Rebecca is one of my favorite gothic fiction books. Like Frankenstein, I watched the movie first and absolutely adored it. It’s one of my favorite films and one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock films.
I like to kid that Rebecca is Northanger Abbey’s great grandchild as it takes place roughly four generations after Northanger Abbey and has similarities to Austen’s work.
The book starts in the present (1938) with one of the best opening lines: “Last night I dreamed I went to Manderly”. And has our main character, who’s name is unknown, eating with her husband Maxim de Winter.
The fact that we never know the name of our narrator is one of the most fascinating literary mysteries and always makes me wonder, did Du Maurier do that to further have her character be a “shrinking Violet”? To have us mistrust what she says? To help us fully be in the story as how often do you use your own name?
Our main character looks at her husband and while they are pleased in their life they will never be truly happy as so much has been lost. True happiness will never be achieved since Manderly is no more. Like Northanger Abbey, Pemberley, Mansfield Park, etc, Manderly does not just represent a home but also a certain state of who our characters are. And it is no longer. How did that happen…let’s go back…?
We are then taken back to years earlier when our main character was a companion to Mrs. Van Hopper, a wealthy woman who moves around to places the rich and famous go as even though she has money, she is always trying to advance herself somehow by making connections. On one such trip she tries to befriend Maxim de Winter, a wealthy landowner from Cornwall, but he is not interested, he has plans and will be away.
While Mrs. Van Hopper does want to be friends with Maxim de Winter, at the same time she is a little happy he rebuffed her as there are a lot of rumors surrounding him. The number one is that he absolutely loved and adored his wife, still mourning her death.
When Mrs. Van Hopper falls ill our main character (MC) finds herself with time to do whatever she wants, but what does she want to do? Uncertain, our MC goes to lunch early and expects to be alone but spots the handsome Maxim de Winter. She accidentally knocks over her flower vase and spills all the water on the table, with Maxim inviting her over to sit with him.
The two begin spending all their time together, Maxim appreciating her sweetness and innocence; and she absolutely adoring him. Eventually the Main Character is called away to return to America, but Maxim saves her by asking that she marry him. After their honeymoon they go back to his home in Manderly and this is where the gothic drama starts.
When they arrive at Manderly it is a beautiful place but our Main Character feels lost and alone. She has no airs, no country hobbies (shooting, riding, etc), she feels out of place, and everything looks and reminds her of the first wife Rebecca. Not only does the house feel full of Rebecca’s spirit, but the housekeeper Mrs. Danvers loved Rebecca and continues to try and bring down our Main Character’s spirit.
Our Main character tries to find her place but keeps getting emotionally knocked down and around by Mrs. Danvers and others.
But there is more to the story of Rebecca than a beautiful socialite. Rebecca had many secrets and while our Main Character starts to uncover things, she finds the truth that the members of the house might not be able to handle if revealed.
This is a wonderful gothic story that I recommend for Northanger Abbey fans and any gothic fiction lovers.
I have always wondered if Daphne du Maurier wrote this book in response to Northanger Abbey, due to their similarities; such as Northanger Abbey was a response to Don Quixote and the Female Quixote.
Both have a sweet, innocent, gullible, lower income girl who is given a trip to an expensive tourist destination. For Catherine she gets to go with people she likes and care about her to Bath, for the Main Character she is a hired companion to a rude woman and goes to Monte Carlo.
Both ladies meet a very handsome man of which rumors swirl around their family; to them the guy is special and stands out. When they meet this man, they immediately fall for him, being consumed with being with him.
The guy they fall for is older than them and sarcastic.
The scene when the Main Character is being forced to leave and wants to reach Maxim, having incredible anxiety that she will never see him again; is so similar to Catherine’s panic attack when she misses their walking date and is so urgent to apologize and make up with him.
When I first read this book I was in my teens and connected to the main character a lot more, but now being an adult and having been in an abusive marriage, Maxim makes a lot more sense to me and he is the one I relate to. I love how he enjoys the main character’s company as she is so sweet and innocent, how clear he is in what he wants (nothing like his first wife), and even the trauma he’s encountered and how that affects the way he acts.
I love this gothic novel and again recommend it to those who love gothic fiction and Northanger Abbey.
For more Catherine Morland’s Reading List, go to Frankenstein
So one camping trip I was talking to my cousin who worked at Universal Studios about movies. She promised to send me shirt from The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, as I had liked the other The Mummy movies (which she never did. Still upset about that). We then moved to my favorite director Alfred Hitchcock. She had seen his films too and asked about which was my favorite. At the time, it was The Birds, and she told me hers was Rebecca. I hadn’t seen Rebecca yet, so as soon as I could get my hands on a copy, I watched it.
It has Laurence Olivier in it who I just love, and of course is who I consider the original Mr. Darcy.
It also has Joan Fontaine in it who I had loved in The Women and did great in Suspicion. Not to mention one of the creepiest housekeepers (although she’s on par with Milly from Under Capricorn). And of course it has George Sanders, who has one of the best voices-he oozes sarcasm, sophistication, and meanness, I don’t know how else to put it. Most of you will recognize him from All About Eve and the original Shere Khan from The Jungle Book.
So I have been struggling whether to review the movie or the book first, as both perfect for Catherine Morland. She would be all over this book and film. After a lot of deliberation, I decided to do the film as I saw it first.
I wanted this to be the first movie of Horrorfest VIII, but I couldn’t use it as this year I needed to start it off with a 1950s film. So if I can’t start it, then I will end it with this gothic film-an Alfred Hitchcock film that Catherine Morland would go ape over.
So this film has some interesting “drama” behind the scenes.
This is going to get good…
Laurence Olivier was married to Vivian Leigh at the time and really wanted her to be in the film. I’m sure most of you have heard of his high standards from My Week with Marilyn. He did not like Joan Fotaine, which made her nervous and worried-something Alfred Hitchcock loved to capitalize on. Move aside Stanley Kubrick, this is the original.
The film is based on the book by Daphne du Maurier. Both producer David O. Selznick and director Alfred Hitchcock were control freaks liked to be in control of their films-and when I say control I mean every aspect. So there was some serious issues between them. Selznick barred Hitchock from all writing while he banned Selznick from set.
Fight, fight, fight!
This was also the only film by Alfred Hitchcock that won an Oscar.
ONLY ONE? That’s sad!
So this film is rrreeeeeeeaaaaaallllllllyyyyyyyyy different from his other work as it starts off very slow, a romance, but then stuff gets real!
As it’s not like his other works, it’s not for everybody. All though we all know who’d be fangirling over it, that’s right-Catherine Morland.
So the film starts off bright (O’Selznick), then gets dark, gothic, foreboding woods (Hitchcock)
Oh, my favorite! Anything like that gets me excited, my Catherine Morland heart starts pumping.
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly, Oh My Goodness-I love this opening with the language, it grabs you right away.
It is sucking me in!!!!!!!!
It grabs you right away-the secret, solemn, gothic, and foreboding Northanger Abbey Manderly.
So we go back in time to the south of France, a handsome man is about to jump off the cliff, but stopped by a woman. Who is this handsome man? Why he is played by Laurence Olivier.
Our heroine, who’s name is never given but played by Joan Fontaine, is a lady’s companion to an annoying woman, Edith Hopper.
The handsome man comes over and it is Maxim de Winter-Hopper treats our heroine like crap, but he is interested in her youthful beauty and kindness. Hopper tries to grill him, but he manages to move the conversation away from him.
Oh my goodness Mrs. Hopper, she’s AWFUL!!!!!!! Our poor heroine. Hopper dresses her down to remember her place, and to not speak to anyone above her.
It turns out that Mr. de Winter is a widower, gossip shared by Miss Hopper-he was madly in love with his wife and has been despondent ever since.
