Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rebecca (1940)

Today's film is Rebecca.  It starts off very unassuming.  A young woman finds a man staring at the sea while on vacation in Monte Carlo.  They spend time together at the hotel, and a few days later he asks her to marry him and come to his estate in the country, called Manderlay.

This is all happening very fast, but I accept it because it's a romantic movie.  What's interesting is that no one ever mentions the young woman's first name.  She's only referred to as Mrs. de Winter.  Her husband is referred to as both Mr. de Winter and Maxim.  The whole estate is affected by the untimely death of Rebecca, Mr. de Winter's first wife.  She went sailing one night, something happened to the boat, and she drowned.  The body washed ashore months later and was identified by her husband.

I think the person most affected by her death was her housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers.  She lovingly keeps Rebecca's room in mint condition, exactly as it was the day she left.  I noticed that Rebecca's room was in the West Wing, and no one ever goes in there.  The new Mrs. de Winters goes upstairs and sneaks in the first chance she gets.  That's just like in Beauty and the Beast, the Beast lives in the West Wing and does not want anyone inside.  Belle sneaks in the West Wing the first chance she gets.

Mrs. Danvers is cruel to the new wife and tricks her into dressing into something Rebecca wore for her costume ball.  Maxim is very upset when he sees his wife wearing one of Rebecca's outfits.  The whole party is interrupted when a boat crashes near them.  Everyone rushes out to help, fully costumed, which I thought was funny.  Later, a diver reveals that he found the sailboat Rebecca died on at the bottom of the sea.  When they bring it up, they discover Rebecca's body inside!  Mrs. de Winters feels sorry for her husband, but he is compelled to tell her the truth.  He put Rebecca's body inside the boat and set it out to sea, because he hates her!  What!  I was not prepared for that.

He reveals that Rebecca was a manipulative bitch that slept around.  He didn't divorce her because he couldn't handle the scandal.  So, when he met Rebecca at her cottage by the sea, she told him she was pregnant with her lover's baby.  He would be forced to raise the baby, who would eventually become heir to his estate.  He got so mad he pushed her, and she smacked her head and died.  It was an accident.  So, Maxim put her on her boat and set it off, hoping to never see her again.  Well that failed.

The policeman are very kind to Maxim, but their duty is to investigate this death.  The general consensus is suicide.  Rebecca's lover, Jack, doesn't believe this and tries to blackmail Maxim.  Maxim is way cleverer than him though.  Jack is a used car salesman and is totally smarmy the whole time.  He takes Maxim and the police to Rebecca's private physican.  But what is revealed shocks everyone.  Rebecca was ill not because of pregnancy, but because she had cancer.  The doctor tells everyone of her reaction, and it is true that she did intend to kill herself.  Maybe lying to Maxim about the baby and starting the fight was her way of ending it.

Soon, everyone finds out the truth, that Rebecca had cancer.  Mrs. Danvers is affected most by it.  She hates Maxim, and really hates his wife for daring to replace Rebecca.  So, she calmly walks carrying a single candle, which she uses to set the entire house on fire!  Ahh!  Just like crazy lady from Jane Eyre

My, this movie was exciting.  There were so many twists I didn't know what was coming next.  I will give this film a 9/10.


  1. Yes, this is an awesome film. Mrs. Danvers is extremely creepy.

    1. Yeah, if it were me, I would have fired her as the housekeeper.