REBECCA (1940)

The Unenthusiastic Critic's 2020 Halloween Movie Marathon continues with a spooky suspense masterpiece, Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940).

First, this week, Michael is getting into the Halloween spirit by planning some romantic outings here in Chicago that he and Nakea can enjoy together. Will Nakea opt for the haunted hotels? The graveyard with the disappearing statues? Or the cemetery turned public park where—in Poltergeist fashion—they moved the headstones, but not the bodies? (Or will Nakea—as seems far more likely—choose divorce?)

Then, we're enjoying Nakea's first viewing of Hitchcock's first American movie, and his only Oscar-winner for Best Picture: Rebecca, starring Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, George Sanders, and Judith Anderson. Based on the classic Daphne du Maurier novel, Rebecca is a ghost story without a ghost, with its unnamed heroine haunted by the presence of her new husband's first wife.

Join us for a discussion about whether Rebecca is a love story, a horror movie, a stealth feminist manifesto, or—as The Unenthusiastic Critic sees it—a cautionary tale about marrying the wrong guy.


00:00: Prologue: from Alfred Hitchcock Presents
00:40: Preliminary Discussion: Haunted Chicago
15:44: Interlude: from Rebecca
16:42: Cultural Osmosis: Pre-Viewing Discussion
22:41: Interlude: Re-Release Trailer
24:18: The Verdict: Post-Viewing Discussion
58:56: Outro and Next Week's Movie

Notes and Links

—Movie Reviewed: Rebecca (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, United Artists, 1940).
—Links and Resources: "We Ain't Afraid of No (Chicago) Ghosts," Katie Klocksin and Logan Jaffe, WBEZ; "The King of Haunted Chicago: Ghosts of the Congress Plaza Hotel," Ursula, Chicago Hauntings; "Inez Clarke, the haunted statue of Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery that lives again whenever there is a thunderstorm," Leo S., Random Times; "10 of Chicago’s most haunted places," Choose Chicago; "The Devil Baby at Hull House," Jane Addams, The Atlantic; "Splendid Film of du Maurier's 'Rebecca,'"Frank Nugent, New York Times; "Sex, jealousy and gender: Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca 80 years on," Olivia Laing, The Guardian; "Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca," Nicola Watson, in The Popular and the Canonical: Debating Twentieth-century Literature 1940–2000; Hitchcock, Selznick, and the End of Hollywood, dir. Michael Epstein, American Masters, 1999.
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—Saint-Saens' "Danse Macabre" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

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