Rebecca (film)

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Rebecca is a 1940 film about a naive young woman who marries a rich widower, moving to his gigantic mansion, where she finds the memory of the first wife maintaining a grip on her husband and the servants.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Written by Robert E. Sherwood and Joan Harrison, based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier.
The shadow of this woman darkened their love. Taglines
Spoiler warning: Plot, ending, or solution details follow.

2nd Mrs. de Winter

  • Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter for the way was barred to me. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me. The drive wound away in front of me, twisting and turning as it had always done. But as I advanced, I was aware that a change had come upon it. Nature had come into her own again, and little by little had encroached upon the drive with long tenacious fingers, on and on while the poor thread that had once been our drive. And finally, there was Manderley - Manderley - secretive and silent. Time could not mar the perfect symmetry of those walls. Moonlight can play odd tricks upon the fancy, and suddenly it seemed to me that light came from the windows. And then a cloud came upon the moon and hovered an instant like a dark hand before a face. The illusion went with it. I looked upon a desolate shell, with no whisper of a past about its staring walls. We can never go back to Manderley again. That much is certain. But sometimes, in my dreams, I do go back to the strange days of my life which began for me in the south of France...
  • I am Mrs. de Winter now.
  • [to Maxim de Winter] We ought to do something to make people feel that Manderley is just the same as it always was...Oh yes, but I want to, oh please! I've never been to a large party, but I could learn what to do, and I promise you, you wouldn't be ashamed of me...I'll design a costume all by myself and give you the surprise of your life.
  • It's Mrs. Danvers. She's gone mad. She said she'd rather destroy Manderley than see us happy here.

Maxim de Winter

  • There's no need to be frightened, you now. Just be yourself and they'll all adore you. You don't have to worry about the house at all. Mrs. Danvers is the housekeeper - just leave it to her.
  • You know I didn't want you to go there, but you deliberately went...Don't go there again, you hear!...Because I hate the place and if you had my memories, you wouldn't go there or talk about it or even think about it...We should have stayed away. We should never have come back to Manderley. Oh, what a fool I was.
  • [to the 2nd Mrs. de Winter, who is wearing a dress similar to Rebecca's] What the devil do you think you're doing?...Go and take it off. It doesn't matter what you put on. Anything will do. What are you standing there for? Didn't you hear what I said?
  • Favell used to visit her here in this cottage. I found out about it and I warned her that if he came here again I'd shoot them both. One night, when I'd found that she'd come quietly back from London, I thought that Favell was with her. And I knew then, that I couldn't stand this life of filth and deceit any longer. I decided to come down here and have it out with both of them. But she was alone. She was expecting Favell but he hadn't come.
  • She was lying on the divan, a large tray of cigarette stubs beside her. She looked ill, queer. Suddenly she got up, started to walk toward me. 'When I have a child,' she said, 'neither you nor anyone else could ever prove it wasn't yours. You'd like to have an heir, wouldn't you, Max, for your precious Manderley?' Then she started to laugh. 'How funny! How supremely, wonderfully funny! I've been a perfect mother just as I've been the perfect wife! No one will ever know. Now, it ought to give you the thrill of your life, Max, to watch my son grow bigger day by day and to know that when you die, Manderley will be his.' She was face to face with me. One hand in her pocket, the other holding a cigarette. She was smiling: 'Well Max. What are you going to do about it? Aren't you going to kill me?' I suppose I went mad for a moment. I must have struck her. She stood staring at me. She looked almost triumphant. Then she started toward me again, smiling. Suddenly she stumbled and fell. When I looked down, ages afterwards it seemed, she was lying on the floor. She'd struck her head on a heavy piece of ship's tackle. I remember wondering why she was still smiling. Then I realized she was dead.
  • [to the 2nd Mrs. de Winter] I can't forget what it's done to you. I've been thinking of nothing else since it happened. It's gone forever, that funny young, lost look I loved won't ever come back. I killed that when I told you about Rebecca. It's gone. In a few hours, you've grown so much older.
  • That's not the Northern lights. That's Manderley!

