Sunday, 10 July 2011

She knew everyone that mattered. Everyone loved her

No 318 - Rebecca
Director - Alfred Hitchcock

I have not read the original novel and only had the most basic understanding of the plot.... basically, I knew enough to know that the sketch 2:30 into the video below was based on Rebecca:

you may as well watch it all because Big Train is amazing

But I couldn't have told you what actually happens in the story. I think this is the best way to view the film, because it really heightens the fantastic series of twists and turns.

The story (which has apparently been sanitised slightly from the book which is even more morbid) follows a protagonist who is never given a first name (creating a weird distance and sense of formality between her and the viewer) as she marries above her station and is permanently belittled by the memory of his ex wife. Joan Fontaine is wonderful in this role. She manages to have a whole load of small town charm and elegance. However, she is also very much out of her comfort zone and frequently stressed and upset. You really sympathise with the character and want things to sort out for her.

The story starts fairly mundanely, as a film it is very much of its period and has dated quite badly in places (I particularly enjoyed the condescending attitude to those 'silly little women') and the scenes in Monte Carlo move quite slowly. However, Hitchcock's skill has always been tension and once the action moves away from the courting and into the stately home of Manderlay, the film really picks up.
There are secrets and mysteries which have not been explained, and Max De Winter's first wife Rebecca is at the heart of it all - her legacy clear not only in the sheer magnitude of objects with a monogrammed R, but also in the attitude of the servants. The most notable, and brilliant, is the creepy character of Mrs Danvers. A solemn figure who seems lurking behind all of Mrs De Winter's social faux pas and embarrassments. She is clearly a nasty piece of work, but might there be more to her?

And thats where I want to end it really.... Because the final act of the film is just an incredible barrage of twists, revelations and dramatic moments. None of which I really saw coming. They are also timed to perfection, so just as you recover from one game-changing statement, the next one hits you.

Accept that the film will begin slowly and pompously, and you're in for a treat. A complex and rewarding mystery that is explained in a third act which moves at an oddly breakneck pace after the first two far slower acts.

1 comment:

bluecat said...

2012 BlueCat Screenplay Competition Call for Entries

***Early Bird Deadline Aug 1: be eligible for the Best Screenplay Title prizes!
Top three awarded $250.

Script Analysis
This year we will be offering two written screenplay analyses for each submission! Two different readers will read each script, with each reader providing written script analysis.

Winner receives $10,000, with four finalists receiving $2,000 each.

Best UK screenplay $1,000.

Best screenplay from outside the USA, Canada and the UK $1,000.

Top three Best Screenplay Titles $250. All screenplays submitted by Aug 1 are eligible for our Best Title contest!

One writer will be awarded a live, staged reading with professional local actors at Screenplay Live in Rochester, New York, as part of the 360|365 George Eastman House Film Festival. The prize includes travel, hotel and a $250 stipend.

Official Deadlines
Early Bird: August 1, 2011 (Best Screenplay Title Contest)
Regular: October 15th, 2011 ($60 entry fee)
Final: November 15th, 2011 ($65 entry fee)


Founded in 1998 by screenwriter Gordy Hoffman, the BlueCat Screenwriting Competition continues to evolve as it enters its second decade. With an open exchange of feedback with the screenwriter, BlueCat has developed into a large community of writers passionately committed to writing original, unforgettable work.

BlueCat Screenplay Competition