Atmosphere of Fear and Tension in Rebecca

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Atmosphere of Fear and Tension in Rebecca

Shy ladies' companion is staying in Monte Carlo with her stuffy

employer when she meets the wealthy George Fortescu Maximillian

'Maxim' de Winter. Max is still troubled over the death of his first

wife Rebecca, who was killed in a boating accident the year before.

She and Max fall in love and get married. They return to Manderley,

his large country estate in Cornwall. The second Mrs. De Winter meets

the housekeeper Mrs. Danvers and discovers that Rebecca still has a

strange hold on Manderley. The second Mrs. De Winter wants it change

this; she wants to hold her own masquerade ball to introduce herself.

Maxim appears in a hallway, she joyfully rushes into his arms, and

then asks his permission to hold her own fancy dress costume ball to

lighten up the atmosphere.

"I'll design a costume all by myself and give you the surprise of your


While sketching various costume ideas for the ball, Mrs. Danvers

suggest that Mrs. De Winter find inspiration from the large family

painting in the hall at the top of the stairs, a portrait of Lady

Caroline de Winter (one of Maxim's ancestors), dressed in a white

ruffled dress:

"I hear Mr. De Winter say that this is his favorite of all the


Unknowingly, the heroine is planning to be dressed up like Rebecca

once was.

She glides down the great staircase to the ballroom, smiling proudly

and radiantly dressed in an exact copy of the lavish white gown. After

she greets him, he turns round and does not seem very impressed with

the dress - but appalled and angry at her for wearing the same kind of

dress worn by Rebecca at the p...

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...ers watches the girl's every move, making sure she doesn't loose

eye contact with her, having her stare at her all the time makes it

scary, bringing tension and fear. Hitchcock keeps her vulnerable

whilst Danvers hypnotizes her into a 'little nightmare'. Danvers is

nearly there, the audience knows it and so does Anderson. She has

nearly got her into her trap. The picture is still a two shot of them

both. Mrs. Danvers is wide eyed as she watches and waits for the girl

to make her move, she moves away and backs off from the girl to give

her room to jump. Music changes yet again, suspense builds, shadows

flicker. Then suddenly she snaps out of it, and in the distance are

loud explosions of flares being let off. There is a final

disappointment on Danver's face. It finishes off with a long shot of

Danvers, silent and still.

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