130 minutes| U.S.A.| 1940| Black and White| 35mm

This film screened in April 2010.

Hitchcock’s first film after being brought to America by producer David O. Selznick was a careful adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s best-selling novel. The film repeated the book’s success, winning the 1941 Oscar for Best Film, though not Best Director – an honour that Hitchcock, strangely, never received. He later came to disparage Rebecca as being more of a Selznick and a du Maurier film than a Hitchcock one, but it still bears his unmistakable stylistic imprint, using liberal point-of-view strategies to trace the Cinderella-like adventure of its unnamed heroine, the second Mrs de Winter (Joan Fontaine), as she struggles to come to terms with the ghostly presence of her eponymous predecessor. Intriguingly, Robin Wood (in Hitchcock’s Films Revisited) asks ‘What was Rebecca’s crime? . . . The logic of the film would have Rebecca as its heroine.’ Twenty years older than Psycho, it remains a canonical film, and it’s not hard to see why.

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