Rebecca, Hitchcock’s 1940 adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s Novel is a gothic tale of romance, jealousy, social insecurity and dark secrets. The plot probably needs no introduction, but for the uninitiated: a nervous young woman meets and marries a wealthy older man she meets in the south of France. Traveling home with him to his ancestral home, she finds it difficult to adjust to the upper class lifestyle. She finds herself haunted by the spectre of the first wife who drowned at sea only a year previously. In particular she is intimidated by the stern house keeper, Mrs Danvers, who was devoted to Rebecca, the first wife, and deeply resents any attempt to displace her presence in the house.
This is a supreme example of Hitchcock’s ability to create and maintain a tense and disturbing atmosphere. A feeling of malevolence hangs over the film from the very first dreamlike images and is only dispelled at the fiery end. A personal favourite!