AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Director: Alfred Hitchcock (Dir)
Release Date:   12 Apr 1940
Duration (in mins):  127 or 130
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Cast: Laurence Olivier  (Maxim de Winter)
  Joan Fontaine  (Mrs. de Winter)
  George Sanders  (Jack Favell)

Summary: Maxim de Winter, who is in Monte Carlo to forget the drowning death of his wife Rebecca, meets the demure paid companion of matronly socialite Edythe Van Hopper and begins to court her. The girl falls in love with Maxim and happily accepts when he asks her to be his wife. The bride's happiness comes to an abrupt end when Maxim takes her to his grand seaside estate, Manderley. There she is tormented by the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who continually reminds the young bride of the great beauty and elegance of the first Mrs. de Winter and undermines her attempts to assert herself in the household. One night shortly after her arrival, a boat is wrecked off shore, and during the rescue attempt, another submerged boat is found in which the body of Rebecca is trapped. Maxim then confesses to his insecure wife the true story of his miserable marriage to Rebecca: After only four days of marriage, Rebecca began flaunting her infidelities. For the family's honor, Maxim continued his marriage, with Rebecca playing the great lady, until she informed her husband that she was to become a mother and he was not the father. Angered, Maxim struck Rebecca and she fell, hitting her head on a ship's tackle. He then placed her body in a boat and sunk it. When a new inquest is held into Rebecca's death, things look dim for Maxim until Rebecca's London doctor testifies to the authorities that she was dying of cancer and was contemplating suicide. Maxim is then free to begin life anew with his now blossoming bride. However, Mrs. Danvers is unable to relinquish her beloved Manderley to the new Mrs. de Winter and sets fire to the house and perishes. 

Distribution Company: United Artists Corp.
Production Company: Selznick International Pictures, Inc.
Director: Alfred Hitchcock (Dir)
  Ross Lederman (2d unit dir)
  Ed Bernoudy (Asst dir)
  Eric Stacey (Asst dir)
Producer: David O. Selznick (Prod)
Writer: Robert E. Sherwood (Scr)
  Joan Harrison (Scr)
  Barbara Keon (Scenario asst)
  Philip MacDonald (Adpt)
  Michael Hogan (Adpt)

Subject Major: Brides
Subject Minor: Accidental death
  London (England)
  Monte Carlo (Monaco)

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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