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Beauty vs. Beast: An Introduction

JA from MNPP here with a fun new weekly game for us to play!

One of the reasons I love horror films is because more than most genres they give us the chance to see how movies can manipulate their audience into morally tricky identification territory. I find it fascinating, from a psychological standpoint, seeing how a master like say Alfred Hitchcock can use cinema to turn the simple act of mopping up a bathroom into widespread criminal complicity. Some times the bad guys are just so much more interesting than the good guys, ya know? So that's what this here series is about - I'm going to give you a film's protagonist and its antagonist, list a couple of their pros and their cons, and then you're gonna tell me whose team you're on. This week I give you...

Mrs. Danvers vs. The Second Mrs. de Winter in Rebecca (1940)

This Monday was the 117th anniversary of Judith Anderson's birth, not to mention that we just lost Joan Fontaine in December, so this seems like the perfect place to begin. (In case you're wondering, Rebecca is usually a good place to begin, no matter the circumstances.)



You have until Monday to vote, at which time we'll crown a winner and give you a spiffy new pair to choose between. And feel free to make your cases pro and con whomever in the comments!

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Reader Comments (15)

I am LIVING for this new segment!

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

While I don't advocate trying to talk some dreary wallflower into jumping out a window Mrs. Danvers has it all over that wilting nameless mouse.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

I am torn but ultimately voting for Fontaine. I loved her "I am Mrs. De Winter now!" moment

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertom

LOL at joel's post!

I have seen Rebecca about five times, and I just never get how Joan can take all that BS from that old lady. I would have shoved that broken figurine up her ole kazoo.

The scene where Mrs. Danvers seems hypnotized by Rebecca's fancy that's gay.

I always rejoice when Joan finally says "I'm Mrs. DeWinter." Love em both, but I have to go with Joan on this one.

What a great idea for a series!

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I will always vote for the Predatory Lesbian. Always.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

I saw Rebecca a long time ago and I know I should revisit it as I do love Alfred Hitchcock's movies. In fact, I saw Psycho for the bazillionth time last night. Anyway, Anderson's performance always stuck with me so I chose Mrs. Danvers. I'm happy the Academy nominated her though their winner Jane Darwell would be mine as well.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean Troutman

Does it have to be horror? I immediately though of Julie Andrews v. Eleanor Parker in The Sound Of Music.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Dave - nope it def. won't be horror every time, I was just using that as my entry point. There are so many great pairs in other genres, like the one you name, that need to face off!

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJA

Team Second Mrs. de Winter, only because of the reported on-set drama wherein Olivier was furious with his leading lady because she was cast in the role over his wife, and apparently held court with the other more seasoned Brits (Sanders, Anderson, etc.), who in turn ostracized young Ms. Fontaine.

But Mrs. Danvers is a fascinating character, in print and on film.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Mrs. Danvers all the way! One of my favorite supporting actress performances in all of filmdom.

February 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Real Robert A.

Miss Danvers wins in a walk. Second Mrs. De Winter thinks she can compare, but I was so accomplished.

February 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Does Mrs. Danvers have a first name?
If not, that's also a con then. ;)

February 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

The second Mrs. de Winter is deeply sympathetic; more so, I suspect, than many of the "Beauties" you're going to feature. It's precisely because she's so twitchy and fluttery and nervous, whereas so many Beauties are simply goodness personified without real character.

Mrs. Danvers, OTOH, is fabulous, but also something of an Evil Lesbian cliché. Plus, fuck her, that bitch.

February 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

Good call, Sonja! I never even realized the fact that Mrs. Danvers is also only a married name - she's got as much of a name as SMDW does. I guess that only emphasizes that the only woman is REBECCA even more. Great catch.

February 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJA

Team Rebecca. but I voted for her minion, of course.

February 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

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