Mrs. Edyth Van Hopper

  • By the way, my dear, don't think that I mean to be unkind, but you were just a teeny, weeny bit forward with Mr. de Winter. Your effort to enter the conversation quite embarrassed me and I'm sure it did him. Men loathe that sort of thing. Oh come, don't sulk. After all, I am responsible for your behavior here. Perhaps he didn't notice it. Poor thing. I suppose he just can't get over his wife's death. They say he simply adored her.
  • Oh yes, I know Mr. de Winter well. I knew his wife too. Before she married him, she was the beautiful Rebecca Hindreth, you know. She was drowned, poor dear, when she was sailing near Manderley. He never talks about it, of course, but he's a broken man.
  • So this is what's been happening during my illness! Tennis lessons my foot! I suppose I have to hand it to you for a fast worker. How did you manage it? Still waters certainly run deep. Tell me, have you been doing anything you shouldn't?...But you certainly have your work cut out as Mrs. Sir Manderley. To be perfectly frank with you, my dear, I can't see you doing it. You haven't the experience, you haven't the faintest idea of what it means to be a great lady. Of course, you know why he's marrying you, don't you? You haven't flattered yourself that he's in love with you. The fact is - that empty house got on his nerves to such an extent, he nearly went off his head. He just couldn't go on living alone...Hmmph, Mrs. de Winter! Goodbye, my dear and Good Luck.

Beatrice Lacy

  • [to the 2nd Mrs. de Winter, regarding Mrs. Danvers] Oh, there's no need for you to be frightened of her. But you shouldn't have any more to do with her than you can help...You see, she's bound to be insanely jealous at first, and she must resent you bitterly...Don't you know? Why I should have thought Maxim would have told you. She simply adored Rebecca.
  • [to the 2nd Mrs. de Winter] Oh well, don't go by me. I can see by the way you dress you don't care a hoot how you look.

Mrs. Danvers

  • [to the 2nd Mrs. de Winter] Why don't you go? Why don't you leave Manderley? He doesn't need you. He's got his memories. He doesn't love you - he wants to be alone again with her. You've nothing to stay for. You've nothing to live for really, have you? Look down there. It's easy, isn't it? Why don't you? Why don't you? Go on. Go on. Don't be afraid!

Jack Favell

  • Yes, and we must be careful not to shock Cinderella, mustn't we?
  • Go and question Dr. Baker. He'll tell you why Rebecca went to him, to confirm the fact that she was going to have a child, a sweet, curly-headed little child...She told Max about it. Maxim knew he wasn't the father, so like the gentleman of the old school that he is, he killed her.


2nd Mrs. de Winter: [to man looking out over a cliff, thinking he means to jump] No! Stop!
de Winter: What the devil are you shouting about? Who are you? What are you staring at?
2nd Mrs. de Winter: I'm sorry, I didn't mean to stare, but I, I only thought...
de Winter: Oh, you did, did you? Well, what are you doing here?
2nd Mrs. de Winter: I was only walking.
de Winter: Well, get on with your walking and don't hang about here screaming.

de Winter: [referring to Manderlay] To me, it's just the place where I was born and I've lived in all my life. But now, I don't suppose I shall ever see it again.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Well, we're lucky not to, uh, be home during the bad weather, aren't we? I-I can't ever remember enjoying swimming in England till June, can you? The water's so warm here that I could stay in all day. There's a dangerous undertow and there's a man who drowned here last year. I never have any fear of drowning. Have you?
de Winter: Come, I'll take you home.

