A timid young woman marries a rich aristocrat who is
still greatly affected by the sudden death of his first wife.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Robert E. Sherwood and Joan Harrison
Starring Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, Judith Anderson,
George Sanders, Reginald Denny, Gladys Cooper, C. Aubrey Smith
Based on the novel by Daphne Du Maurier
Oscar Wins - Best Picture, Best Cinematography
Oscar Nominations - Best Actor (Laurence Olivier), Best Actress (Joan Fontaine), Best Supporting Actress (Judith Anderson), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Special Effects, Best Original Score (Franz Waxman)
Rebecca is the only Best Picture winner that Alfred Hitchcock ever made. That's a travesty, considering the incredible catalog of films he directed in his career, but Rebecca is a damn good film to take top honors. This film has it all. It's dramatic, suspenseful, creepy, charming, and engaging. Leave it to Hitchcock to pepper this straight-laced drama with just the right amount of suspense to keep things interesting. With top notch performances from Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, this film is a must-see.
Fontaine plays an unnamed woman who is shy and self-conscious about her looks and personality. While on vacation in Monte Carlo, she captures the heart of the rich and handsome Maxim de Winter (Olivier), who proposes to her after knowing her for less than a week. Now Mrs. de Winter, she learns all about Maxim's first wife, the enigmatic and seemingly perfect Rebecca, whose presence haunts the household. The staff, particularly the insanely unsettling Mrs. Danvers (Anderson), all compare the new Mrs. de Winter to Rebecca, leaving our heroine without a sense of identity and feeling unloved. Of course, that's just the beginning of this story, and when certain truths are revealed, the film becomes a straight-up rollercoaster.
Rebecca could be in the running for Hitchcock's masterpiece, though personally, I prefer his darker work like Psycho and Rear Window. But this is the first film that Hitchcock made in Hollywood, and it's quite a thriller. This film is 80 years old this year, and it's still a highly engaging suspenseful drama. Olivier and Fontaine still dominate the screen and captivate the audience. Films like Rebecca are a constant reminder of the enduring power of cinema.