Known as Hitchcock’s first American film, the master of suspense teamed up with Gone With the Wind producer David O. Selznick to bring to life Daphne Du Maurier’s modern classic supsense novel, Rebecca. It becomes very clear early on in this film that Hitchcock was the right choice to direct this tale of internal suspense and romance.
The story follows the experiences of a young woman played by Joan Fontaine as she falls in love with and marries the mysterious widower Maxim De Winter, played masterfully by Lawrence Olivier. The new Mrs. DeWinter is haunted by the memory of Maxim’s first wife, Rebecca, and all the influence she had on those around her. Hitchcock does a great job of portraying the paranoia that settles in around our young heroin and we watch with bated breath as the truth about the details of Rebecca’s tragic death emerges.
Many of the trademark Hitchcock signatures abound through this film; from camera movements that tell stories without really showing anything, to capturing just the right facial expressions on characters in the background, he leads the viewer down the path that Hitchcock wants them to go down. When it’s all said and done, you feel like you still don’t know the full story, but you’re satisfied with what you do know. If you like suspense with a healthy dose of romance and you enjoy seeing leading men who walk with an air of bravado, this movie is a sure hit for your next movie night.