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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - February, 2012

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"Rebecca" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Heinonen

movie-february-2012-rebecca

Synopsis

While serving as a paid companion for the wealthy Edythe Van Hoppe in Monte Carlo, our main character (unnamed) meets the recently widowed Maxim de Winter.  Right before our narrator has to leave, Mr. de Winter proposes to her and they return to his estate, Manderley.  As she is introduced to the staff, the head housemaid Mrs. Danvers treats her coldly.  As she tries to find out more, she discovers that Mrs. Danvers was very close to his previous wife, Rebecca, who drowned last year in a boating accident.  As Mrs. de Winter continues to try to fit in at the estate and make Mr. de Winter happy, her relationship with Mrs. Danvers grows more and more strained and combative, as she tries to understand just who Rebecca was.

Specifications

  • MGM
  • 1940, B&W, Not Rated, 2 Hours 11 Minutes
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Codec: AVC
  • 1080p
  • English Mono DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine
  • Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

I’ve only seen the later, and more famous, Hitchcock works in my life, and was happy to see one of his earlier works.  I wound up being a bit disappointed as Rebecca did build up suspense, but it moved along very slowly in comparison to other films.  The acting was very good overall, and the plot was good, but I wound up surprised that this won Best Picture back in 1940 at the end.

Technical

Rebecca is pretty old but MGM does a nice job overall with the image transfer.  There is some damage here and there, and some shots are pretty soft as well, but overall the image is very nice for the age.  Not as good as some of the titles from the area that were given more extensive restorations, but good overall.

The soundtrack was a little bit more hit-and-miss than the video was.  Early on I found the soundtrack to be very thin and scratchy, and really pretty harsh to my ears.  Later on the quality improved quite a bit and the harshness was gone.  Some bits of dialogue were too low, with one scene early in the car where a voice starts out too quiet to hear and then rises up to a normal level during a sentence.  Overall, not bad considering the age of the materials.

Extras

There is a commentary track, multiple featurettes, the original trailer, screen tests, and interviews with Hitchcock.