's doctor
- Leonard Carey as Ben, the beach hermit at Manderley
- Lumsden Hare as Mr. Tabbs, boat builder
- Forrester Harvey as Chalcroft the innkeeper
- Philip Winter as Robert, a servant at Manderley