If Frank Capra was the original Steven Spielberg, then Alfred Hitchcock was the original Christopher Nolan. Hitchcock had a way of grabbing your attention for two hours and then spitting you back out to think about what you just witnessed. Rebecca, the unlucky number 13 of the oscars promises to be unnerving and mysterious until the very end. Even though it doesn’t follow all the way through, it still manages to be the first best picture I know I’ll watch again.
When an unnamed woman (Joan Fontaine) meets the charming but somewhat mysterious Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier), the two fall in love and get married within weeks and the new Mrs. de Winter finds herself living in an enormous mansion called Manderley. Just as she’s thinking that her new life is too good to be true, she finds herself singled out by housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (a standout performance by Judith Anderson), who tells her that she can never replace the hole left in Maxim’s heart after his wife, Rebecca, died.
What makes the movie work is the atmosphere. Even when happy things are going on, you can’t help but feel a little disturbed. The creepy score keeps the audience on edge for the majority of the film, and the editing and cinematography push the envelope with what can be done with a black and white movie. It may seem like a step back after ‘Gone With The Wind’, if anyone can master black and white photography, It’s Hitchcock. The look of the manor is incredibly detailed and gothic, and the somewhat threatening performance by a majority of the cast will keep you guessing until the very end.
Well, almost until the very end. If the movie does have one flaw, it is the ending. I feel that the movie should have ended after the reveal of the twist. I guess that I wanted a more powerful ending considering all of the spooky buildup throughout the film. But, hey! It’s just one man’s opinion. I’d tune in to this film any day. But what is the twist ending? Well, hate to steal a line, but, “I promised Mother I wouldn’t tell.”