Rebecca (1940)

"You thought you could be Mrs. de Winter. Live in her house. Walk in her steps. Take the things that are hers. But she's too strong for you. You can't fight her. No one ever got the better of her. Never, never! She was beaten in the end, but it wasn't a man, it wasn't the woman, it was the sea."

I love Mrs. Danvers monologue in that scene. Throughout the whole film she feels that the new Mrs. de Winter is trying to replace the recently-deceased Mrs. de Winter (Rebecca.) Everywhere she goes, the new Mrs. de Winter is reminded of Rebecca.


Hitchcock constantly reminds us of Rebecca's looming presence throughout the film. I love the way he frame's Mr. de Winter's first exploration of Reb's room. The doors are enormous and she's terrified to even approach them.


But my favorite shot is when she enters the room. Mrs. de Winter's shadow starts off enormous on the opposite wall, but as she takes just a few steps in it quickly shrinks and she's dwarfed by the room's looming presence.


Later, when she's gotten herself ready for a costume party, she looks up at the painting wearing the dress after which hers was designed. Again, we're reminded just how much Rebecca looms over the new Mrs. de Winter, as she stands low at the feet of the portrait looking up at the dress Rebecca once wore.


One last thing—Judith Anderson's menacing performance of Mrs. Danvers, for which she won Best Supporting Actress, was probably my favorite aspect of the movie. She's menacing.


You can listen to our discussion of Rebecca, Citizen Kane, and Casablanca on: iTunesSoundCloud

More info: Trailer | IMDb