Rebecca by Alfred Hitchcock (Dir.)
Reviewed by John Glover, Reference Librarian for the Humanities
Alfred Hitchcock was one of the best known directors of suspense films in the twentieth century, and this early film shows the skill he had attained years and even decades before his signature works. In this 1940 Oscar-winning film based on the 1938 novel of the same name, a young woman marries the secretive Maxim de Winter after a chance meeting in Monte Carlo, then returns with him to his estate in Cornwall and its house, Manderley. The plot follows the bride, whom we learn early on is the second Mrs. de Winter, as she attempts to escape the overpowering presence of her predecessor. From beautiful cinematography to spot-on acting, this movie has the power to surprise seventy years after its release.
This Criterion Collection edition contains commentary by film scholar Leonard J. Leff; isolated music and effects track; screen, hair, makeup and costume tests including Vivien Leigh, Anne Baxter, Loreeta Young, Margaret Sullavan and Joan Fontaine; Hitchcock on Rebecca, excerpts from his conversations with François Truffaut; phone interviews with Joan Fontaine and Judith Anderson from 1986; behind-the-scenes photo gallery; production correspondence and casting notes; deleted scenes script excerpts; 1939 test screening questionnaire; footage from 1940 Academy Awards ceremony; re-issue trailer; three hours of radio show adaptations.