Alfred Hitchcock

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        Rebecca (1940)
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        • Dvd Release Date: 1 Jan 2008
        • Region: 2 (UK & Europe)
        • Number of Discs: 1

        • Certificate: PG
        • Studio: Fremantle

          Director Alfred Hitchcock's first Hollywood film is a sumptuous and suspenseful adaptation of author Daphne du Maurier's romantic novel, produced by David 0 Selznick, immaculately played and rightly awarded the Oscar for best picture.

        Laurence Olivier as Maxim de Winter is superb, but it's mousey Joan Fontaine who is a revelation as the second Mrs de Winter<. Lovers of lesbian subtexts will have a field day with Judith Anderson's sinister housekeeper, Mrs Danvers, as Hitchcock circumvents the censors who forced plot changes to the original story to accommodate the Hays Code.

        This brilliant adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's classic novel stars Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. It was Hitchcock's first Hollywood film and won an Oscar for Best Picture. A timid young girl marries the handsome but troubled Cornish Landowner Maxim de Winter, but very soon realises that her life is dominated by the image and memories of her husband's first wife, Rebecca.

          “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”
          - Narrates the second Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca

        The housekeeper, still devoted to Rebecca, makes the second Mrs. de Winter's life a misery. Soon after Rebecca's death is revealed as suicide, events take another dramatic turn, finally casting aside the spectre of Rebecca.


        Olivier's role was originally offered to Ronald Colman by producer David O. Selznick. Colman turned it down because his character was a murderer and that the film would focus too much on the female characters. William Powell and Leslie Howard were also considered before it went to Olivier.

          Olivier was 32 years old when the film was shot; Fontaine 22

        For the female lead, Selznick was determined to create a media frenzy as big as that for the quest for Scarlett O'Hara for his previous production Gone With The Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939). Eventually, more than twenty actresses would be screentested, including Margaret Sullavan, Olivia de Havilland, Vivien Leigh (Olivier's then fiancee) and Anne Baxter. The choice of Fontaine was not a popular one, summed up by Olivier, who at one point said to Hitchcock: 'Fontaine's horrible, ol' boy!'

        Just as in the novel, Mrs de Winter has no name of her own, and is referred to only in relation to Maxim (taking the name de Winter) and Rebecca (who was the first Mrs de Winter). In an early draft of the screenplay, Hitch had tried to give the girl the name Daphne after Daphne du Maurier - much to Selznick's disgust!


        • 1940:
          Best Picture, B&W Cinematography


        • Nominations:
          Best Director, Best Actor (Laurence Olivier), Actress (Joan Fontaine), Supp. Actress (Judith Anderson), Screenplay, B&W Art Direction, Editing, Original Score, Special Effects

        • Actors:
            Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson, Gladys Cooper, Nigel Bruce, Reginald Denny, C. Aubrey Smith & Melville Cooper

        • Dir/Prod:
        • Prod:
            David O. Selznick
        • Scr:
            Robert E Sherwood, Joan Harrison, Philip MacDonald, Michael Hogan, Barbara Keon, from the novel by Daphne du Maurier
        • Ph:
            George Barnes
        • Ed:
            Hal C. Kern, James E. Newcom
        • Mus:
            Franz Waxman
        • Art Dir:
            Lyle Wheeler

          (Selznick/United Artists)

        Dvd Features

          •Moving Menus and Chapter Points
          •Cast Biographies Quotes and Trivia
          •Film Trivia, Awards and Taglines. •Photo Gallery
          •A Conversation with Hitchcock
          •An Interview With Kim Newman
          •The Real Me - (The Thin One)
          •Extracts from Francois Truffaut's Book - 'Hitchcock'
          •Biography Quotes And Trivia

        Technical Details

          Screen: Fullscreen 4:3
          Languages: English - Dolby Digital (1.0) Mono
          Duration: 2 hours and 10 minutes (approx)
          Region: Region 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players

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      • Price: £12.99 (UK Sterling)
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