2nd Mrs. de Winter: You know, I, I wish there could be an invention that bottled up the memory like perfume and it never faded never got stained. Then whenever I wanted to, I could uncork the bottle and, and live the memory all over again.
de Winter: And what particular moment in your young life would you want to keep?
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Oh, all of them. All these last few days. I-I feel as though I've, I've collected a whole shelf full of bottles.
de Winter: Sometimes, you know, those little bottles contain demons. They have a way of popping out at you, just as you're trying most desperately to forget. Stop biting your nails!
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Oh, I wish I were a woman of thirty-six, dressed in black satin with a string of pearls.
de Winter: [Laughs] You wouldn't be here with me if you were.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Would you please tell me, Mr. de Winter, why you ask me to come out with you? Oh, it's obvious that you want to be kind, but why do you choose me for your charity?
de Winter: [He abruptly stops the car in the middle of the road.] I asked you to come out with me because I wanted your company. You've blotted out the past for me, more than all the bright lights of Monte Carlo. But if you think I just asked you out of kindness or charity, you can leave the car now and find your way home. Go on, open up the door and get out. [The young woman begins crying and he hands her a handkerchief.] Care to blow your nose?
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Thank you.
de Winter: Please don't call me Mr. de Winter. I've a very impressive array of first names, George Fortescu Maximilian, but you needn't bother with them all at once. My family called me Maxim. And another thing, please promise me never to wear black satin or pearls, or to be thirty-six years old.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Yes, Maxim.

2nd Mrs. de Winter: I don't want to go. I shall hate it. I shall be miserable.
de Winter: Which would you prefer? New York or Manderley?
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Oh, please don't joke about it. Mrs. Van Hopper's waiting, and I better say goodbye now.
de Winter: I repeat what I said. Either you go to America with Mrs. Van Hopper or you come home to Manderley with me.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: You mean you want a secretary or something?
de Winter: I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool.

de Winter: My suggestion didn't seem to go at all well. Sorry.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Oh, but you don't understand. It's that I, well, I'm not the sort of person men marry.
de Winter: I don't know what you mean.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: I don't belong in your sort of world, for, for one thing.
de Winter: Well, what is 'my sort of world?'
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Oh well, Manderley, you know what I mean.
de Winter: Well, I'm the best judge of whether you belong there or not. Of course, if you don't love me, that's a different theorem. A fine blow to my conceit, that's all.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Oh, I do love you. I love you most dreadfully. I've been crying all morning because I thought I'd never see you again.
de Winter: Bless you for that. I'll remind you of this one day. You won't believe me. It's a pity you have to grow up.

2nd Mrs. de Winter: What did she use the cottage for?
Crawley: The boat used to be moored near there.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: What boat? What happened to it? Was that the boat she was sailing in, when she was drowned?
Crawley: Yes. It capsized and sank. She was washed overboard.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Wasn't she afraid to go out like that alone?
Crawley: She wasn't afraid of anything.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Where did they find her?
Crawley: Near Edgecoombe, about 40 miles up channel about two months afterwards. Maxim went up to identify her. It was horrible for him.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Yes, it must have been. Mr. Crawley, please don't think me morbidly curious. It isn't that. It's just that I feel at such a disadvantage. All the time, whenever I meet anyone, Maxim's sister or even the servants, I know they're all thinking the same thing. They're all comparing me with her - with Rebecca.
Crawley: You mustn't think that. I can't tell you how glad I am that you married Maxim. It's going to make all the difference to his life. And from my point of view, it's very refreshing to find someone like yourself, who is not entirely in tune, shall we say, with Manderley.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: That's very sweet of you. I dare say, I, I've been stupid, but every day, I, I realize the things that she had that I lack - beauty and wit and intelligence and all the things that are so important.
Crawley: Oh, you have qualities that are just as important, more important if I may say so - kindliness and sincerity, and if you'll forgive me, modesty mean more to a husband than all the wit and beauty in the world. We, none of us, want to live in the past, Maxim least of all. It's up to you, you know, to lead us away from it.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: I promise you I won't bring this up again, but before we end this conversation, would you answer just one more question?
Crawley: If it's something I'm able to answer, I'll do my best.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Tell me, what was Rebecca really like?
Crawley: I suppose, I suppose she was the most beautiful creature I ever saw.

