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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 12 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on July 19, 2000
Rebecca, Alfred Hitchcock's first American film, is a classic suspense thriller and his only film to win an oscar for Best Picture. It is a haunting story about a young woman (Joan Fontaine) who marries a rich widower (Laurence Olivier) and who begins to learn dark secrets about his first wife, Rebecca. I liken the tone of the film to that of Vertigo, which is probably my favorite Hitchcock film. The story has an almost supernatural, gothic feel to it, and one almost expects a ghost to appear. It is a chilling story that works very effectively and is a good demonstration of why Hitchcock is considered one of the greatest suspense-thriller directors ever.
The performances are quite good. Olivier's character is like a caged animal, and one can practically feel his frustration boiling under his cool exterior. Fontaine plays her usual mousy screen persona, which is very effective at portraying the uncertainty and low confidence of the young wife. And the character of the maid....brrr. Very chilling.
Those who have seen this movie before will enjoy the DVD. The transfer is quite good, and the film shows only a few minor signs here or there of its age. The image is a tad bit soft but nothing that distracts in any way from the movie. Sound, of course, is monophonic. My only real complaint about the DVD is that it is quite bare-bones. It is just the movie and nothing else. Still, this movie is a worthy addition to any collection and is a strong testament to how "they used to make 'em."
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on May 26, 2000
This is a classic suspense movie. You have the frail Mrs. DeWinter in constant battle against the chilly Mrs. Danvers climaxing in a haunting scene in which Danvers nearly coaxes DeWinter into sucide. There is the ever present, thought oftem cryptic, memory of Maxim's first wife, the title character. The movie has a nice flow, wonderful perfomances and direction, and, of course, great atmosphere. There are, however, two flaws. One is the screenplay, which was based religiously on the original novel. The problem is, there are times when it doesn't quite work because they had to cut corners and condense scenes together usually unconvincingly. The diologue itself was a little trite and often sounded written (as opposed to sounding like actual everyday conversation). The other problem is the fact that the movie was in black and white. Though this wa most likely done for money reasons, it really needed to be in color. In the book, Manderley was filled with bright flowers and colors in general. Seeing Manderley in black and white wsa a little underwhelming based on what I excpected from the book. However, this sin is easily forgivable, and the screenplay can be forgivin because it still preserves the great story, and the performances are good enough to make the script sound better.
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on May 1, 2002
REBECCA is based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier. This 1940 film, marked the first collaboration between Director Hitchcock., and Producer David Selznick. It tells the story of a woman, (Joan Fontaine) who has a whirlwind romance with a wealthy widower, Max De Winter (Laurence Oliver), the couple marry. Soon after, the second wife De Winter realizes that she must compete with Max's first wife, Rebecca Not only is she sure that Max is haunted by the memory of his first wife, she is also convinced that, she is being driven insane by images of her as well. This is more of a psycological drama then it is thriller. That being said, the film still has plenty of Hitchcock touches, and with the film fully restored...It has never looked better.
The crew at Criterion have put together another fine 2 disc set. There is a bunch of solid extras to enjoy. The most exciting for me were the audio intconversations between Hitchcock and French filmmaker Francois Truffaut about the film. There are 3 full-length radio dramas of REBECCA, incuding one, produced by Orson Wells in 1938. The set also includes rare archival footage of the stars and different screen tests, a comprensive still gallery, deleted scene script excerpts, and actual production and casting notes. The Commentary from Hitchcock author Leonard J.Leff is the next best thing to hearing from the late director himself. While REBECCA is not my favorite Hitchcock film, I think it holds up, and is a must for anyone who admires him.
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on January 27, 2002
Hitchcock himself was dimissive of REBECCA. In some respects it is easy to see why: the film is very much a lavish Hollywood romance; the nature of the story offers little room for the director's legendary talents; and censorship issues of the day effectively prevented the film from touching upon the most startling plot twist of the original novel. Even so, REBECCA remains one of Hitchcock's most praised and widely admired films, and with good reason.
