April 12, 1940: Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca

“What was the secret of Manderley?”
is a 1940 American psychological thriller-mystery film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It was Hitchcock’s first American project, and his first film produced under contract with David O. Selznick. The film’s screenplay was a version by Joan Harrison and Robert E. Sherwood based on Philip MacDonald and Michael Hogan’s adaptation of Daphne du Maurier‘s 1938 novel Rebecca. The film was produced by Selznick and stars Laurence Olivier as the brooding aristocratic widower Maxim de Winter and Joan Fontaine as the young woman who becomes his second wife, with Judith Anderson and George Sanders.

Rebecca-1940-titleThe film is shot in black-and-white, and is a gothic tale. Maxim de Winter’s first wife Rebecca, who died before the story starts, is never seen. Her reputation and others’ recollections about her, however, are a constant presence in the lives of Maxim, his new young second wife, and the housekeeper Danvers.

Rebecca won two Academy Awards, Outstanding Production and Cinematography, out of Cinema-US-04-12-1940a total 11 nominations. Olivier, Fontaine and Anderson were all Oscar nominated for their respective roles. However, since 1936 (when awards for actors in supporting roles were first introduced), Rebecca is the only film that, despite winning Best Picture, received no Academy Award for acting, directing or writing. Rebecca was the opening film at the 1st Berlin International Film Festival in 1951. [Wikipedia]

See the trailer on the Alfred Hitchcock TV YouTube Channel.


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