// David O. Selznick's influence ruined the possible greatness of Hitchcock's first American production, just as he later did with Spellbound. During the Manderley segment of the first portion, the film was an interesting psychological thriller involving a spectre of the past haunting memories. Swerving between theories and capturing obsession most brilliantly, Rebecca is special in those moments you really want it to be, but the last portion somewhat dampens the suspense of those opportunities of greatness by abandoning the ominous shadows and evolving characters. Mrs de Winter II spends most of her time as a new bride slowly being persuaded by the creepy housekeeper, Mrs Danvers, that her mysterious, somewhat unreachable husband Maxim is still hopelessly in love with his dead wife, not to mention her insistence that Manderley remains as it did in the past. Once Maxim reveals that he killed his beautiful, enchanting and unfaithful wife, the film turns sour, attempting to be suspenseful as the truth is threatened to be outed by Rebecca's lover and cousin only to be revoked at the last minute when it turns out Rebecca was dying anyway and so had the motive to have drowned herself in the boat.
Despite its obvious faults, the scenes between Mrs Danvers and Mrs de Winter II are the most memorable: typically Hitchcockian psycho-sexual subtext with gothic ardour. It never reaches the heights of exploring obsession as in Rear Window, Vertigo or Psycho, but this is one of Hitchcock's tentative, first attempts at the subject and it's very decent, but no masterpiece.