One morning our heroine was going to eat lunch alone, but Mr. de Winter spots her and invites her to his table. She is so young in spirit-clumsy, awkward, unsure, childlike.
Joan Fontaine is so cute and she has a sad back story in this. Mother died when she was young and she lived with father who died last year. Having no money and no place to live, is now a companion to a horrible women. She is just so kind and sweet and adorable-you feel so bad for her.
Maxim de Winter is handsome, charming, and he is captivated by our heroine’s honesty and naiveté. Maxim is a man who carries weariness in his soul. He takes her out where she planned to sketch.
They talk and she shares how she once went to Cornwall and saw this beautiful house on it, called Manderly. That just happens to be Maxim’s house. He talks about it and you can feel the weight if sadness coming on him.
Joan is so cute just talking on and on, Maxim takes her aback.
Going back to her room the heroine overhears her sick client talking bout Maxim de Winter. She goes on and on about how he was crazy about his beautiful wife. She drowned sailing a few years ago.
As our heroine’s boss is still sick she has free time and goes to have a tennis lesson, but gets interrupted by Maxim who takes her out. Soon everyday they are out together. Her client, Edith Van Hopper, is after Mr. de Winter, and has no clue that her companion is falling in love with him. She tries to get our heroine to stay and keep her occupied while she is sick, but…
Our heroine is so adorable-dreaming, wishing, hopeful. Youth and innocence brimming!
But it is all over too soon. After today the nurse is going and she needs her companion by her side day and night. Our heroine is despondent over this as she doesn’t want her time with Maxim to end.
Maxim is handsome and charming, but something about him isn’t quite right. There is a deep wound to him, but what?
One day they are out and our heroine wants to know why he picked her over the other women, he could have anyone-someone older, sophisticated, classy, etc. He tells her he enjoys her company, but as he says it, he says it a little harsh and our heroine becomes upset, but then he kindly tells her to call him by his first name. And later sends her flowers.
Mrs. Van Hopper receives a letter about her daughter becoming engaged and they must leave for America ASAP. But no, what about Maxim!!! Our heroine tries to reach him, but no avail. This is it. Her fairytale is over. She rushes back to her room to reach him one last time, but doesn’t get a chance. Her boss comes and it is goodbye.
She tries one more time but he’s in the shower. NOOOOO!
But our heroine wont give up. She runs up to his room as a last ditch effort. Maxim is surprised, but our heroine tells him she needed to say goodbye.
Maxim “proposes”. He basically asks her “do you prefer New York or Manderly?” Gosh, these classic English dudes need to earn better proposals.
Maxim trying to figure out where it all went wrong.
She thinks he wants a secretary. That always cracks me up. He tells her, I’m asking you to marry me. Well, you can’t blame her-your proposal sucked! A girl wants romance!
Our heroine is so in shock she falls into a chair. She doesn’t think they should marry as she is too far beneath him. He says I guess you don’t love me, and she spills her heart out. So young, so sweet.
He asks her to pour him coffee, and that he takes it with two lumps of sugar in coffee and tea. This scene reminds me of the film The Clock. These two strangers spend the day together, marry, and then he will be shipped out the next day-and at the end she has to ask him all the little details as they realize they know zero about each other.
I love how Maxim reveals how to Mrs. Van Hopper that they are going to be married. But Mrs. Hopper is such a toad and continues to boss our heroine around, trying to keep her on “her place.” She asks to speak to our heroine alone for a few minutes, and as soon as Maxim is gone she berates our heroine and acts like she is a floozy.
She continues to berate her that she can’t be the mistress of Manderly and she’ll fail as she is no lady. She continues going on saying things like Maxim doesn’t love her, he went crazy after his wife died, and it still looks like he is. This lady!
The two marry in a small ceremony at the courthouse and Maxim is a much different person. Lighter, happy, in love-bright and shining just as our heroine.
They are so cute! But Hitchcock fans all know-it won’t last..
They have their honeymoon and go to Manderly, the place from the beginning. As they head in our heroine has a shiver. All seems bright, but that shiver and the rain-are major clues that unhappiness and coldness lie ahead.
They arrive and our heroine meets the household and Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) the housekeeper from Hell. She is such a creep! Our heroine is so nervous and shy and no match for Mrs. Danvers who acts as if she is the wife and our heroine is a servant.
And one is Mrs. Danvers
Maxim had them moved to the East Wing, not the West where he used to live with Rebecca. Our heroine is so nice and tries to work things out with Mrs. Danvers, but she’s a cold stone hearted woman. Ugh.
This house is so beautiful, but so empty, cold and creepy. Our heroine goes to check out the West Wing where he lived with Rebecca but it is locked and forbidden.
Whenever I watch this film it reminds me of The Tomb of Ligeia, with the creepy dead wife, handsome husband who has been all alone in a creepy house. Thinking of that also makes me think of Jane Eyre. Geez-classic English literature is full of handsome rich men with creepy first wives.
The next day our heroine meets Crawley the manager of the estates. Maxim and Crawley leave her to go about their business and casually drops that his sister and husband are coming to visit. With that news our heroine is lost and nervous as what to do-like a child almost. Like DUDE!!!!!
This is how I always imagined Cinderella or other characters that marry someone super wealthy must feel like the next day when they are like this is not at all what I’m used to. I typically am serving others how do I get used to being served?
She’s lost and confused in the house and everyone is looking down on her as she knows nothing while the first Mrs. de Winter was such a lady.
Mrs. Danvers comes to get her approval on lunches, but even though she is asking, the power is all in Mrs. Danvers. She looms over her like she could squash her.
Our heroine is in the morning room to write letters, but she has no one to write to. She looks through Rebecca’s address book and finds addresses for a marquis, a viscount, etc. Another proof of her inadequacy.
She overhears Beatrice, Maxim’s sister, talking about her. Beatrice tells it straight. She lets her know that Mrs. Danvers adored Rebecca too and will probably treat her horrid at first. Ouch, all loved Rebecca.
At dinner the brother-in-law asks lots of questions and is disappointed as our herione doesn’t ride, doesn’t dance, doesn’t sail and isn’t at all like Rebecca. Beatrice makes her feel even more insecure about her hair, her clothes, etc.
Not at all like Rebecca at all. Not sophisticated, not elegant, not fashionable
So everyone hints about what happened to Rebecca, but no one has said the whole thing! My curiosity is going crazy!!
They go out walking with the dog and he wants to go to the cove, but Maxim doesn’t want to. That’s where her boat was held. Maxim doesn’t like to go near her boat. But our heroine follows the dog and finds a cottage with a creepy sailor. The cottage is eerie too, it causes our heroine to go into shock seeing it.
She manages to tie up the dog and tries to look for Maxim who is waiting at the top. He’s upset and angry. But why? What is he upset about?
He doesn’t want her to go in the cottage or go near it. She needs to stay away as it too is forbidden! Maxim regrets coming back to Manderly and he is right, he should have stayed far away.
Our heroine starts to cry and Maxim’s storm passes. He apologizes but it was at this moment I started to think there was more to this story. He doesn’t act like a man who loved his wife and was despondent over her death-in fact he seems angry. But not like despondent over her angry at her death.
Our heroine has so many questions, but Maxim doesn’t want to talk. She helps Crawley with getting some work done and starts probing for answers. Why is the cottage going to squat? Why are Rebecca’s things in there? What happened to her?
Crawley answers that she went sailing and the boat capsized and she drowned. They found her body when it surfaced. Crawley is extremely upset, was he in love with her?
Our heroine apologizes but she needs to know. She needs to know what happened and who she is being constantly compared to.
Crawley tries to reassure her, but no dice. She already was a shy, insecure girl and this has made it much, much worse.
