Rebecca starring Joan Fontaine

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Alfred Hitchcock’s gloriously eerie Gothic romantic thriller Rebecca asks the unsettling question: Did rich, guilt-ridden widower Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier) do away with his notorious wife Rebecca or not? And what dark secret does sinister, manipulating housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) hold? As the widower’s young and beautiful second wife, (the unnamed “new” Mrs. de Winter, played by Joan Fontaine) attempts to unravel the mystery that haunts Manderlay estate and everyone who resides there, she is drawn into a web of danger that brings her ever closer to the shocking truth behind the ghostly presence of Rebecca. Based on the classic novel by Daphne du Maurier (whose short story The Birds later served as inspiration for Hitch’s 1963 horror classic), Rebecca was Hitchcock’s first American film, and his only film to win a Best Picture Academy Award. While legendary Hollywood producer David O. Selznick (Gone with the Wind) infamously took final cut of the picture, which was drastically altered from Hitchcock’s original vision, Rebecca’s themes of obsession, madness and female “doubling,” as well as its sinister insistence on equating romance with life-threatening danger, are 100% pure Hitchcock. (Dir. by Alfred Hitchcock, 1940, USA, 130 mins., Not Rated) Digital