de Winter: Oh hang Mrs. Danvers. Why on earth should you be frightened of her? You behave more like an upstairs maid or something, not like the mistress of the house at all.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Yes, I know I do. But I feel so uncomfortable. I try my best every day, but it's very difficult, with people looking me up and down as if I were a prize cow.
de Winter: Well, what does it matter if they do? You must remember that life at Manderley is the only thing that interests anybody down here.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: What a slap in the eye I must have been to them then. I suppose that's why you married me, cause you knew I was dull and gauche and inexperienced. There would never be any gossip about me.
de Winter: Gossip? What do you mean?
2nd Mrs. de Winter: I-I don't know. I just said it for something to say. Don't look at me like that. Maxim. What's the matter? What have I said?
de Winter: It wasn't a very attractive thing to say, was it?
2nd Mrs. de Winter: No. It was rude, hateful.
de Winter: I wonder if I did a very selfish thing in marrying you.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: What do you mean?
de Winter: I'm not much of a companion to you, am I? You don't get much fun, do you? You ought to have married a boy, someone of your own age.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Maxim, why do you say this? Of course we're companions.
de Winter: Are we? I don't know. I'm very difficult to live with.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: No, you're not difficult, you're easy, very easy. Our marriage is a success, isn't it? A great success? We're happy, aren't we? Terribly happy? If you don't think we are happy, it would be much better if you didn't pretend. I'll go away. Why don't you answer me?
de Winter: How can I answer you when I don't know the answer myself? If you say we're happy, let's leave it at that. Happiness is something I know nothing about.

Mrs. Danvers: You wouldn't think she'd been gone so long, would you? Sometimes, when I walk along the corridor, I fancy I hear her just behind me, like a quick light step. I couldn't mistake it anywhere, not only in this room, but in all the rooms in the house. I can almost hear it now. Do you think the dead come back and watch the living?
2nd Mrs. de Winter: I don't believe it.
Mrs. Danvers: Sometimes, I wonder if she doesn't come back here to Manderley, to watch you and Mr. de Winter together. You look tired. Why don't you stay here and rest, and listen to the sea? It's so soothing. Listen to it. Listen.

Mrs. Danvers: I watched you go down just as I watched her a year ago. Even in the same dress you couldn't compare.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: You knew it. You knew that she wore it. And yet you deliberately stressed that I wear it. Why do you hate me? What have I done to you that you should ever hate me so?
Mrs. Danvers: You tried to take her place. You let him marry you. I've seen his face, his eyes. They're the same as those first weeks after she died. I used to listen to him, walking up and down, up and down, all night long, night after night, thinking of her. Suffering torture because he lost her.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: I don't want to know. I don't want to know.
Mrs. Danvers: You thought you could be Mrs. de Winter. Live in her house. Walk in her steps. Take the things that were hers. But she's too strong for you. You can't fight her. No one ever got the better of her. Never. Never. She was beaten in the end, but it wasn't a man. It wasn't a woman. It was the sea.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Oh, stop it! Stop it! Oh, stop it!

Mrs. de Winter: Maxim, can't we start all over again? I don't ask that you should love me. I won't ask impossible things. I'll be your friend, your companion, I'll be happy with that.
de Winter: You love me very much, don't you? But it's too late, my darling. We've lost our little chance at happiness.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: No, Maxim, no.
de Winter: Yes. It's all over now. The thing has happened, the thing I've dreaded, day after day, night after night.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Maxim, what are you trying to tell me?
de Winter: Rebecca has won. Her shadow has been between us all the time, keeping us from one another. She knew that this would happen.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: What are you saying?

de Winter: I identified it, but I knew it wasn't Rebecca. It was all a lie. I knew where Rebecca's body was! Lying on that cabin floor at the bottom of the sea.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: How did you know, Max?
de Winter: Because I put it there. Will you look into my eyes, and tell me that you love me now? You see, I was right, it's too late.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: No, it's not too late. You're not to say that. I love you more than anything in the world. Oh, please Maxim, kiss me please.
de Winter: No, it's no use. It's too late.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: We can't lose each other now. We must be together always, no secrets, no shadows.

