Trivia & Fun Facts About REBECCA
In his first treatment of the adaptation, director Alfred Hitchcock gave the novel's nameless narrator a first name, Daphne, named after the book's author.
Selznick's wife, Irene, provided the handwriting for Rebecca de Winter that is discovered among the character's stationery.
When director Alfred Hitchcock realized that assistant director Eric Stacey and script girl Lydia Schiller were reporting directly to Selznick about what happened on the set each day, the director made their lives miserable. With Schiller, he peppered all their meetings with obscenities to the point that she often had to leave the room to regain her composure.
The entire second unit crew that filmed the approach to Manderley in Del Monte, California, had to be hospitalized after they caught poison ivy.
Casting Laurence Olivier in Rebecca gave Selznick a reason to let him accompany Vivien Leigh to the premiere of Gone with the Wind (1939) in Atlanta. Olivier could not have attended as Leigh's lover without creating a scandal, as both were still married to others, but he could attend as the star of Selznick's next picture.
During filming, Joan Fontaine lived out her own version of Rebecca as she learned to run the household of her new husband Brian Aherne and deal with memories and mementoes of his former mistress, actress Claire Eames. She even had her own Mrs. Danvers in the form of a butler who had been with Aherne for years; she eventually won him over to her side.
For one crying scene in Rebecca, Fontaine asked Judith Anderson (Mrs. Danvers) to slap her face before the cameras rolled. When Anderson refused, Fontaine asked Hitchcock, who was all too happy to oblige.
Fontaine missed the Hollywood premiere of Rebecca because she needed surgery to remove an ovarian cyst. Instead, her mother, Lillian de Havilland, accompanied Aherne to the screening. From her hospital bed, Fontaine heard gossip columnist Louella Parson's rave about the film and Fontaine's performance. When Parsons asked the star's mother for her reaction, Mrs. de Havilland said, "Joan may be phony in real life, but she's almost believable on screen" (from Sisters: The Story of Olivia de Havilland & Joan Fontaine by Charles Higham).
Contrary to legend, Selznick did not demand that the smoke from Manderley's burning form a giant "R" over the destroyed mansion.
Rebecca grossed $2.5 million in its first year of release.
Tagline for Rebecca: "The shadow of a remembered woman came between their lips...but these two had the courage to hope...and to live their love!"
Famous Quotes from REBECCA
"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 awhile 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 its own again, and, little by little, had encroached upon the drive with long tenacious fingers. On and on wound the poor thread that had once been our drive, and finally there was Manderley -- Manderley, secretive and silent as it had always been, shining in the moonlight of my dreams..." -- Joan Fontaine, as Mrs. de Winter, delivers the film's opening narration.
"Most girls would give their eyes to see Monte Carlo."
"Wouldn't that rather defeat the purpose?" -- Florence Bates, as Mrs. Van Hopper, complaining about Joan Fontaine, as the future Mrs. de Winter, to Laurence Olivier, as Maxim de Winter.
"I remember when I was younger there was a well-known writer who used to dart down the back way whenever he saw me coming. I suppose he was in love with me and wasn't quite sure of himself." -- Bates, as Mrs. Van Hopper, excusing the sudden departure of Olivier, as Maxim de Winter.
"I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool." -- Olivier, as de Winter.
"I'm not the sort of woman men marry." -- Fontaine, as the future Mrs. de Winter.
"I wish I were a woman of 36, dressed in black satin with a string of pearls!" -- Fontaine.
"I'd like to have your advice on how to live comfortably without working hard." -- George Sanders, as Jack Favell.
"I say, marriage with Max is not exactly a bed of roses, is it?" -- Sanders, as Jack Favell.
"She knew everyone that mattered. Everyone loved her." -- Judith Anderson, as Mrs. Danvers, eulogizing the first Mrs. de Winter.
"Don't you believe the dead can see the living?" -- Anderson, as Mrs. Danvers, "haunting" Fontaine.
"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." -- Anderson, taunting Fontaine.
"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..." -- Anderson, goading Fontaine to commit suicide.
"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." -- Olivier, lamenting Fontaine's new maturity.
"I've a feeling that before the day is over someone is going to make use of that old-fashioned but somehow expressive term 'foul play'." -- Sanders.
"That's not the Northern lights. That's Manderley!" -- Olivier, realizing his home is on fire.
Compiled by Frank Miller