After meeting on the Riviera, a demure young woman (Fontaine) marries a wealthy widower, Maxim de Winter (Olivier), and returns to his sprawling English manor at Manderley. But Maxim's longtime housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Anderson) instantly regards her with undisguised hostility, referring reverentially to the deceased Rebecca De Winter, whose death is veiled in secrecy. Bit by bit, the second wife uncovers the shocking truth about her predecessor...
Produced by David O. Selznick, who took home the Oscar for Best Picture, Hitchcock's divinely creepy domestic mystery was Hitch's maiden outing in Hollywood. And he couldn't have asked for a better cast: Fontaine is exquisite as the innocent bride who narrates the film; Olivier is masterful playing the urbane master of the house, who carries a nasty secret; and Anderson has the choicest turn as the sadistic Mrs. Danvers, who has it in for timid Joan. To top it all off, George Barnes's expressive black-and-white camerawork marries beautifully with Hitchcock's pungent atmosphere of psychological menace. Among the master's finest works, "Rebecca" remains "must-see" viewing.