Our heroine tries to be more like Rebecca by buying a black elegant dress and putting her hair up, but Maxim laughs. Seriously! Dude!
They watch their honeymoon film and they were so cute. So happy! But they are interrupted when the Butler addresses Maxim about a household issue. A servant is accused of stealing a china figure that our heroine broke and hid. Maxim is such a man and does not read what the subtext is, and who is the real mistress of the house. He makes her tell Mrs. Danvers. She is so scared of everyone looking down on her. He thinks she should just be mistress if the house, he clearly does not get it.
One of the best scenes is when they are watching the honeymoon film in the dark and the shadows make him see almost crazed and scary-we can only see half of his face.
It reminds me of that whole thing when you only see half a face-one looks evil one looks nice.
But the lights flick on and whatever we saw on his face in the dark is gone. It is just the handsome Maxim. He starts to wonder if they should be together, if he isn’t ruining her life bringing her to Manderly and all its gothic air and soul crushing.
Our poor heroine, she thinks she is at fault, but she doesn’t know where the real trouble lies. There is a dark cloud in Maxim-dark and depressed perfectly contrasted with the bright happy self on the film.
The next day Maxim leaves for London. No you fool don’t leave her alone with Mrs Danvers the maid from hell who hates her!!!!!!!!!
She’s lonely without Maxim, but as she looks out the window she sees a light on the West Wing! But no one uses it…ghost????
She starts to head over there but is interrupted when she hears Mrs. Danvers speaking to a gentleman with a amazing voice- it’s Shere Khan, I mean Mr. Jack Favell (George Sands). Mrs. Danvers is sneaking him in, why?
He is smarmy and sarcastic, making our heroine nervous and skittish. Why is he here? Not for anything good.
He leaves and asks our heroine to not mention him to Maxim. As he leaves he leaves a parting shot that he was Rebecca’s favorite cousin. Why did he come? What are he and Mrs. Danvers planning?
What’s going on?
I just love these camera angles of this giant house dwarfing our heroine. She looks so small and insignificant.
So like Catherine Morland and Belle from Beauty and the Beast she can no longer resist the forbidden wing! She must go in and look at “the room.” It is still in perfect tiptop shape. No dust, nothing out of place as if she stepped away and will be back any moment to take her rightful place. Very Psycho!
Mrs. Danvers interrupts our heroine and is downright cold and cruel showing off how great Rebecca was, her fancy fashionable clothes, her stylish and elegant ways, Lording over our heroine making her feel like crap, like a bug to be squashed. Trying to show how Maxim will never love our heroine.
OUCH, ouch ouch. Some women physically fight, most women fight this way with words and emotions. Every time I see this the scene it is just dreadful to watch, so painful, so hurtful. It’s not like other films-but horrible how each item, each moment in the room cuts our heroine stabbing her psychologically and emotionally. Every word a poisonous arrow full of toxins. Rebecca’s ghost her-soul lives in that house tormenting our heroine.
Mrs. Danvers starts talking about the sea air and I’m totally convinced she’s trying to hypnotize our heroine to kill herself. No doubt.
Our poor heroine is having like a complete breakdown, Rs everywhere, everything Rebecca.
But our heroine has a little but of gumption in her. She orders Mrs. Danvers to get rid of all these things. When Mrs. Danvers questions her, she staunchly tells her I Am Mrs. de Winter–I love it! You go our heroine.
Maxim comes home and she throws herself at him so happy he is home. She wants to throw the annual costume ball to prove to everyone that she can be Mrs. de Winter.
She wants to have a stunning costume to out-Rebecca Rebecca. Mrs. Danvers suggests that she look at her family portraits. Ugh I hate this!!! Why would you trust her???? Mrs. Danvers points out a woman’s portrait and our heroine runs with it. To be honest, I always skip this part as I can’t handle her humiliation. It’s too painful.
I can’t look.
Well things go as expected, it turns out it was a portrait of Rebecca that she copied for her costume.
The night is cut short when a ship runs aground the sand. Everyone wants to help, our heroine getting changed and running out after Maxim
She searches for Maxim and finds Crawley who gives shocking news. A diver going after the ship found another one-Rebecca’s boat! Oh no, any shred of happiness will be lost with the grief that is to come. Or is there to be grief? I’m not convinced.
Our heroine feels drawn to the cottage and finds Maxim hiding there. She thinks Maxim will hate her, but he’s not even thinking about the ball-it feels like years ago since the discovery of the boat.
Our heroine thinks it’s her, that any happiness of marriage is over. He tells her it is too late for them. They have lost their chance of happiness now! The thing he dreaded has happened!
What thing? Rebecca has won? What, what do you mean!!! What are you saying??!!!
Maxim then reveals that he knew the boat was down there. Not only that, but knew that her body was in the boat.
The woman buried in the family crypt was not Rebecca. He identified it but knew it wasn’t Rebecca.
What??? How do you know??
Because he put her there- OMGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD
First time I watched this I was in shock. I suspected not everything was happy, sunshine rainbows between them?!! But he killed her?
Is it wrong that I still like him?
Our heroine tells her that she loves him and it doesn’t matter. She tells him how insecure she was and how she felt every time he compared her to Rebecca and she was always wanting.
But then he drops the biggest bomb ever!!!!
He NEVER LOVEd REBECCA!!!!!!???
I’m sorry, but what????
HE HATED HER! She was beautiful and enchanting. They married-she seemed perfect and accomplished. She had breeding, brains, and beauty. But then after the wedding he discovered she neither loved him, cared about him, wasn’t moral or faithful, etc. On their honeymoon he discovered the beast he married. I know what that is like…that described my own marriage.
She played the part so well, he would look the fool to divorce her-I know how that feels too. Thank goodness I got over that. Poor guy-he should have gotten an annulment.
Rebecca got involved with many people and hurt many, bring them to her flat in London and cottage by the sea. She spent a ton of time with Favell. Those two are “just” cousins?
One night he was done and went to talk to Rebecca. She looked ill, and told him basically that she was pregnant but it wasn’t his child. They were never together and he would never have a child. Her kid with another man would inherit his home and money and grow and continue the de Winter line. She continued to pick at him and he struck her. She smiled, tripped, and fell knocking herself out. She died.
He didn’t kill her but was afraid no one would believe him and then decided to sink the boat with her body.
Soooooooo even though he shares all that I believe him and feel for him. Especially as I know exactly what that is like.
Maxim is out of it-but our heroine has grown up, She takes control of the situation and supports him and encourages him.
Like I know what he did was bad but I really like him and our heroine and I want them to be together. Is that bad? He’s not really a hero.
Events go into motion and they make Maxim ID the body and question about the other one. No one is upset over it, it happens all the time where the grieving mistake especially a body that has been in the water. Unfortunately there will be another inquest-ugh.
No one thinks any foul play really happened, it is just routine.
Now that we have had this ordeal, our heroine has grown-the youth and innocence is gone- and we have a powerful character who looks to have aged in the last scene, and is in command of herself, powerful, not taking gruff or slight from any servant or person.
Our heroine goes to Maxim to try and get him to control his temper and not fly off the handle at the inquest. She knows they can overcome anything together. Aw, they are so cute together!!! Melodramatic, brooding, adoring, etc. I really like Maxim, and this couple.
They kiss in front of the fire, the flame of their love growing stronger.
Everything is going well at the inquest until the first thing to cause trouble is when the boatyard man inspected the boat and discovered the holes that caused the flooding were made from the inside of the boat. The death was no accident! It was suicide…or Murder!
Mr. de Winter is then to be questioned. He answers sarcastically ad angry-not making friends with the court. He gets badgered and starts losing it, when our heroine faints and stops the proceedings. She’s getting to be cunning! I like her more and more.
