Alfred Hitchcock Didn’t Like His Only Best Picture Winner

The Big Picture

  • Alfred Hitchcock disliked
    , disowning it as “not a Hitchcock picture,” regardless of the movie incomes rave critiques and big field workplace returns.
  • The director clashed with producer David O. Selznick on artistic management all through the making of the movie. Selznick needed the movie to be as shut as doable to the Daphne du Maurier novel upon which it was primarily based, whereas Hitchcock felt cuts had been obligatory so as to help his imaginative and prescient.
  • Despite the success of
    which was Hitchcock’s solely Best Picture-winning movie, the director hardly ever spoke of it and felt it was not his sort of movie.

It’s been greater than 40 years for the reason that famed director, Alfred Hitchcock, handed away. Yet, the grasp of suspense continues to be one of the vital beloved and admired filmmakers in historical past. His movies proceed to be classics, and had been usually field workplace hits for his or her studios, even when stated studios had reservations about Hitchcock’s usually surprising materials. Despite the hits and reward, nevertheless, Hitchcock’s movies had been by no means Oscar darlings. In reality, the director solely acquired one Best Picture award.

Released in March 1940, Rebecca was Hitchcock’s first American movie. The director had been signed by legendary Hollywood producer David O. Selznick to a multi-picture deal, with Rebecca being the primary up. Faithful to the supply materials, the movie acquired rave critiques, a pleasant field workplace return, and, after all, a Best Picture Oscar. There was one downside, although: Hitchcock did not just like the movie. Plagued by the director and producer’s feud and energy struggles, manufacturing on the movie was as fiery as a mansion set aflame by a deranged housekeeper.

David O. Selznick and Alfred Hitchcock Clashed While Making ‘Rebecca’

Advertised because the producer’s successor to Gone With the Wind, David Selznick purchased the rights to Daphne du Maurier‘s Rebecca in 1938, whereas nonetheless engaged with the manufacturing of Wind. The producer had been conscious of Alfred Hitchcock’s work in Europe, and, in accordance with an article from Variety, introduced the director over to Hollywood in 1939. Hitchcock was put below contract with Selznick’s studio, with Rebecca set to be the primary of their collaborations. Per Variety, the 2 males had been totally different in nearly each manner. Called “a notorious control freak” in Variety‘s publication, Selznick was a producer that enjoyed issues executed his manner. Gone With the Wind famously went by three administrators and a number of other writers, with Selznick’s authority being the true artistic management on the set. As Hitchcock was about to study, Rebecca was no totally different.


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Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca was an enormous hit when it was revealed. What begins as a romantic love story between a younger frequent lady (Joan Fontaine) and a wealthy widower named Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier) turns into a homicide thriller that culminates in Maxim’s housekeeper (who obsessively mourns for his first spouse, Rebecca) Mrs. Danvers burning down the dreamlike property of Manderley. As with Gone With the Wind, Selznick needed to remain true to the supply materials, a process that, in accordance with Entertainment Weekly, baffled his collaborators. Hitchcock, nevertheless, had a distinct concept when it got here to adapting du Maurier’s novel.

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According to the documentaryThe Making of Rebecca, Hitchcock was extra interested by adapting the concept of Rebecca. He was not above making the required cuts or adjustments to make it a “Hitchcock” movie. Selznick disagreed. Per the documentary, Selznick needed each scene from the novel on the display. They disagreed on the script at nearly each stage. PBS stated that one in every of their most important disagreements revolved across the movie’s conclusion. As Manderley smoldered, Selznick needed the smoke to type a sweeping “R” within the sky, in reference to the “R” the deceased Rebecca signed on her letters. Hitchcock was displeased with the ending, and was “appalled.” Hitchcock thought the movie ought to finish with a pillow, embroidered with an “R” burning, signifying an finish to Rebecca’s reminiscence. Hitchcock’s imaginative and prescient gained out for the ultimate scene, however even in post-production, Hitchcock was angered by Selznick’s involvement. As he did with Gone With the Wind, Selznick needed management over the movie’s ultimate reduce. Still thought of one in every of Selznick’s best movies, Rebecca would show a success for each males as soon as it was launched, particularly on Oscar evening.

Hitchcock Never Considered ‘Rebecca’ His Film

Rebecca was triumphantly acquired throughout its 1940 launch. After incomes rave critiques and practically 3 times its price range on the field workplace, the movie was nominated for 11 Oscars, together with Best Picture. While it solely gained two, it took residence the evening’s top-prize. Despite this, Hitchcock didn’t win the Oscar for Best Director. Though the movie is fondly remembered as one in every of his greatest, Hitchcock hardly ever spoke of it, and, years later, disowned the movie, saying it was “not a Hitchcock picture.” He commented that the story itself was not his style and was made in step with what Selznick needed. Still, the movie helped kick-start Hitchcock’s profession in Hollywood. He would work once more with Selznick on 1945’s Spellbound, earlier than occurring to the movies for which he’s greatest remembered. As his star continued to rise, he would adapt one other of du Maurier’s tales, when he directed one in every of his most beloved movies, The Birds. His second swing at du Maurier is much extra faraway from the premise materials, adapting the nuance of the piece, equally to his authentic intent with Rebecca.

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Hitchcock and Selznick’s collaboration was removed from clean. Both had very totally different concepts about what the movie ought to be and to whom the manufacturing actually belonged. The movie did win the Best Picture Oscar, the one Hitchcock movie to take action, however the director by no means felt as if it was his sort of movie. However, it did begin his profession in Hollywood, and finally allowed the grasp of suspense to start his reign over the style.

Rebecca is offered to stream on Turner Classic Movies within the U.S.

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