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.
Donald Richie Uncovers the Traces of a Lost Japan
In collaboration with director Lucille Carra, the renowned writer brought his impressionistic travelogue The Inland Sea—an unusual choice for a film adaptation—to the big screen.
A Palette That Sizzles On-Screen
Filmmaker Darnell Martin and writer Nelson George discuss how vividly Do the Right Thing captures the heat of a Brooklyn summer and the diverse skin tones of its cast of color.
A Genius of French Cinema Delivers a Career-Defining Performance
Raimu is at his subtle best in one of the most moving scenes in The Baker’s Wife, a moment in which the actor channels the collective despair of France’s working class.