Resembling a Fairy Tale


Much of my work on Hitchcock concerns his 1940 masterpiece (yes, masterpiece) Rebecca — his first American film and the only one he explicitly refers to as “not a Hitchcock picture.” (Hitchcock/Truffaut, 127). 

The idea that Rebecca is not a Hitchcock picture is, of course, absurd. So absurd that I am writing my senior thesis, in part, about it. 

[Watch Another Essay Comparing Rebecca and Vertigo (1958)]

Though Rebecca is a semi-faithful adaptation of the novel of the same name and was influenced heavily by its producer, David O. Selznick, its bears the imprint of Hitchcock, regardless of whether the director wants to admit it. Truffaut knows this, which brings us to the passage. 


F.T.      It’s the first one of your pictures that evokes a fairy tale. 

A.H.     It is. It’s almost a period piece. 

F.T.      This fablelike quality is of interest because it recurs in several of your works. It is suggested by the emphasis on the keys to the house, by a closet that no one has the right to open, or by a room that is sealed off. 

A.H.     Yes, we were aware of that aspect in Rebecca. It’s quite true that children’s fairy tales are often terrifying. Take the Grimms’ “Hansel and Gretel,” for instance, in which two children shove an old lady into an over. It’s quite true that children’s fairy tales are often terrifying. But I’m not aware of any of my other pictures resembling a fairy tale. 

(Chapter 6, Page 131)