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(1940, Hitchcock)

"I want you to get rid of all these things."
"But these are Mrs. de Winter's things."
"*I* am Mrs. de Winter now!"

Rebecca was Alfred Hitchcock's first film in Hollywood and his first collaboration with David O. Selznick, who was coming hot off the success of Gone With The Wind. The film follows a young woman (Joan Fontaine) who marries widower Maxim De Winter (Laurence Olivier), but has to deal with the constant comparisons and memories of his titular first wife.

Rebecca is unlike any film Hitchcock made before, and on the surface, you can feel Selznick's touch in it more than you can feel Hitchcock's. The scope feels more epic and broader, and the tone is more serious. Despite this "differences", Hitchcock's direction is great. But the cinematography and lighting were breathtaking. The film looks gorgeous in its black and white, shadow-filled majesty. Shades of films to come, like Citizen Kane and Hitchcock's own Vertigo, can be seen in the cinematography and even the plot.

I thought both Olivier and Fontaine filled their roles ably. Olivier, although not perfect, did managed to convey that heaviness and grief-stricken nature of Maxim, while Fontaine showed the necessary naivete and innocence needed for the role. However, Judith Anderson steals her scenes as Mrs. Danvers, the mysterious maid that remains fixated to the late Rebecca. To me, the film peaked in a tense scene between Anderson and Fontaine. The last act did lose some steam, but at least it had George Sanders in it, and he was great.

All in all, Rebecca remains a new direction and a growth of Hitchcock, even if lots of it were controlled by Selznick.