Thursday, July 4, 2019

Rebecca (1940) is the greatest film of all time

Rebecca. Hitchcock's first American film. David O. Selznick produced. Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine stared. Gothic thriller. 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. No way this isn't great. And it is. Academy Award for Best Picture. It is the greatest movie of all time, after all.

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Hitchcock's first American film (and his only Best Picture winner), Rebecca is a masterpiece of haunting atmosphere, Gothic thrills, and gripping suspense.

What I thought I knew about the plot walking into this movie was from spoofs like an old episode of Mama's Family, "I Do, I Don't", where Thelma, Mama, dates an old rich dude and has spooky dreams where he tried to turn her into his dead wife, Rebecca. Because of this, I was thinking it was more of a prototype for Vertigo. However, no. As it turns out, Olivier's character, rich dude Maxim de Winter, fucking hated his wife and sort of kills her and definitely disposes of her body like he killed her. It's pretty fucked but his performance is so over-the-top that it is kinda funny. Like when Fontaine's character the Second Mrs de Winter is convinced by de Winter's in-fucking-sane housekeeper and homey of Rebecca, Mrs. Danvers who was masterfully played by Judith Anderson who does unhinged hella well, to dress up as this dead relative from a painting on the wall at this costume ball they are hosting. She should have known something was up when all of his friends who see her are like, "what in the actual fuck?" and so forth. But she is like, "eh, I'll roll with it," and de Winter sees her and loses his fucking mind. She thinks, "oh, shit, I remind him too much of what he lost," and Danvers is like, "yeah... you should kill yourself," which she almost does.
"Psst. I don't give a fuck."

But then de Winter surprises her with the old, "actually, I sort of almost killed her when she told me she was pregnant with this asshole I hate's baby and I sank her boat to make it look like suicide," bit. She takes that surprisingly well, we'll go with, and helps him cover up the crime until his dead wife's dude, Jack Favell, comes out of the woodwork to blackmail de Winter, saying that he will tell the po-lice that she wasn't suicidal and that he was dicking her real good and shit, I guess. But all is avoided when they do an autopsy on the dead wife and see that she was dying of cancer and she just wanted to ruine de Winter because she was cray.

Ah, all is good. The end. JK. When they go back, Danvers has completely lost her fucking mind and burns down the mansion, Manderley, screaming like a mad woman and ultimately dying in the blaze.

Little tidbit about Fontaine. She was the younger sister of Olivia de Havilland of Gone with the Wind (she was Melanie Hamilton) fame. Good stock, those girls. Fontaine lived to be 96 and de Havilland just turned 103! She was an adult in Gone with the Wind! That is crazy pants.

This movie was for real great. Of the bitch be crazy genre, this one is pretty near the top. Maybe around the 10th Hitchcock movie I've seen, while probably not my favorite or what would be the apex of his career, this is a top five, conservatively, from a critical perspective. Hell of a Hollywood debut. Got him nominated for Best Director and the film won Best Picture, the only Hitchcock movie to win that award, which is shocking.

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