2nd Mrs. de Winter: How could we be close when I knew you were always thinking of Rebecca? How could I even ask you to love me when I knew you loved Rebecca still?
de Winter: What are you talking about? What do you mean?
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Whenever you touched me, I knew you were comparing me with Rebecca. Whenever you looked at me or spoke to me, walked with me in the garden, I knew you were thinking, 'This I did with Rebecca. And this and this.' It's true, isn't it?
de Winter: You thought I loved Rebecca? You thought that? I hated her! Oh, I was carried away by her - enchanted by her, as everyone was. And when I was married, I was told that I was the luckiest man in the world. She was so lovely - so accomplished - so amusing. 'She's got the three things that really matter in a wife,' everyone said: 'breeding, brains, and beauty.' And I believed them - completely. But I never had a moment's happiness with her. She was incapable of love, or tenderness, or decency.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: You didn't love her? You didn't love her?

de Winter: Do you remember that cliff where you first saw me in Monte Carlo?...That was where I found out about her...She stood there laughing, her black hair blowing in the wind and told me all about herself - everything. Things I'll never tell a living soul. I wanted to kill her. It would have been so easy. Remember the precipice. I frightened you, didn't I? You thought I was mad. Perhaps I was. Perhaps I am mad. It wouldn't make for sanity would it, living with the devil. 'I'll make a bargain with you,' she said. 'You'd look rather foolish trying to divorce me now after four days of marriage. So I'll play the part of a devoted wife, mistress of your precious Manderley. I'll make it the most famous showplace in England if you like. Then, people will visit us and envy us, and say we're the luckiest, happiest, couple in the country. What a grand show it will be! What a triumph!' I should never have accepted her dirty bargain but I did. I was younger then and tremendously conscious of the family honor. Family honor. She knew that I'd sacrifice everything rather than stand up in a divorce court and give her away - admit that our marriage was a rotten fraud. You despise me don't you, as I despise myself. You can't understand what my feelings were, can you?
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Of course I can, darling, of course I can.
de Winter: Well, I kept the bargain and so did she, apparently. Oh, she played the game brilliantly. But after a while, she began to grow careless. She took a flat in London and she'd stay away for days at a time. Then, she started to bring her friends down here. I warned her but she shrugged her shoulders. 'What's it got to do with you?' she said. She even started on Frank, poor faithful Frank. Then there was a cousin of hers, a man named Favell.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: Yes, I know him. He came the day you went to London.
de Winter: Why didn't you tell me?
2nd Mrs. de Winter: I didn't like to. I thought it would remind you of Rebecca.
de Winter: Remind me, as if I needed reminding.

2nd Mrs. de Winter: But you didn't kill her. It was an accident!
de Winter: Who would believe me? I lost my head. I just knew I had to do something, anything. I carried her out to the boat. It was very dark. There was no moon. I put her in the cabin. When the boat seemed a safe distance from the shore, I took a spike and drove it again and again through the planking of the hull. I'd opened up the sea cocks and the water began to come in fast. I climbed over into the dinghy and pulled away. I saw the boat heel over and sink. I pulled back into the cove. It started raining.

2nd Mrs. de Winter: Maxim, does anyone else know this?
de Winter: No, no one except you and me.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: We must explain it. It's got to be the body of someone you've never seen before.
de Winter: No, they're bound to know her. Her rings, bracelets she always wore. They'll identify her body. Then, they'll remember the other woman - the other woman buried in the crypt.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: If they found out it was Rebecca, you will simply say you made a mistake about the other body, that the day you went to Edgecoombe, you were ill, you didn't know what you were doing. Rebecca's dead. That's what we've got to remember. Rebecca's dead. She can't speak. She can't bear witness. She can't harm you anymore. We're the only two people in the world that know Maxim, you and I.
de Winter: I told you once that I'd done a very selfish thing in marrying you. I can understand now what I meant. I've loved you, my darling. I shall always love you. But I've known all along that Rebecca would win in the end.
2nd Mrs. de Winter: No, no. She hasn't won. No matter what happens now, she hasn't won.


  • The shadow of this woman darkened their love.
  • The most glamorous woman of all time!
  • A lonely man, a lovely girl... struggling against the secret of Manderley
  • The shadow of a remembered woman came between their lips... but these two had the courage to hope... and to live their love!


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