Rebecca Returns: Death and Renewal Beyond the Door

Chapter

Abstract

This chapter explores gothic uncertainties in Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock 1940), including the near self-reflexive filming of Maxim’s ‘confession’ concerning Rebecca’s fatal ‘accident.’ These uncertainties cast a shadow of doubt on fairytale structures and on the heroine’s decision to align with her husband. Uncertainties resonate throughout the 1940s ‘Bluebeard’ or ‘persecuted wife’ Hollywood cycle of movies that dwell repeatedly on men who kill their wives, including The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) and Secret Beyond the Door (1947). These films are positioned within a broader historical context. I suggest that in Rebecca, horror is perpetuated by the heroine’s repression and inability to question Maxim’s narrative of events. Rebecca’s haunting return speaks of the threat posed upon generations of women who question patriarchal heritage.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Media and Film StudiesUniversity of WinchesterWinchesterUK

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