They head to the car to have lunch. Aw, I love how Maxim cares for her. Ugh lunch is interrupted by Jack Favell. He and Maxim can’t stand each other and the tension is thick. He steals some of their food and tries to blackmail them.
Bad luck is never ending!
I can’t stand him (although I love his voice and how he pronounces words) Favell reveals that he received a note from Rebecca that will tip the balance from suicide to murder. He tells them he will destroy the letter and drop it all for payment.
Maxim leaves to the nearby inn, getting a private room, so they can talk business. He calls Colonel Julian, in charge of the inquest, and asks him to join them as well. He reveals the blackmailing scheme to the Colonel. They read the letter to Favell, that he and Rebecca were to meet, but the note doesn’t really tip it either way.
She mentions going to the doctor and she had an important thing to tell him. That could be bad or good news. Favell insults our heroine and Maxim gives him a great big wallop. YES!!!
The Colonel questions what is the motive for murder? If Maxim killed her? Favell calls Mrs. Danvers to reveal the motive.
She refuses as she wants to protect Rebecca’s reputation, but when she hears that Maxim might have killed her she reveals the doctor’s name. Favell insists that Rebecca was going to have his child, and that Maxim killed her over it.
Favell leaves, not caring what destruction, embarrassment, hurt, or pain he causes in his path. Our heroine returns home, while maxim stays to hear the end. They go to find the Dr, Dr. Baker and question him. So was she pregnant?!!!
There was no Mrs de Winter he met with. It turns out she used an assumed name. Mr. Baker reveals that the problem for Mrs. de Winter was that she had cancer. Nothing could be done for her but death.
She LIED! No pregnancy! She did that on purpose!!!! She wanted to upset Mr. de Winter! She wanted him to kill her. She was a truly horrible person and I’m glad she is dead.
What a horrible, horrid person.
Favell calls Danvers and tells her what happened.
That’s not good.
Crawly and Maxim drive home, with Maxim speeding like a maniac. Something doesn’t feel right! Something is wrong! But what?!!!
Back at the house our heroine is waiting up for Maxim, but eventually succumbs to sleep. Mrs. Danvers skulks around like the demon she is.
That’s not good.
As they drive up they notice the sky is lit! But it is too early-OMG a FIRE!!!!! Manderly is on fire!!!!!!!
But our heroine?!!! What about her? She’s okay.
No need to guess who did it-Mrs. Danvers the housekeeper from Hell.
We then fade out to the embroidered pillow R burning too. Finally the demon is gone. Rebecca has been destroyed, our characters can find happiness. If you really think about it, that’s some Winchester stuff right there.
So that end another Horrorfest!!! I hope you all enjoyed it!
I hope you all have a fantastic and safe Halloween!
So everyone out there has dated a minimum of one total jerk in their lifetime, some of us more.
Male or female-you have met someone they seem great and wonderful. You begin dating, you get caught into love or extreme like:
Then things go bad, you see them for what they are. Some break up, some try to change them, some get divorced, etc-Angry, upset, wishing it never happened, thinking how could they have gotten involved.
Some people stay-and for a variety of reasons. Maybe they don’t feel they can leave, maybe some are abused and don’t see a way out, some think they can make it work, some want to stay for the kids, there are a thousand reasons and for those who stay and don’t leave-it sucks.
Leading us to today’s topic: Lady Elliot, mother of Elizabeth, Anne, and Mary; and wife of Sir Walter Elliot.
Ugh, this guy!
Poor Lady Elliot-she’s intelligent, logical, sensible, kind and caring-how the heck did she end up with Sir Elliot?
We all know how-as we have all been there at least once. She was young, he was handsome, he seemed great, and she married him, only to find out afterwards that she made a mistake.
It’s funny, but I never realized this before, but Lady Elliot’s story could be a lot of Austen heroines if they had married the other person rather than the one they did. Fanny and Henry, Emma and Frank, Anne and William Elliot, etc. Also like what happens with Mrs. Tilney and General Tilney in Northanger Abbey
But Lady Elliot is one classy lady. She realized that she married wrong, but did her best to do what she could to make the best of her situation, a real Charlotte Lucas.
She concealed his faults, managed the estate, and found a filled life with her friends, children, and other duties; not a happy life but a filled one.
In fact, I really recommend checking out “One Fair Claim” by Christina Morland from Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues. I really thought she captured what happened and how Lady Elliot “saw” Sir Walter one way, only to have her illusions destroyed when she realized what a jerkwad she married.
It is very Rebecca as well. Man I keep referencing it, I need to review it. But which to do first, the book or movie?
Anyways, sorry for that rabbit trail.
Yes, poor Lady Elliot. And then when she passes away she has to leave her children to be raised by that Neanderthal. Thank goodness for her friend, Lady Russell, but more on her later.
You know, I was having a hard time thinking of what movie to open with. What ’60s movie do I like?
Then I stupidly remembered The Birds. Of course!
This movie is one of the best Alfred Hitchcock movies ever. I simply adore this film so much. It has everything that makes up a good film. And I can just watch it over and over again.
So I don’t remember what exactly got me into Alfred Hitchcock, but I became obsessed with his films. I do know how I was introduced to The Birds. It was through Ann M. Martin, author of The Baby-Sitters Club.
I loved the BSC books as a kid and read them all even belonging in the reading club that sent you two books a month and a little newsletter. I don’t remember if the newsletter or a book mentioned it, but I remember reading a note by Ann M. Martin about how she loved the film The Birds and because no one she knew had a VCR they could only watch it when it was on TV. Whenever it aired they would plan a sleepover and watch it with friends.
I can’t stop watching!
I became consumed with the idea of watching it, did and loved it. It was the first Alfred Hitchcock film I ever owned, me ordering it and planning on purchasing one every year on my birthday or Christmas and having the whole collection when I was an adult (did not happen sadly).
Later, a friend of mine. knowing how much I loved it, took me to Bodega Bay so I could see it in person and all the sites used in the film. It was so cool seeing everything and I later took many more trips out there. Here I am with the house that is used as a schoolhouse in the film. I blurred myself out as there are a lot of weirdos on the internet, no offense dear readers.
They also used to have a museum full of things from the movie and marketing/promotional materials, but it always had weird hours, then they closed it, then they had an awesome shop which doubled as a mini museum-but then the person died who owned it and the collection moved. Here I am with an item when they still had it.
Back in 2011, Tippi Hedren actually came out to do a promotional thing at Bodega Bay. I lived near there when I was going to school, but unfortunately I could not go and meet her as I had scheduled a trip home to be with family. However I had truly amazing and awesome friends who went out and stood in line and got her autograph my DVD. I tried to pay them back, but they would not let me know the price if it or let me do so.
So while it was an amazing film done by an amazing director there is a sad twinge to the story as well. Alfred Hitchcock was obsessed with Tippi Hedren and controlled her, he wouldn’t let anyone talk to her-unless they were filming, and just was plan awful to her, abusing her really. She tried to talk to the studio heads but he was such a money maker they refused to do anything. And when she refused him, he blackballed her. Too bad she wasn’t able to have justice. If you would like to know more I really recommend reading Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies by Donald Spoto
So that’s enough background, let’s move on to the review!
The film is based on a book by Daphne Du Maurier, this being the third of her works being published into a film-following Jamaica Inn and Rebecca. However, this story and her story have nothing in common besides birds attacking. And before we discuss the film, let’s watch the trailer.
So the film starts off in San Francisco where we have Melanie Daniels, Tippi Hedren, going into a bird shop to pick up her myna bird.
