5.0 out of 5 stars Rebecca
A perfect example of a compelling story that stays true to the novel on which it was based. Superb acting is brought out by Hitchcock's wonderful direction. Real entertainment!
Published 9 months ago by lovemycat
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you want to return to Manderley, get Criterion's version
Note: Get the Criterion DVD before it is too late! (It's supposed to go out of print on the 31st of December, 2003). While Hitchcock's masterpiece is still stunning after all these years, the DVD I watched, published by Anchor Bay, is pretty weak; the Criterion Collection DVD of "Rebecca" has much more in the way of extras and special features, which is half the appeal of...
Published on Dec 14 2003 by NoirDame, Vintage film/TV/radi...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rebecca,
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rebecca - Hitchcocks Masterful Interpretation,
This review is from: Rebecca [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)Looking forward to this digital remastering of a masterful adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's classic story. I have all available DVD adaptations of Rebecca and look forward to the BluRay sharpening of the suspenseful experience of returning to Manderley.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you want to return to Manderley, get Criterion's version,
This review is from: Rebecca [Import] (DVD)Note: Get the Criterion DVD before it is too late! (It's supposed to go out of print on the 31st of December, 2003). While Hitchcock's masterpiece is still stunning after all these years, the DVD I watched, published by Anchor Bay, is pretty weak; the Criterion Collection DVD of "Rebecca" has much more in the way of extras and special features, which is half the appeal of getting a classic on DVD.
Anchor Bay's DVD only has a chapter selection and "start" on the menu. Not even closed captioning, which makes this DVD inaccessible to older or deaf fans.
Still, even a weak DVD presentation can't take away from such a beautiful film. A TV presenter recently introduced "Rebecca", by saying that Joan Fontaine was too pretty to be believable in the role of a plain girl. Missing the point! "Rebecca" is a story from the point of view of a scared, insecure heroine who believes the worst of herself and is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like the heroine of "Northanger Abbey," perhaps the gothic atmosphere here is really created out of her hopes and fears - "Rashomon"-style where each person sees a different thing. The book "Venus in Spurs" has most of a chapter devoted to "Rebecca," and how much this film and book relate to women who struggle through insecurity, despite being loved. (To say more might ruin the movie for first-time viewers).
Fontaine is, of course, very good, as is Laurence Olivier, who has scarcely *ever* been more handsome and commanding. Among the strong supporting cast is George Saunders and Dame Judith Anderson. While Anderson's usually singled out in reviews and hindsight, her obsessive maid could hardly be that malevolent, if the audience didn't feel so sympathetic towards Fontaine's sweet, mild Mrs. de Winter. Really, Fontaine needed Anderson in this performance to really pull it off; and the reverse is equally true. I also think Florence Bates adds quite a bit here as the bitchy and bossy Mrs. Van Hopper, also providing a strong showing in another wonderful film, "A Letter to Three Wives," which, come to think of it, is also about wives and their suspicions of their husbands... and Bates' character sets up trouble for one of the "Letter" wives with her thoughtlessness in that picture, too.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Criterion's disappointingly out-of-sync,
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a WINNER!,
I have searched for a copy now and then over the years, never with any success. So, of course when I came across it I had to buy it.
I convinced my 16 year old daughter to sit down and watch with me, who does not like old black and white movies at all. For me, it was just as wonderful as it was 30 years ago.
When I came home from work the next day... what do you think my daughter was watching?
Buy this movie - if you are a Hitchcock fan you will not regret it. If you are not a fan, this is the movie that made my daughter and I both one. 30 years apart!
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the BEST movies,
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite Film.,
It's actually a film which benefits from Hitchcock's lack of control, and you can read some of the stupid ideas he had to re-write Rebecca (on the 2nd disc), and Selznick reined him in to make this. This was the first Criterion DVD I had to own, and it's hard to find, going on eBay for hilarious amounts unsealed. I even re-authored it to cut a music video for Bauhaus' 'Shes In Parties'!
Joan Fontaine was so beautiful, you can see the use of star power in the golden age of Hollywood, the readings in the extras are interesting as well.
5.0 out of 5 stars Yummy Classic Movie,
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic shines.,
5.0 out of 5 stars "We can never go back to Manderley again",
Alfred Hitchcock had made a career in London making films with complete autonomy. He basically called all the shots. When he got to America, he signed a four movie deal with Selznick. Rebecca is the first and best of the three. (no, not a mistake, I'll explain later) Rebecca was the only film by Hitchcock to win best picture from the Academy, although Hitch did not win best director. The film was basically a tug of war between producer and director. Selznick wanted the book followed religiously, Hitch wanted to take the basic idea of the book and add his own touches. Selznick wouldn't allow it, so Hitch was forced to make the film exactly by the book.
The film stars Fontaine as an unnamed young woman who while working as a paid companion for the unbearable Mrs. Van Hopper (Florence Bates), she meets and falls in love with the brooding Maxim de Winter (Lawrence Olivier). They marry after a quick courtship and go "home" to Manderley, Olivier's mammoth estate. Fontaine is very young and has no idea what she is getting into, especially when it dawns on her that Olivier's late first wife, Rebecca, still dominates the house. Her stationery, napkins, and rituals are still present, and Fontaine feels she has no chance against this woman.
The other problem in the house is the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson),who creeps around the house, showing up at any time to frighten Fontaine. She is still obsessed with Rebecca, still keeps Rebecca's old room the same way, hairbrush at the correct angle on the vanity. She makes Fontaine feel she will never measure up, will never be a great lady of Manderley, something that Mrs. Van Hopper tried to tell her as well. Everyone and everything in the house revolves around this dead Rebecca, so much so that Fontaine almost can't live through it.
Rebecca never appears in the film, yet it is amazing how much of a character she is. When Fontaine tries to dress up for a ball, Danvers suggests a portrait on the wall which is supposed to be a long dead relative of Maxims. Of course, when Fontaine wears the dress, she realizes from Maxim's reaction that the woman and the dress were Rebecca and that she just reminded him of her.
Eventually the film goes into Rebecca's death in some detail. We never know for sure that we know all the details of the death, but it doesn't really matter. By the end of the movie, all the major characters in the film will have been changed. Some will have been destroyed forever.
Criterion has done a great job with this film, giving us a great transfer, as always, along with a superb commentary. The second disc features trailers, interviews with Fontaine and Anderson, making of featurettes, examples of Selznick's letters and his attention to detail, and how maddening it got for the master.
By the way, Selznick got three films out of Hitchcock. They were Rebecca, Spellbound, and The Paradine Case. Well, he really got four, but he gave one of them to RKO studios because he was unhappy with the story and he thought it would interest no one. What was the film Selznick gave away? It was Hitch's best film of all time in my opinion--Notorious. What a waste it would have been had Selznick been allowed to ruin Hitch's masterpiece.
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Rebecca [Blu-ray] by Laurence Olivier (Blu-ray - 2012)
CDN$ 25.99 CDN$ 20.98