Friday, October 06, 2017

Rebecca (1940)

Who's In It: Laurence Olivier (Wuthering Heights, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Clash of the Titans), Joan Fontaine (Suspicion, Jane Eyre, Ivanhoe), George Sanders (The Picture of Dorian Gray, All About Eve, The Jungle Book), Judith Anderson (Laura, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock), Nigel Bruce (Watson to Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes), Reginald Denny (Madam Satan, the Bulldog Drummond movies from the '30s, Batman: The Movie), C Aubrey Smith (Tarzan the Ape Man, Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back) and Gladys Cooper (The Black Cat, My Fair Lady)

What It's About: A young bride (Fontaine) moves to her husband's (Olivier) estate and contends with the figurative ghost of her predecessor.

How It Is: Another one we just covered on Mystery Movie Night, but I don't mind talking about it again. I love this movie so much.

It's a smart - really smart - gothic romance with some great twists and turns. But even when I know what's coming after having seen it so many times, I always find something new about a character or just the way that Hitchcock's telling the story. And it's so beautifully shot and wonderfully acted by everyone involved.

I go into detail about my favorite cast members in the MMN episode, but I'll say again here that Fontaine and Olivier are awesome together and make me want them to figure things out even while it's clear that they aren't a natural fit for each other and have a lot of work to do. Oliver's charming, but also heartbreaking as he's not dealing well with the trauma of his previous marriage. Fontaine is naive and childlike to a fault. They both have characteristics that the other needs, but neither knows how best to support the other. It's great to see them (and it's mostly Fontaine) work through that.

The best part for me is watching Fontaine's character grow and seeing how that affects her relationship with Maxim (Olivier). The movie doesn't hit me over the head with it, but suggests her maturing in subtle ways and I love to find new clues every time I watch.

Rating: 4.5 out 5 evil ladies' maids


Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

I'm curious how you pick the list of roles to associate with these actors. Laurence Olivier isn't really BEST known for Clash of the Titans. No more so than Marlon Brando is known for the Island of Dr Moreau or Burgess Meredith is known for Santa Claus: The Movie.

Michael May said...

It's purely personal. I pick my favorites.


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