***little side note Alfred Hitchcock strolls on by***
****Second side note, by the way there is no music track-just bird noises****
*****And can I just say she is wearing a stunning green suit. I love it and wish I owned one just like it, although I have nowhere to wear it to.*****
Melanie notices a lot of birds in the air, thinking it odd, but moving along.
Unfortunately her bird has not arrived yet. The shopkeeper goes to call and she waits along at the desk. In walks the gorgeous Rod Taylor, and Melanie decides the same thing. Pretending to be the shopkeeper so that she can talk to him and put the moves on him.
He wants lovebirds for his sister’s birthday. He can tell she is not a shopkeeper but is trying to embarrass her, asking her questions she has no clue to the answers. When he asks to see a love bird it escapes around the shop causing havoc. And the real shopkeeper comes out to try and catch it. He reveals to Melanie that he knows who she is and has been playing her the whole time. It turns out that she went to court over a broken glass window and he was there too. He’s a lawyer and believed she should have served time for what she did, not gone off scot-free because she is a wealthy woman with a famous father.
She’s offended, but not so that she takes down this handsome man’s license, has a friend of her father run the plate, buys him lovebirds,and tracks down the address of a Mr. Mitch Brenner.
She’s got it bad, and is slightly creepy-but I kind of understand as Rod Taylor is a dreamboat. Who wouldn’t want to run into him again.
She brings the birds to his house and plans to leave them outside with a cheeky note, but his neighbor informs him that Mitch is gone for the weekend to visit his family in Bodega Bay.
A little funny that neighbor knows so much, but hey this is the ’60s. People actually knew their neighbors.
So Melanie drives the curvy winding coast road to Bodega Bay, which I have done plenty of times, and I always thought it was weird that the birds never flap around but just move with the vehicle. They don’t act like normal birds. It has always been my theory that they are the demon seed that start the revolution against people. They are just too quiet and creepy.
This is the only video I could find. There was originally no music
She goes to the post office, which you can visit, so that she can find Mitch’s address. The postmaster shows her the way to go. When you go now everything is compeletly different, but you can still look across the water like she did.
The Tides restaurant still exists, although it has been redone as there was a fire. In fact they were allowed to use it for filming only if the main male character was named after the owner of the Tides, Mitch Brenner. So yes, that is how Rod Taylor’s character got his name.
Melanie asks for the name of Mitch’s sister, but the postmaster doesn’t know. He directs her to the school and the schoolteacher, Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette), to get the actual info. Turns out the name is Cathy.
Annie asks Melanie a few questions about her relationship to Mitch. Hmm, sounds like there is some history there.
Annie Hayworth: Did you drive up from San Francisco by the coast road?
Melanie Daniels: Yes.
Annie Hayworth: Nice drive.
Melanie Daniels: It’s very beautiful.
Annie Hayworth: Is that where you met Mitch?
Melanie Daniels: Yes.
Annie Hayworth: I guess that’s where everyone meets Mitch.
Melanie heads out into a rented boat with the birds. She sneaks up to their house in heels, not an easy feat, goes into the house and drops off the birds.
Now Tippi Hedren may be a beautiful woman but I would be extremely creeped out if someone did that to me. I mean she doesn’t even know him but tracked down not only Mitch’s home address, but boyhood address. A bit creepy and stalkerish.
Mitch, however, is besotted.
As Melanie heads back across the bay, Mitch takes his car to meet her.
******Can I stop and go on a slight sidebar here? Feel free to skip over if you wish. I just love Rod Taylor in that white sweater. I don’t know what it is but he is extra dreamy.
Drooling is over back to the movie*******
So Melanie gets dive-bombed by a gull, and pretty badly hurt and bleeding. Head wounds are the worst. Here is were I guess it starts, the first shot in the revolution.
******Side note: The man who asks Mitch what happened, is the real Mitch Brenner.*******
Back to the film. They go into the resturant where Mitch tends to her wounds. She questions him, wile he tries to get to why she came. Melanie tries to play off her stalkerish by saying it was on the way to visit Annie, the schoolteacher, but Mitch knows that its a lie, therefore confirming to us that there is something between Annie and him, or was.
Melanie tries to play it cool, but she can’t hide the fact she had the serious hots for him. Come on Melanie, you tracked him down-don’t try to be haughty.
Mitch’s mom Lydia comes in and is introduced to Melanie. Lydia is the original ice queen and horror future-mother-in-law. Ouch. And Jessica Tandy is a great actress, one line “Oh I see”, packed with serious weight. Let the games begin.
Melanie is trying to head home but get tricked into coming to dinner as “she was staying the weekend” and won’t give up her lie. A girl has her pride after all.
She goes to Annie’s and wheedles staying there for the night. She tells Annie that she didn’t plan on staying long, which Annie replies she knows. That’s weighty right there, she knows as she didn’t plan on staying long either.
Melanie goes to dinner and meets cute little Cathy-friendly, cheery, adorable child. They mention that there is something wring with the chickens, They don’t like the feed…maybe because they are craving something else…like human flesh!
When Lydia calls her supplier it turns out her chickens aren’t the only ones on hunger strike. She agrees to see the farmer tomorrow to see if something is wrong with the chickens. And there is!
I love how Alfred Hitchcock plays the foreground and background against each other, both parts having things happen that go with the story, important, tension building, and just plan good.
We also found out that law and order Mitch is a defense attorney for “hoodlums and criminals”, interesting. Definitely a deep character.
Wow, there is more to him than I thought.
Cathy invites Melanie to her birthday party the next day, while in the kitchen Mitch and his mom start talking. They have a slight weird relationship as in someways his mom speaks to him as a child and in others their relationship is more spousal. Not that anything incestuous is going on, but as if that is the role that his mother put him in after his dad died.
We find out that there is a lot of interesting things in Melanie’s life. She jumps into fountains naked, tours Europe, and is always in the papers. A 1960s Sabrina van der Woodsen Debutante thats always doing something.
Mitch roots out the truth from Melanie about Annie, and starts goading her about her past misadventures, but Melanie isn’t having any of it. Good looks can only carry you so far Mitch.
Mitch Brenner: What about the letter you wrote me, is that a lie, too?
Melanie Daniels: No, I wrote the letter.
Mitch Brenner: Well what did it say?
Melanie Daniels: It said ‘Dear Mister Brenner, I think you need these lovebirds after all. They may help your personality.’
Mitch Brenner: But you tore it up?
Melanie Daniels: Yes.
Mitch Brenner: Why?
Melanie Daniels: Because it seemed stupid and foolish.
Mitch Brenner: Like jumping into a fountain in Rome?
Melanie Daniels: I told you what happened!
Mitch Brenner: You don’t expect me to believe that, do you?
Melanie Daniels: Oh, I don’t give a d*** what you believe!
Mitch Brenner: I’d still like to see you.
Melanie Daniels: Why?
Mitch Brenner: I think it might be fun.
Melanie Daniels: Well it might have been good enough in Rome, but it’s not good enough now.
Mitch Brenner: It is for me.
Melanie Daniels: Well not for me!
Mitch Brenner: What do you want?
Melanie Daniels: I thought you knew! I want to go through life jumping into fountains naked, good night!
We see the creepy birds watching from phone lines, congregating at the barn-waiting for the call to strike.
Not gulls but you understand the feeling.
Back at the house Annie and Melanie have brandy and Annie tells her her story and what happened. She met Mitch in college and fell in love, followed him here but Lydia got in the way. She kept them apart. She doesn’t want a daughter-in-law, she just wants her children. Annie didn’t want to lose him and stayed out here.
Then Mitch calls his ex-girlfriend for his new one. Ouch!
Melanie is apologized to and invited to the birthday party agreeing to come.
Both Annie and Melanie are surprised when a bird crashes into their door.
