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Rebecca (1940), starring Sir Lawrence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, directed by Alfred Hitchcock
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Rebecca (1940), starring Sir Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Synopsis of Rebecca

Rebecca – A British gentleman’s innocent bride grapples with intrusive reminders of his deceased wife.

Editorial review of Rebecca courtesy of

In Monte Carlo, Max de Winter (Laurence Olivier) stops to speak to Mrs. Edythe Van Hopper (Florence Bates) only after recognizing her companion (Joan Fontaine), the girl he had encountered earlier.  From "Rebecca"

Buy from Amazon Rebecca tells the story of a young ‘companion’ who, while accompanying her employer on vacation in Monte Carlo, meets the wealthy widower, Maxim de Winter. After a brief courtship, the young girl and Maxim are married and return to his home in England. All of the servants at Manderly, especially Mrs. Danvers, seem to be constantly comparing the new Mrs. de Winter to Rebecca, the deceased former wife of Mr. de Winter.

Lawrence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, the happily married couple in "Rebecca"

As time goes by, the young bride becomes more and more distraught over her inability to overcome the ghost of her predecessor. Even Maxim himself seems preoccupied by the memory of Rebecca. It is only after a freak accident that the second Mrs. de Winter learns that her husband truly is obsessed with his former wife, however not in the way she had believed. It turns out that it is only Mrs. Danvers who remembers Rebecca fondly, and that it is she alone who wishes the new bride ill.

Mrs. Danvers taunting the new wife in "Rebecca"

With this newfound knowledge, Mrs. de Winter gains the confidence to truly take control of Manderly. Through the many twists and turns of this labyrinthine tale, true love finds a way to win out over the demons that haunt all who have known, whether they loved or loathed, Rebecca


  • Laurence Olivier (Clash of the Titans) … ‘Maxim’ de Winter. Lord of Mandalay, who truly loves his second wife.
  • Joan Fontaine (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) … Mrs. de Winter
  • George Sanders (The Picture of Dorian Gray) … Jack Favell. Rebecca’s first cousin and lover.
  • Judith Anderson (Cinderfella, Laura) … Mrs. Danvers. Housekeeper, and the first Mrs. de Winter’s confidante. The only person to remember her fondly.
  • Nigel Bruce (The Hound of the Baskervilles) … Major Giles Lacy. Beatrice’s husband, Maxim’s brother-in-law.
  • Reginald Denny (Cat Ballou) … Frank Crawley. Maxim’s estate manager of Manderley . And Maxim’s friend.
  • C. Aubrey Smith (Five Came Back) … Colonel Julyan
  • Gladys Cooper (Separate Tables) … Beatrice Lacy. Maxim’s sister.
  • Florence Bates (The Judge Steps Out) … Mrs. Van Hopper
  • Melville Cooper (The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938) … Coroner at the trial.
  • Leo G. Carroll (Tarantula) … Dr. Baker. Rebecca’s doctor, who knew she was dying of cancer.


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