Anyone who knows anything about film has heard of director Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho, Rear Window). He is an iconic figure in film history. This was the famous director’s first American film and it went on to win the Best Picture in 1941 at the Oscar Awards. Not a bad start. Hitchcock selected Daphne Du Maurier’s novel as the source material for his first American film. It is a mature film about the perils of obsession that will never go out of style.
Secretive widower Maxim de Winter (Sir Laurence Olivier – Spartacus, The Jazz Singer) returns home from Monte Carlo to his mansion Manderlay (England) with a young and shy bride in tow. The new Mrs. de Winter (Joan Fontaine – Jane Eyre, Suspicion) wages a daily battle against the memory of Maxim’s first wife. It seems like even though she is deceased Rebecca still rules Manderlay. Mrs. de Winter does battle with Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson – Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock), the housekeeper, over the running of Manderlay. It becomes almost impossible for her to get out from the shadow of Rebecca and become her own woman.
The three main members of the cast turn in excellent performances, but they are helped along in their endeavors by the wonderful look of the film. Hitchcock shows himself once again to be the master of the thriller with all his twists and turns that are not superfluous or just cheap tricks. The cinematography, essential in a film of this sort, is a wonder with everything looking great. There is swirling fog and ominous organ music. Everything needed to give you the chills while watching it. You know something awful is going to happen, you just don’t know when or where. Dark, gothic and moody.
- Audio commentary from 1990 featuring film scholar Leonard J. Leff
- Isolated music and effects track
- NEW conversation between film critic and author Molly Haskell and scholar Patricia White
- NEW interview with special effects historian Craig Barron on the visual effects in Rebecca
- Documentary from 2007 on the making of Rebecca
- Screen, hair, makeup, and costume tests including actors Joan Fontaine, Anne Baxter, Vivien Leigh, Margaret Sullavan, and Loretta Young
- Casting gallery annotated by director Alfred Hitchcock and producer David O. Selznick
- Television interviews with Hitchcock and Fontaine from 1973 and 1980
- Audio interviews from 1986 with actor Judith Anderson and Fontaine
- Three radio adaptations of Rebecca, from 1938, 1941, and 1950, including Orson Welles’s version for the Mercury Theatre
- Theatrical rerelease trailer
- PLUS: An essay by critic and Selznick biographer David Thomson and selected production correspondence, including letters between Hitchcock and Selznick