At the party Mitch takes Melanie off to the side with alcohol. She wants to head home as she has work. On Mondays and Wednesdays she works at the airport, on Tuesdays she takes classes, on Thursdays she has her club and lunches supporting a child through school, etc. Normal society things. Appears there is more depth to this party girl. Hmm…I wonder if the creators of Gossip Girl have ever watched this.
Mitch makes a joke about a mother’s care ad it turns out she has serious mother issues. Her mother abandoned them at age 11. A theme of mother’s issues is nothing new to Alfred Hitchcock as he himself had a ton and used the theme in many films, the most famous being Psycho.
At the party they are playing a game when the gulls show up and start attacking all the kids. Dive bombing and scratching. They try to help shoo them away and get everyone into the house.
Mitch is worried for Melanie ands invites her to stay the night there to be safe. And seriously, I think it is the love birds. Even with the cloth over them that should put them to bed as it is “night” they still squabble like crazy stopping only, when Cathy remarks on them. And just after, tons of sparrows come down the chimney attacking them. All cower in fear while Mitch tries to fight them off. Melanie moves Lydia and Cathy out of the room, to safety. After the attack and birds are gone they call the police, but there is nothing they can do about it.
The next morning, Lydia takes Cathy to school and then heads out to question the farmer about the chickens being sick. Lydia goes in looking for him and instead sees broken teacups, just like how hers were destroyed by the bird attack. The rooms are quiet and face the same destruction as hers and then she sees it!
Him, the dead birds, his eyes!
So freaky the first time I saw it. Oh, and still remains a scene that terrifies most.
Traumatizing children for all time.
Lydia races home and leans on Mitch, telling him what happened. Mitch heads over to the police that are called when he and Melanie have some very tender intimate moments. Relationships speed up when danger mars your every moment.
Lydia is worried over Cathy, with the large windows at school and the broken ones at the dead body looming in her mind. We see another side of Lydia as well, more vulnerable, worried-maybe Mitch comes home not just to help his mom but because without his aid they would loose the land. Hmm…thats one thing I love about this film, on the surface it is one thing but there are many sides to all these characters.
Lydia asks Melanie to pick up Cathy as she is very worried about her and Melanie heads out right away. Melanie goes to the school, but decides to wait a bit until recess. The kids are singing and she stays outside when we have this amazing scene.
Melanie runs in and warns Annie about the jungle gym. Annie tells them they are conducting a fire drill as not to scare them and directs them to run to different places. Of course the birds attack. Poor kids.
Melanie ends up in the diner calling her newspaper mogul father and telling him the story of what happened, All listening to every word she is telling her father.
We are introduced to Mrs. Bundy (BUNDY AHH) who is an ornithologist and for the birds, Giving us some serious information on the birds.
Traveling Salesman: Gulls are scavengers, anyway. Most birds are. Get yourselves guns and wipe them off the face of the earth!
Mrs. Bundy: That would hardly be possible.
Deke Carter: Why not, Mrs. Bundy?
Mrs. Bundy: Because there are 8,650 species of birds in the world today, Mr. Carter. It is estimated that 5,750,000,000 birds live in the United States alone. The five continents of the world…
Traveling Salesman: Kill ’em all. Get rid of the messy animals.
Mrs. Bundy:…probably contain more than 100,000,000,000 birds!
We get a bit of debate as a Captain interjects that he also hates birds and wishes they were all gone, them having attacked one of his ship captains. Melanie states that the birds are killers after the kids. Everyone keeps talking down to Melanie as she tries to tell them that it wasn’t just a few but a ton and a series of different kinds.
Mitch shows up asking for Kathy, who is at Annies. Just as they argue the birds attack again. Mitch tells Melanie to stay behind as they take out a guy pumping gas causing it to flow over the ground. An unsuspecting smoker sets it off and boom.
This causes a big sign that the other birds can see and they all come in swarming. The pyre’s have been lit.
I’m in shock
All go out of the restaurant (Why? Don’t know) and we have the famous telephone scene.
They actually have a telephone booth and Tippi Hedren mannequin at one of the shops there and you can get a picture with it.
Mitch gets her out and they head back to the restaurant. Hiding with others. Mrs. Bundy, I notice you are quiet. Not talking down at her anymore are you?
One of them is hysterical, blaming Melanie. In a way I believe she is right. Although it isn’t Melanie, but those love birds.
Mitch and Melanie run to the schoolhouse to get Cathy finding Annie’s dead body.
Cathy is safely inside, but utterly traumatized. Mitch carries Annie inside and covers her with his coat. Then the three speed off to the Brenner house.
At the Brenner home, Mitch patches up the openings, prepping the house for an attack. He notices that there appears to be a pattern. They attack, disburse, regroup, attack again. Why?
Melanie tries to contact her father but the lines are cut. The birds isolating them and making it unable for them to reach anyone or get even local radio.
Lydia starts to freak out wanting answers, the tension exploding. All are succumbing to it.
Cathy wants the love birds with her, NOOOO nor those evil things. Even now they are probably plotting.
Now they wait, trapped. Kathy gets so anxious she makes herself sick. Then they wait again. Hearing them, being taunted by them.
We have the first attack of gulls breaking windows and trying to peck through the door. Mitch being the one to take action and stop them. Then Melanie goes up to the attic.
Poor Melanie. they tend to her, but she is banged up. This scene was horrible to film. Seven days of birds being thrown at her, again and again.
Mitch uses this time of quiet to plan an escape. Melanie needs a hospital, so he and Cathy start getting things ready, not knowing what will face in the outside world or if they will be able to ever come back.
I like how Hitchcock ends the film with us not knowing if they make it out okay. We never know if everything will go back to normal. What or who caused this? I think it makes the film stronger and gives you the opportunity to create your own theory from each of his clues. If they had given us an answer, it probably would have been lame no matter what was chosen, we would have found faults. Sometimes it is better just not knowing.
So there we go, believe my theory or create your own. Either way watch the film.
This film changed how I look at birds. I never liked them before and hated them ever since. I’ll never look at another the same way again. Especially when they get in large groups or swarm overhead.
Not gulls but you understand the feeling.
After I showed this film to some friends who had never seen it, a few days later we were shopping at a store. As we are leaving, my one friend looks behind us at the store and goes ashen. She freaks out and tells us to run. As we are I look back and see a ton lined up on the store watching, then deciding to take off. We all ran as fast as we could to the car struggling in, and speeding home. Nothing happened, but a film like this just sticks to you.
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So this kicks off the beginning of Horrorfest VII. I hope you enjoy it and the spooks. thrills, and chills that are to come.
That place – Jamaica Inn. It’s got a bad name. It’s not healthy, that’s why. There’s queer things goes on there.
Alfred Hitchcock, practically everyone knows the King of Suspense.
But while most know the films The Birds; Psycho, Vertigo, etc: a lot of his earlier films are ignored. So while these may not be everyone’s favorite, these are films I love and enjoy.
Jamaica Inn was the last film Alfred Hitchcock made in the U.K., with him moving to the United States after this picture was completed. While it is not considered one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best films, most people hate it even going as far to state it as his worst, I like it so I’m going to review it.
So the film is based on the historical fiction novel of the same name, written by Daphne du Marier (the same woman who wrote The Birds and Rebecca). Both she and Alfred Hitchcock were very displeased with the end result. Now why did this movie have so many problems? Charles Laughton.
Now don’t get me wrong. He is a great actor, I mean look at his filmography. However, as he produced this he was able to call a lot of the shots, therefore not allowing Hitchcock to work his usual magic. Laughton changed the character chosen for him, forced Hitchcock to hire Maureen O’Hara, made Hitchcock reveal a twist earlier than planned, etc. It’s hard when someone usurps the director’s power.
But not everyone knows how to wield it.
