Trivia / Rebecca

  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Enforced Method Acting: Laurence Olivier treated Joan Fontaine horribly. Realising the potential in this, Alfred Hitchcock told her that everyone on set hated her - resulting in a natural shy and uneasy performance from her.
  • Executive Meddling: Alfred Hitchcock was an unproven talent in the US (this was his first American film) so producer David O. Selznick granted him much less creative freedom than he had been granted in his previous British films. The film is noticeably darker than his previous efforts as a result, as Selznick insisted on keeping to the novel's gothic atmosphere and avoiding many of the touches of humour Hitchcock wanted to include.
  • The Red Stapler: Sort of. After the success of the movie in Spain, the jackets Joan Fontaine wears were known as 'rebecas'. They're still called that to this day.
  • Troubled Production: Production started five days after World War II broke out, causing lots of problems with the mostly British cast and crew. Alfred Hitchcock's perfectionism slowed production down, to the point where he refused to allow lights to be set up during camera rehearsals - because he found the noise distracting. Within two weeks, the film was behind schedule. Stagehands went on strike during filming and Joan Fontaine suffered a nasty flu. The film ended up going $500,000 over budget.
  • Wag the Director: A weird case in which the director had to Wag the Producer: Alfred Hitchcock had to resort to some tricky measures to get around producer David O. Selznick's creative demands. Among others, he edited "in-camera" — shooting only the scenes he wanted to include in the final cut so that Selznick couldn't recut the film if he didn't like it. This is why, for example, the film does not end with a giant "R" appearing out of the smoke from the burning Manderley, as Selznick originally envisioned.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Early drafts of the script named the heroine Daphne (as in Daphne du Maurier). This was the heroine's name in the early drafts of the novel too.
    • Laurence Olivier lobbied hard for his then-girlfriend Vivien Leigh to be cast as the lead, but Alfred Hitchcock and David O'Selzneck thought she was too glamorous for the part. Likewise Olivia de Havilland was a strong contender too. Leigh later played the part alongside Olivier in a 1950 radio adaptation. Maureen O'Hara claimed in her autobiography that she was the first choice.