Joan Fontaine received her first Oscar nomination for playing The Second Mrs. De Winter in Rebecca.
Rebecca is truly a terrific film - I'll admit there is some flaws, and the story can get really tiresome after awhile, but it is still terrific all the same. The cinematography and design of the film are breathtaking, it really shows off the incredible quality of black and white. The story of a naive, very insecure woman who falls in love with the rich and charming Maxim De Winter and are quickly married. She finds herself entranced by his world including a mansion called "Manderlay", however the entire household seems still be mourning strangely over the death of Maxim's first wife, Rebecca. Slowly, she begins to go mad, failing to live up to Rebecca's legacy.
Joan Fontaine is absolutely incredible in the role. She never plays on the sympathy of the audience who see her hopes and dreams become a harsh reality when she fails to communicate with the rich society and Rebecca's memory. She has so many opportunities to overact and meets those expectations with subtlety and surprising depth. She becomes a movie heroine when she finally decides to start for her husband's affection, everything becomes much more tense and wonderfully played out as Fontaine starts to grow more and more. It's a challenging, bright & dark, lovely performance that rewards the viewer at the end. Joan Fontaine creates a character just as mysterious as Rebecca, but lets us know exactly what is going on inside her head. A brilliant performance.