The Victim and The Tormentor


Martin Scorsese does not like Rebecca (1940). Well, that’s not entirely true. 

In Hitchcock/Truffaut (2015), he talks of the Hitchcock films he rewatches, those, like Vertigo (1958), that cast plot aside and deal more with character. In other words, those most like the films of Martin Scorsese. He names Rebecca as one of the films he used to watch, but, after many viewings, grew tiresome because of its reliance on plot. (He and I will have to agree to disagree on that point.) 

But, there is one moment he still finds interesting: “that scene with Mrs. Danvers in the bedroom.” How could you not? It may be my favorite moment in all of Hitchcock. In Hitchcock/Truffaut, James Gray cites the moment in Vertigo when Kim Novak comes out of the bathroom as the greatest moment in the history of cinema. In a video essay published on this website, I’ve argued that the former is a precursor to the latter. 

It is one of Rebecca’s most Hitchcockian moments, which leads us to the passage: 


F.T.      . . . anyway, her relationship with the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, was something new in your work. And it reappears time and again later on, not only in the scenarios, but even visually: two faces, one dead-still, as if petrified by fear of the other; the victim and the tormentor framed in the same image.

A.H.    Precisely. In Rebecca I did that very deliberately. 

(Chapter 6, Page 129)