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Entries in Rebecca (14)

Saturday
Dec152018

New to the National Film Registry: Brokeback Mountain, Hud, etc...

by Nathaniel R

Each year in the thick of precursor awards season we are momentarily (and pleasantly!) asked to think about the entire history of motion pictures. Each December the Library of Congress adds 25 new movies to their list of American titles worthy of preservation. The criteria is "cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation’s film heritage."

The most recent inductee this year is Ang Lee's neo western gay classic Brokeback Mountain (2005) which is about as deserving as titles get for this honor. And we're personally thrilled to see the best movie of 1963, Hud, added. Here's the whole list chronologically...

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Thursday
Nov152018

Say it Aint So! Rebecca (1940) is Getting a Remake

by Nathaniel R

Nooooo. Rebecca (1940) doesn't need to be remade. Essentially no Hitchcock picture needs to be, you know. But word is out that Lily James and Armie Hammer are risking the ghosts of Joan Fontaine and Sir Laurence Olivier to star in a new film version of the Daphne Du Maurier story about "the second Mrs de Winter," her cold bossy husband, a sinister lesbian housekeeper, and an old creepy gothic mansion. The foolish or ballsy director that's going to try to live up to collective memories of Alfred Hitchcock? That'd be Ben Wheatley of High-Rise and Free Fire fame. 

Hey, let's do a "Cast This!" in the comments for the story's best role: Mrs Danvers, that creepy housekeeper with an obsession for her late mistresses undergarments. (You may recall that The Film Experience spent a lot of time with Rebecca a few years ago for a pass-the-baton retrospective.)

Saturday
Oct212017

Fontaine Centennial: Mrs de Winter in "Rebecca"

For the next few days we'll be celebrating Joan Fontaine's Centennial. Here's Eric on her most famous picture...

David O. Selznick, Joan Fontaine, and Alfred Hitchcock at the Oscars for Rebecca. The film won... but Fontaine and Hitch didn't.

One of the best things about writing for The Film Experience is the chance to open up windows of your film history you haven’t explored before.  For some reason, throughout all the years, I had never seen a movie with Joan Fontaine.  Just one of those black holes.  And because she stopped acting before I was born, I have zero frame of reference for her (unlike, say, sister Olivia de Havilland)... 

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Saturday
Apr182015

Revisiting Rebecca (Pt 5): Burn It Down, Mrs Danvers

Previously on "Revisiting Rebecca"
Pt 1 - a whirlwind de Winter courtship
Pt 2 - return to Manderley, meet Mrs Danvers
Pt 3 - feel up Rebecca's lingerie
Pt 4 - attend a costume ball but don't jump out the window, young lady!
 

...And here is Jason, with our final installment.


1:44:50 We fade up from a kiss to a sign reading "Kerrith Board School 1872." It seems so exact it made me wonder if this is a real place, but a quick google comes up with nothing. I assume this, like most everything save the more obvious natural exteriors (the beaches filmed on the California coast, for example), was a set. It seems an odd detail to so prominently focus upon though. My guess is Hitch liked the connection to The Past, with it hanging over everyone – he was never exactly the most subtle with his themes.

In the Hitchcock/Truffaut book the two filmmakers discuss how "the location of [Manderley] is never specified in a geographical sense; it's completely isolated." Hitch actually talks at length about how he sees this possibility of isolation as an "American" thing -- that if Rebecca had been filmed in Great Britain he'd have shown the countryside surrounding the house but filming it in America gave him the possibility of this "abstraction." It certainly helps that whenever we’re seeing the mansion itself it’s always a miniature, and not an actual location. Anyway, here we are... Where ever here is!

Continue on to the final installment

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Friday
Apr172015

Revisiting Rebecca (Pt 4) the Original Gone Girl

Previously on Revisiting Rebecca -  Nathaniel introduced us to our nameless heroine whose youthful, clumsy charm lands her the brooding Maxim de Winter. Abstew attended their nuptials and the first of the second Mrs. de Winter's trials at Manderley. Then Anne Marie ventured into Rebecca's room to see how deep Mrs. Danvers obsession goes. Will our mousy leading lady ever find the peace and love she desires at Manderley or will the ghost of Rebecca prove too great an obstacle?

Part 4 by Angelica Jade Bastién

We begin where Anne Marie left off, with #2 (aka The Second and Less Fabulous Mrs. de Winter) getting her wish for a costume ball. After failing to come up with a costume to her liking Mrs. Danvers offers to help. But, #2 soon learns that Mrs. Danvers version of help is quite dangerous. 

1:16:06 Costume balls, much like Halloween, allow people to become what they deeply want to be even if it’s just for an evening. For #2 this is especially true as she takes Mrs. Danvers advice and dresses up as Lady Caroline de Winter based on one of the many family portraits that punctuate the walls of Manderley. Lady Caroline represents everything #2 is not: poised, beautiful, disarming. 

While some of our team hasn't warmed to Joan Fontaine in this nameless role, I agree with Anne Marie's estimations. Fontaine perfectly embodies her. When we first see #2 in her costume she is nervous with desire, unsure of her decision. She carries herself with a sort of clumsiness I remember from my high school years; trying to have some sort of grace but instead bristling against the confines of early womanhood. Which makes me wonder how old is #2 supposed to be exactly? [More...]

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Thursday
Apr162015

Revisiting Rebecca (Pt 3): Don't Go Into Rebecca's Room

Previously on Revisiting Rebecca - Nathaniel introduced us to a mousy girl with no name and no money, whose awkward charms land her Maxim de Winter. Abstew guided us through their nuptials and the introduction of Manderley, Maxim’s humble family castle. Turns out it’s filled with Maxim’s dead wife’s things, including a creepy servant named Mrs. Danvers. Just how much sway does Rebecca still hold over Manderley?

Part 3 by Anne Marie

We begin where abstew left off, with #2 (aka Mrs. de Winter the Second, aka Mrs. de W2 - with about as much personality as a tax form) asking Crawley to describe Rebecca’s character. Crawley answers back with a vague, glowing physical description that makes #2 twitch and me roll my eyes. Yes, yes. Rebecca was beautiful. Maybe the moral of this movie is not to judge a woman's moral character solely by her good looks.

55:55 There’s a quick montage of a fashion magazine and crossfade to #2 dressed uncomfortably in a black dress with pearls. Eagle eyed observers may remember that this is the same outfit she promised Maxim she’d never wear.  [More]

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