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The Camera LiesActing for Hitchcock$
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Dan Callahan

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197515327

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197515327.001.0001

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Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Suspicion

Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Suspicion

(p.96) 9 Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Suspicion
The Camera Lies

Dan Callahan

Oxford University Press

Hitchcock guided the inexperienced Joan Fontaine through his first American film, Rebecca (1940), going to great lengths to get her into the mood she needed to be in, and he also inspired and controlled a major performance by Judith Anderson as the vengeful housekeeper Mrs. Danvers while allowing Laurence Olivier to give a merely external performance as the male lead. In the work of Fontaine, Anderson, and Olivier, Rebecca penetratingly surveys different styles of acting, favoring Fontaine but finally letting Anderson dominate with work where she is “doing nothing well” on the surface but with clearly contrasting emotions battling underneath the mask of her face. The Master was mainly let down by the actors in Foreign Correspondent (1940), but he brought out dark undercurrents in the expert comic performances of Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery in Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941). Hitchcock used Cary Grant for the first time in Suspicion (1941) as a sexy, irresponsible playboy who may or may not be murderous, and he reveled in Grant’s ability to do or say one thing ambiguously enough to suggest another thing at the same moment.

Keywords:   Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Judith Anderson, Rebecca, Carole Lombard

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