For his Hollywood debut, a chilling adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s novel Rebecca, Alfred Hitchcock made full use of his newfound access to big-studio resources. With a keen eye for detail developed during his stint as an art director in England in the 1920s, Hitchcock blended opulent production design, dreamlike cinematography, and a wealth of innovative special effects, crafting a gothic setting that stands among the most unsettling visions in his entire filmography. This elegant psychodrama takes place at a baroque ancestral mansion called Manderley, the haunted home of a wealthy man (Laurence Olivier) and the young woman he has recently married (Joan Fontaine). Hitchcock conjured the look of this lavish estate on studio sets, using a combination of miniatures and matte paintings that create a sense of scale, texture, and mood. For a supplement on our new edition of the film, Oscar-winning visual effects artist and film historian Craig Barron (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) offered his insights on the effects techniques used throughout the film. Watch the excerpt below for a close look at the construction of Manderlay and the meticulous work that went into executing one of the film’s most dramatic moments.
John Bailey Breaks Down a Tour de Force of Gothic Lighting
The veteran cinematographer takes a close look at the highly stylized and atmospheric lighting in one of the most pivotal scenes in pre-Code classic The Story of Temple Drake.
All About Mankiewicz
One of the most celebrated Hollywood writer-directors of his time, Joseph L. Mankiewicz offers a window into the way he sees his characters in this illuminating clip from an archival interview.
Charisma to Burn: Béatrice Dalle’s Incandescent Debut in Betty Blue
The young French actor didn’t require much direction for her first screen role. As the film’s director and cinematographer recall, she quickly proved herself to be a born star.
How Paweł Pawlikowski Reimagined His Parents’ Fiery Romance for the Big Screen
As the director explains to filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the love story at the heart of the Oscar-nominated drama Cold War has its roots in his own family history.