The film is perhaps Hitchcock's single finest exercise in pure atmosphere. Every frame manages to convey a combination of misty romance and increasing emotional disquiet, and the look feeds beautifully into the famous story of a mousey second wife who becomes increasingly insecure about her wealthy husband's seemingly perfect and mysteriously dead first wife, Rebecca. The script is remarkably strong, and the cast, with Dame Judith Anderson offering a truly legendary performance as Mrs. Danvers, is particularly fine. Everything about the film is dreamy, slickly produced, and expertly executed, and even the most jaded viewer will likely be drawn into the film's quietly mounting sense of insecurity and paranoia.
If this film had been made by any other director, I would have probably given it five stars; since it is by Hitchcock, however, it must be compared to some very, very celebrated work indeed, and I feel it ranks a bit below his best work and therefore give it four instead of five stars. But four or five, REBECCA is certainly a film that belongs in the collection of any one who admires Hitchcock's work--or any one in search of an unusual, romantic story with a carefully crafted gothic atmosphere.
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on August 29, 2000
This ranks as one of Hitchcock's best films in my opinion. Wonderful acting by Olivier and Fontaine. Infact I think both should have won Oscars for their roles (Fontaine did win one year later for another Hitchcock film "Suspicion"). And Hitchcock was overlooked as well. It's hard to believe he never won an Oscar. This one showcases his talents just as well as his other films. The movie carries a eerie feeling throughout, in ways it reminds me of an Edger Allan Poe novel, it has such a mysterious feel to it. You never quite know what to expect. The screenplay always leaves you hanging, the movie is filled with many plot twist and is handled in a way only the MASTER could have done. This is definitely a good movie to start out watching Hitchcock films with. A thrilling and exciting ride you'll never forget. This is a movie you just have to buy, don't rent it, because you'll find yourself always renting it, again and again. So save your time and buy this outstanding piece of filmmaking by one of the greats.
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on June 6, 1999
I enjoyed this movie. At first, I thought it really wasn't very good, but the second time I saw it, I realized it was much better than I thought. It was well-filmed and suitably chilling, and most of the performances were good. Still, I think the new version that Masterpiece Theater did a few years ago gave better portrayals of the characters. Judith Anderson was good as Mrs. Danvers, but Diana Rigg was more chilling, espicially in the "Why don't you jump?" scene. In this version, Laurence Olivier gave a pretty weak portrayal, I thought, and Charles Dance gave a much more complex portrayal of Maxim de Winter. Joan Fontaine was suitably naive as Mrs. de Winter, but I think Emilia Fox did a better job. Better portrayals in the Masterpiece Theater version, but otherwise, this was a good film.
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on November 2, 2000
This is perhaps my favourite film. After a few viewings this Selznick production may seem overlong and over-elaborate, but nevertheless it remains a classic. As the second Mrs De Winter Joan Fontaine is superb,giving a delicate, sensitive performance. She is better as the clumsy girl - but lovely throughout.Olivier is charming but too young, too histrionic in a part that called for Ronald Colman. Nevertheless, the pair are tremendous, and in the scenes in which Rebecca's real fate are revealed, they are impressive,in a screenplay surprisingly complex and mature even today.
The photography by George Barnes and music by Waxman are all top rate. An evocative charmer from a classy era.
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on August 11, 1999
...but in my opinion Daphne du Maurier's the one who deserves the credit. If you haven't read the book yet, read it before you watch this film.
Although Hitchcock's film is certainly an excellent achievement, I agree with the reviewer who said that the Masterpiece Theatre version was in many ways far superior. Nevertheless, this one's terrifically entertaining. Sorry to pooh-pooh Olivier and Fontaine, but the real star here is Judith Anderson, whose portrayal of Mrs. Danvers is absolutely chilling. Her final scene is riveting and unforgettable.
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on February 7, 2002
I thoroughly enjoyed this Hitchcock movie. On many levels. I hadn't seen it before, and came away quite happy with my purchase. It's kind of timeless. Other than being in b&w, nothing else really dates it per se (other than the actors/actresses of course). It's a good mystery, the scenery wonderful, and Joan Fontaine truly a twentieth century beauty (where are the actresses like her today?).
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on September 21, 2001
What can I say "Beautiful, Romantic, alot like Jane Eyre?" Athough it is alot like Jane Eyre ya know "Plain not very rich girl that lives with a brudy old lady, Somewhat handsome rich guy who has a mysterious past, and a buring house" that's not all though. But I loved the movie... Probably because I love Jane Eyre...
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