Rebecca

Rebecca

Rebecca, the 1940 Academy Award winning film, is most notably remembered as a commercial success among audiences, however was harshly critiqued by both critics and even Hitchcock. Hitchcock revealed in an interview with famed film critic Francois Truffaut, that he personally believed “Rebecca” lacked in true “Hitchcockian” themes and elements. This paper argues against this principle that Rebecca lacked flair from the Master of Suspense’s famed auteur brand. Critics argue that Rebecca is branded distinctly by Hollywood mogul David O. Selznick, as a big-screen Hollywood adaption of a beloved novel such as seen in Selznick’s Gone with the Wind. However, despite the combative relationship between Director Alfred Hitchcock and Executive Producer David O. Selznick, there are distinct “Hitchcockian” visual themes throughout the film Rebecca. The film contains many familiar visual motifs from previous British period movies, and utilizing Rebecca’s grandiose budget, Hitchcock was able to further experiment and expand on these visual themes for use in future films. These themes include but are not limited to driving scenes, characters descending staircases, shadows falling across faces, dark figures contrasted against light, and close up portraits of faces before a dramatic kiss. This paper however, argues beyond these well-known Hitchcock auteur visuals in the implications that even the psychosexual, feminist controversy surrounding Rebecca proves to be an underlying theme found in nearly all Hitchcock films. It is this surplus of similarities and themes found in Rebecca and all Hitchcock films, which constitutes the notion that Rebecca, although commercialized, is a true “Hitchcockian” masterpiece.

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