OK, I was late again. It's a failing; I keep running afoul of Solnick's Law (Public Transit is early if you're late and late if you're early), but my coffee, though decaf these days, still must have milk, and I ran out this morning. Yeah, yeah. So I missed the pre-movie entertainment and the early scenes Fortunately, 1) I've seen this before, and 2) I read more Rebecca-esque novels in my youth than was strictly good for me. Possibly, so had the audience. The audience laughed at every overwrought line, every appearance of Mrs. Danvers, and the Favelle blackmail attempt. If one was not watching the screen, one would swear one had wandered into a comedy.
Have I mentioned that I hate reviews that review the audience? All right.
The seacoast and woods were almost entirely rear projection; in some places this is more obvious than in others. Other than that, the photography was crisp and lit well (of course; it was a movie). The class stuff...was noticeable. (It only starts with the insanely long dinner table; there is also the matter of everyone expecting her to know the arcane rules of the house.) I remember there being fairly broad hints of Rebecca's *ahem* strong appetite for sex in the book (Forever Amber, which was racy for the '40s, came out in '44); this is reduced in the movie to dark declarations 4 days into the first marriage and Mrs. Danvers. There is also the fact that the Second Mrs. de Winter does not have a first name that anyone utters. Unlike Rebecca. Whose death in the book was relatively straightforward and in the movie is sort of um misdirected.
Lord Sir Laurence Olivier was dishy, even though there was always a sense that he was Holding Back. The character, Maxim de Winter, as someone in the movie suggested, could use a light sedative. Joan Fontaine moused around until the scene where she tells Mrs. Danvers "I am Mrs. de Winter now" (and the audience applauded) and then develops a fighting spirit, the better to keep Max from the gallows cold.
In North by Northwest, Hitchcock indicated consummation by a train entering a tunnel. In Rebecca, Max and Nameless, fully dressed, embrace and kiss hungrily before one of those human-high fireplaces--with a fire going.
[ETA: Revised for intelligibility and sense-making. I'd sleep on it, but then I'd forget things like the last-stage-of-the-Kane-marriage-dinner-table. This is perhaps why I did not become a theatre critic.]