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In his first American project, Alfred Hitchcock delivered “Rebecca”, a dramatic psychological thriller starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. Based on Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel it won the Academy Award for best picture in 1940 and it is by far (personal opinion) one of the best psychological thrillers ever made and one of the best Hitchcock movies also. Joan Fontaine plays a young woman (she is never actually named in the movie) who is a companion to a wealthy woman (a hilarious Florence Bates). When they are in Monte Carlo, she is introduced to a wealthy widower Maxim de Winter (a very charming Laurence Olivier) and they fall in love (even though this is a 1940’s movie, so modern women will probably consider him a chauvinistic pig in today’s standards). Soon they are married and sweet innocent new Mrs. De Winter is taken to Manderley, the stately home of the de Winter’s. There the new Mrs. De Winter meets the staff, and also Mrs. Danvers (an absolutely amazing performance by Judith Anderson), the housekeeper. And that’s when the shit hits the fan. You see Mrs. Danvers was just a tiny bit obsessed with the previous Mrs. De Winter, Rebecca. She immediately despises the new Mrs. De Winter and makes sure that Rebecca’s presence is felt around the house, even after she is dead. You see, Mrs. Danvers was a little passionate (in a lesbian manner) about Rebecca. Add to the story a bit of incest (we are left to believe that Rebecca was banging her cousin – a very creepy yet charming performance by George Sanders) and we have all the perfect ingredients for a great thriller.

“Judith Anderson gives one of the Top Ten creepiest performances of all time.” Joan Fontaine plays the main role of the movie, and Hitchcock may have asked her a bit more than she could handle. Even though her character is suppose to be a fragile scared woman, going from an ordinary life to a life of luxury, Joan Fontaine plays her with such weakness that you find yourself routing for Mrs. Danvers everytime these two actresses share a scene. Judith Anderson that plays Mrs. Danvers gives probably one of the Top Ten creepiest performances of all time, manipulating the fragile new Mrs. De Winter to the point of almost guiding her to suicide. 40

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The Kaje (September Issue)  

The Kaje is all about the arts - from the upcoming and underground through to the commercial mainstream. Issue 5 takes a look at: Stornoway,...

The Kaje (September Issue)  

The Kaje is all about the arts - from the upcoming and underground through to the commercial mainstream. Issue 5 takes a look at: Stornoway,...

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