Examining Alfred Hitchcock‘s Rebecca in terms of the Gothic convention of non-realist doubled and split characters, this essay argues that the slippage of desire between characters, male as well as female, complicates the containment of the dead Rebecca and whatever she represents. Although the splitting of the female protagonist into the unnamed heroine, the ghostly Rebecca and her surrogate Mrs Danvers has been extensively discussed, the use of this strategy as it concerns the male characters has been less often noticed. The replication of the male protagonist, Maxim, by two other male characters at once deepens him psychologically and contaminates him with ghostliness. These two conflicting manoeuvres strengthen his connection with both his wives, the dead as much as the living. But even while the treatment of Maxim empowers Rebecca and her successor, the movie‘s depiction of male bonding invites a questioning of the extent of female agency.
built upon the director’s prestige as a young, energetic and
original director for marketing the Nicole Kidman vehicle. On the
surface Los otros is dressed as a classically inclined horror
movie of the haunted house variety with a strong stylistic debt to
gothic novels and films (like AlfredHitchcock’sRebecca
(1940) and Robert Siodmak’s The Spiral Staircase (1946
, and it is perhaps surprising to learn that in the past
some well-regarded directors seem to have been untroubled by this practice.
During the filming of AlfredHitchcock’sRebecca (1940),
producer David 0. Seznick became concerned that, during a key scene –
the ‘confession’ towards the end of the film – the
close-ups of both Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine had been filmed with
the off-screen lines read in by the script
Hitchcock’sRebecca (1940) was perhaps the most notable and earliest
example of Gothic Noir, Roger Corman’s cycle of Poe adaptations
(1959–64) returned to explore the nineteenth century, whilst
Michael Reeves’s Witchfinder General (1968) and its
spin-offs like Piers Haggard’s Blood on Satan’s
Claw (1970) explored earlier encounters with evil.
Tony Scott’s The Hunger