Anyways, I’m going to review, because I like it.
Now before we get into the review, let’s have a brief history lesson.
This film takes place in the 1820 and involves a ship wrecking gang. Wrecking was a major economy booster and began as early as the 14th century, ending in the 20th century. Certain areas, such as Cromwell where this film takes place, gangs would cause ships to crash into the rocky shoreline, by either creating false lights or putting out the usual ones.
When the ships crashed, the gangs would then salvage the cargo, sell it, and kill the sailors to hide their crimes. It wasn’t until 1870, that rescuing the sailors brought in a reward.
In order to hide these activities, the wreckers would spread stories about ghost, phantoms, or other supernatural beings existing in the area.
Jamaica Inn is also based on a real inn and pub. It was known for its smugglers, pirates, and ghost stories.
So this film starts out with something a bit unusual, a prayer.
“O Lord we pray the–
not that wrecks should happen,
but that if they do happen
Thou wilt guide them–
to the coast of Cornwall,
for the benefit of the
This real prayer for the 19th century shows how prevalent, wrecking/salvaging was.
So the film starts out with the pirates (as they technically are as they are robbing/plundering ships) putting out the lights at Cromwell’s shore during a huge storm, causing them to crash. The crew go out and salvage everything, leaving no sailor alive.
The leader of this group is Joss Merlyn, also owner of Jamaica Inn. He picks the ships, sells the goods, divvies up the profits, and makes sure every man follows his orders. He’s not looking to head for the gallows.
Meanwhile, Mary Yellen is traveling from Ireland to Jamaica Inn.
Mary is played by Maureen O’Hara, in her first big role. She’s heading to Jamaica Inn to be with her Aunt Patience as her parents died and she has no where else to go. She’s heading in a cab, when suddenly it starts moving extremely fast and passes Jamaica Inn.
What’s going on?
She tries to get him to stop, but he refuses to listen. He’s afraid of Jamaica Inn, as he’s heard stories of ghosts, pirates, thieves, and worse. Instead he overshoots it by miles, dropping her off in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere.
Geez, how rude. I mean just living a women stranded in the middle of nowhere in the dark?
Luckily, she isn’t too far from the Squire’s house, Sir Humphrey. She decides to head down there for help.
Meanwhile, Sir Humphrey is having a big dinner and fancy party for him and his friends.
Now the Squire loves beautiful things. He’ll spend tons of money on a figurine, a horse, etc. Some of the ladies at the tale are interested in landing him, but they aren’t young or pretty enough for him.
Mary comes in from the cold and demands to see the Squire for help. Sir Humphrey is annoyed/intrigued at the intrusion sand makes a bet the girl will be ugly. However, when he sees her, he is stunned at her beauty.
He then tells her to remove her coat:
I’d be like “heck no!” I’m leaving my clothes on.
But, she agrees, and he says she looks stunning. That over and done with, she asks him for help to the Inn. Sir Humphrey doesn’t want her to go, as the inn is full of ruffians, no place for a pretty, young girl. He would rather she stay with him.
Mary thanks him, but insists on going to the inn to be with her aunt Patience. Sir Humphrey agrees to help, and takes her to the inn.
When they arrive, Joss is creepily staring through the window at Mary.
He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.
She knocks at the door and when he opens it, he sticks a gun in her face.
Mary quickly tells him who she is, and then Joss tries to flirt with her, asking for a kiss.
Mary starts yelling at him and telling him to watch out, her uncle won’t stand for such rude treatment.
The jerk just laughs, and reveals he is her uncle.
Luckily, Patience comes out and stops his attentions for the moment. Mary is shocked when she sees Patience, she used to be so beautiful, but now is a tired, pale, weary, slip of a thing.
What happened to you?
You can tell by her pinched face that she is emotionally and physically abused by her husband.
Patience is happy to see her, but surprised. Apparently, they never received Mary’s letter telling of her parents death. They bring her in, with Joss making poor Patience carry the whole trunk. Mary goes to help, but Joss says no as he would hate to ruin a lady’s beautiful hands.
How could he flirt like that in front of his wife? To her own niece?
Mary has a fiery temper and yells at him. In return he picks up her trunk and throws it up the stairs, proving his strength. A true test of wills.
Don’t mess with me!
Downstairs the crew are laughing and being rowdy, Joss having Patience take Mary into the kitchen so that she won’t find out what’s going on.
When Harry, Joss’ right hand man, hears of a pretty lady, he tries to go see her and put the moves on her.
But Joss tells everyone that Mary is hands off, only for him. I mean to his wife’s niece? What a jerk and mega creep.
Back in the kitchen Mary and Patience are talking. Mary wants Patience to leave Joss, but she won’t. She ran away from him because she loved him, and even though he beats her, she still “loves” him. In reality, she has come to believe she deserves the beating, stuck in that cycle of abuse.
So back with the pirates. A recent addition to the team, Jem Trehearne, has been starting a ruckus with the men.
He believes there is a lot more going on then Joss is saying. He’s been keeping on eye on the merchandise ands how much they’ve received back and it is not adding up right. There is some that is being funneled elsewhere. Jem is also smart enough to realize there is no way Joss could fence these items on his own, there must be someone helping him. But who?
Joss sees how unsettled everyone is, and turns the suspicions back onto the crew; telling the group how easy it could be for one of them to take the product and waylay it, selling it later and keeping the profits. Now we have a witchunt, wtith everyone questioning each other.
He starts questioning how long each has been with him, coming up to Jem who has only been a part of the group for two months. Jem tries to turn it back to Joss and his mystery partner, but all have turned against him.
Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!
They seize Jem and search his pockets, finding gold. That settles it, he must hang.
Before they can get started, Patience interrupts. She never would do such a thing, except Mary has just told her the Squire, Sir Humphrey, gave her a lift to the inn. She’s worried that him being there, he might have seen something.
He tells Patience to take Mary up to her room to finish dinner, let’s Harry take care of Jem, and then heads upstairs to a locked room.
And in there is the squire.
It turns out that Jem was right all along, there is someone else in charge, the squire.
This was an area of the film Hitchcock strongly disagreed with. He wanted to wait until the very end to do one of his famous reveals, us finding out that the Squire, supposed good guy was the real villain. But Laughton was a big star and he wanted more screen time, and as he was also producing the film, what he said went. It is interesting to see Hitchcock as he is starting out and then later on, when his word was the law. Even when it drove his actress crazy, like Tippi Hedren in The Birds.
Anyways, yes the real criminal mastermind is indeed the Squire, Sir Humphrey.
Don’t let that pompous act fool you. He wines and dines the captains, finding out when ships carrying valuables are coming, sending word to Joss, who then gets the group out there to take care of it. Joss turns the goods over to the Squire, who sells the product taking a hefty cut, and giving the rest to be doled out the crewman. In some ways, this is very similar to Michael Crichton’s book Pirate Latitudes.
So Sir Humphrey is not happy with what he has, he thinks he deserves more.
Joss disagrees, warning him about the unruly crewman who think they are being created. They were lucky that Jem was a perfect scapegoat, but what if next time they men turn on him?
Them in this case
Squire tells him it doesn’t matter, and he better deal with the problem. They need to refocus as a new ship is coming in tomorrow night with lots of valuables.
Eyes on the prize.
Joss tells Sir Humphrey about Mary, and that he will remove her from the equation. Sir Humphrey disagrees, as he wants Mary to stay, that is until he’s had her.
Meanwhile, Jem has been knocked out and tied up. The crew are looking for the right beam to hang him, unknowingly choosing the exact one that lies under Mary’s room.
She overhears them talking about killing Jem, and watches them through a knothole, as they tie him up to the beam. One of the men, Dandy, really likes Jem’s buckles. Instead of waiting to play dice for them, Dandy grabs them and runs off, causing the others to chase him.
