Rebecca [Blu-Ray] Alfred Hitchcock

Rebecca [Blu-Ray] Alfred Hitchcock
As pointed out in the half-hour "making of" supplement included with the cleaned-up, HD, somewhat redundant Blu-Ray release of Hitchcock's Best Picture winner, Rebecca, this was the auteur's North American cinematic debut. Paired with Producer David O. Selznick (the "O" doesn't actually stand for anything, which should give you an idea of his personality type), a man known for interfering with and controlling his productions, such as Gone with the Wind, the production was a gruelling and frustrating process for both parties, given the contrasting specificity of their individual visions. Selznick was keen on adapting every page of Daphne Du Maurier's source novel to screen in a rather literal, thematically nonspecific manner, which was essentially the opposite of Hitchcock's subjective, deconstructive interpretation, conscious that film and literature are entirely different mediums. Fortunately, Hitchcock hung in there and managed to make one of his more fascinating and quietly subversive films about aberrant romance, individual identity as a composite of past signifiers and the psychological complications involved in starting anew after a death implies an end. In broad terms, Rebecca is about wealthy widower Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier) remarrying the meek and diffident Mrs. de Winter (Joan Fontaine) – left unnamed to exacerbate the ghostly trajectory of her replacing a dead, presumably perfect woman – only to run into complications when she starts to feel the pressures of living in a different class system under the cloud of another female. In implied terms, this psychological drama drums up anxieties about the nature of remarriage and bridging class systems, also touching upon such perversions as Sapphic romance – caretaker Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) is far too preoccupied with the late Mrs. de Winter's lingerie and undergarments – and incest. Although said incest is considered more taboo currently than it would have been in 1940 when this movie was made, seeing as it involved cousins in high society. To this day, the discomforting characters inhabiting the periphery, framed with such an eerie and unsettling sensibility, proves effective in a suspenseful, disquieting capacity. This is something pointed out in the extremely dry and pedantic commentary track from film critic Richard Schickel, along with excess minutiae and anecdotes about the time period. Also included with the Blu-Ray are some screen tests, radio plays and an audio interview with Hitchcock. (Fox)