With them out of the way, Mary takes her knife and starts sawing through the rope, trying to free Jem. After he drops to the ground, she sneaks out of her room and completes untying him. She wakes him up, and he tries to get her to come with him, but she has to stay for her aunt.
However, they quickly discover Jem is gone. Patience figures out that it is Mary.
and tells her to run. She takes off but soon finds herself about to be caught, when Jem pulls her onto the roof.
How sweet, he couldn’t leave her behind to face everything on her own.
The two take off for the shore, Jem saying he knows a place they’ll be able to hide for a while.
Joss figures out who let Jem out, and sends everyone in teams to find them and kill them. He then goes to see the Squire to warn him.
Back at the squire’s home, we discover that he isn’t as rich as he’s been pretending to be.
I also suspect that he suffers from being bipolar or some other disease. They way he switches so quickly from anger to joyful, there’s something disconnected up there.
It turns out that his Butler is also starting to question what’s going on with the squire, as madness runs in his family.
Joss goes to him worried about what might happen with Jem and Mary, who they will tell. Sir Humphrey tells him to calm down as he is the only justice of the peace in the area. He kicks Joss out and tells him to focus on the ship wrecking.
Eyes on the prize
He continues to yell at Joss, and also tells him to leave Mary alone. That girl is his.
The next day, Mary wakes up in the arms of Jem.
She is suddenly freaked out as the realization of her choices hits her. She betrayed her family to save a man she doesn’t even know, a thief and pirate. She can never return to her Aunt’s home, all family is lost to her, and all she has is a pirate who could be cruel to her or hurt her.
She tries to sneak away, and steal the boat, but wakes Jem up, who is hurt at her not trusting him. I mean after all that you think they would have a bond.
Jem Trehearne: That’s women for you – save your life one minute, frightened of you the next. I guess I’m not a very pretty sight at the moment, but I don’t bite, you know.
While the two are arguing, the boat slips away and they are now stuck in a cave, and high tide will be upon them soon enough.
So now they are stuck. And in this scene we have some of the best banter. Jem is totally trying to make light of the situation. Mary, on the other hand, is angry at herself and the fact that everything is going wrong.
Jem Trehearne: Trust me to land myself with a woman. ‘Course, you did save my life.
Mary Yellen: I hope you make better use of it in the future.
Jem Trehearne: That’s a tall order for a desperate character like me.
Mary Yellen: No doubt.
Jem Trehearne: Smuggler and a cutthroat; that gives it.
Mary Yellen: Very likely.
Jem Trehearne: Do you think there’s any hope for me? Tell me, what all am I to do?
Mary Yellen: Anything you please.
Jem Trehearne: Well, I used to be a sailor. I can go back to sea.
Mary Yellen: I’m not in the least interested.
Jem Trehearne: You must be. Don’t forget you’re responsible for me.
Mary Yellen: I am not.
Jem Trehearne: Oh, yes. If weren’t for you I shouldn’t be here at all. You can’t deny that. When we’re safe in Trulo I’ll place myself entirely in your hands.
Mary Yellen: Oh, please be quiet.
I like Jem. I think he is sweet, funny, and pretty adorable while at the same time being a man of action, and having some honor. I wonder how he got mixed up with thieves?
So while they are talking, they fail to realize that their lost boat has just given away their position. Harry and two other crew members, realize they are in the cave and throw down a rope, inviting them up. They’re trapped. Either they wait in the cave and drown when the high tide comes in. Or they are saved and killed by the pirates.
But Jem won’t give up. He decides to instead have him and Mary swim to shore. They have a better chance of surviving the stormy sea, then staying in the cave where the men will let them drown or hang them.
They make it to shore, and Jem wants to go to town. Mary changes his mind, by pointing out the Squire’s mansion is so much closer.
When they get to the house, they interrupt a dinner with a captain.
The two come in soaked and telling the squire about what’s going on. Mary is sent upstairs to change into dry things, stopping to ask the squire for clemency for Jem, while Jem is regulated in front of the fire as he is not important. Go ahead and freeze to death or catch the flu and die, you’re not important.
But Jem will not be regulated to the side. He insists on speaking to the squire NOW. In fact he has something very important to show Sir Humphrey.
Yep Jem is not really a thief, he’s actual a cop and was just undercover trying to bust a ship wrecking ring. Before Sir Humphrey was just going to get rid of him or lock him up, but know that he is a cop with real officers knowing who he is and where he went. It’s time to change the game.
Mary overhears and runs over to the Inn to warn Patience, and try and get her to leave, but she won’t go. Soon Jem and Sir Humphrey arrive, Sir Humphrey playing along with Jem; as Jem deduces the how, where, and why of the whole situation. He just needs to figure out who the head man is.
He tries to persuade Joss to tell. This man is a tyrant that must be brought to justice!
Jem Trehearne: He [the head of the operation] remains aloof content to hire the scum of the coast to do his murderous work for him, thinking there’s no blood on his hands, but there is.
Jem leaves Joss with Sir Humphrey, as he goes to move the women upstairs. While he is gone Sir Humphrey warns Joss that tonight will have to be the last one, it would be best for both to take a little vacation. Then he hands over his gun.
Now think how much more awesome this scene would have been if this was the first time we realized that the Squire was the man they were working for. Hitchcock relly got gypped there. Oh, well.
So the men have heard Jem, and without Sir Humphrey as back up, the two are quickly captured and tied up.
Joss puts Patience on guard with a gun, while asking Mary along, just in case she had the urge to free Jem again.
Jem puts on a brave face and tries to convince Patience that if she gives up the location of her husband, then it will help him serve less time. Patiene refuses.
Sir Humphrey doesn’t even bother talking, getting out of the unknotted knots Joss tied on him and walking right out. After all, he has a ship to catch.
Jem is embarrassed and angry he could be tricked so easily, but continues to try to get Patience to set him free. But Patience says no, she loves Jem.
Eventually something must have worked on her, as the next scene we see Jem free and out to get help.
Meanwhile Mary is out with the crewman. They put the beacon out and wait, but while all are preoccupied, Mary runs out to fix the beacon. She gets in a fight with one of the men, accidentally breaking the beacon and setting her cape on fire. She hangs that up and saves the ship.
The salvagers are very angry!
Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!
They grab her and start tearing at her clothes, making threats about what they will do. Joss comes into save her, but gets shot by Harry.
Mary manages to get his body to the inn. There Patience is heartbroken and tries to warn Mary that Joss wasn’t the real leader, there is someone worse, when she is shot!
Sir Humphrey shot her as he didn’t want her warning Mary about him. He then goes and ties her up, giving her a hooded cape to hide it, and takes her with him in his carriage.
So Sir Humprey has completely succumbed to the insanity that runs in his family.
Jem is not too far behind the two, being able to get the regimental captain that was dining with Sir Humphrey earlier to use his troops to stop the men. They round up the ship wreckers and find the bodies of Joss and Patience. They set out to follow Humphrey’s trail.
At the ship, Sir Humphrey throws Mary inside a cabin. Telling her that she may have wanted to marry some normal, man and have a litter of kids, but that’s not what she should have. She should have the finer things with him.
Sir Humphrey: Good thing you have a man of sensibility, who’d rather see you dead first.
Before Sir Humphrey can make good on his threats, the regiment arrives. He tries to take Mary as a hostage, but they are prepared to shoot any part of his body they can. In order to escape he climbs up the sails of the ship, choosing to jump off and commit suicide then be taken alive.
Mary is shaken over everything, with Jem taking her and comforting her.
So was it as amazing as his later work? No. Was it still a good movie? Yes. I thought it was interesting, fun, a tad campy, but still entertaining.