October 3, 2011


Rebecca Movie Beat Sheet

1. Opening Image
Manderley: barred gate to the drive
2. Theme Stated
Mrs. de Winter stops Maxim from jumping off a cliff. He's angry, acts like suicide wasn't attempted. She's a clumsy, unsure woman, who works for a rich woman.
3. Set-Up
Maxim is taken with her, but she services as a companion and tries to keep her place. During their conversations, he closes off with the subject of drowning. She learns later that his wife (the beautiful Rebecca) was drowned & he's broken up over her death. They continue to date while her employer is sick & she pretends to be taking tennis lessons.
4. Catalyst - Inciting Incident
The employer wants to leave town
5. Debate
She desperately attempts to call Maxim before she leaves. He asks her to marry him. She says yes.
6. Break into Two
She quits her job. The snobbish employer tells her that she could not handle being the mistress of Manderley. She and Maxim get married.
7. B Story
The married couple arrive at Manderley - an enormous estate.
8. Fun and Games
  • She meets Mrs. Danvers - an ominous head house keeper, who intimidates her. Mrs. Danvers makes constant mention of Rebecca, whose room is locked.
  • She finds a cottage by the dock, which belongs to Rebecca. Maxim is angry about her finding the cottage, forbids her to go back there.
  • She continues to be intimidated by Manderley.
  • Jacks (Rebecca's cousin) pays a visit & doesn't want her to tell Maxim that he was there.
  • She gets the courage to see Rebecca's amazing bedroom. Mrs. Danvers shows it to her, speaks of Rebecca with an obsessive reverence.
9. Tentpole - Midpoint - Reversal
She finally gets the nerve. Tells Mrs. Danvers that she's Mrs. De Winters now.
10. Bad Guys Close In
  • She plans a masquerade party. Mrs. Danvers suggests paintings for her to plan her dress around. Mentioning one specific painting. She plans her dress exactly like the painting.
  • Maxim is angry & tells her to change. It's the dress Rebecca wore. Mrs. Danvers set her up.
11. All Is Lost
The sail boat that was Rebecca's was found, and so was a body.
12. Dark Night of the Soul
She confronts Maxim in the cottage. Maxim confesses: the body washed up yrs ago wasn't Rebecca. Her body is in the boat where he put her. And here comes the whammy: he hated Rebecca. That his marriage with Rebecca was a fraud & that Rebecca was sleeping with Jack. Rebecca said she was pregnant that night, taunting him. He hit her, she accidentally fell and died.
13. Break into Three
Police get involved.
14. Finale - Confrontation
  • There's an inquiry. An expert says the boat was scuttled. Murder, suicide? Jack believes Maxim killed Rebecca due to a letter Rebecca sent him the day she died. The letter says she has something important to tell him. Police speak to the doctor & learn that Rebecca was dying from cancer (not pregnant).
  • Maxim realizes that Rebecca planned to have Maxim kill her by lying about being pregnant from another man. Since she was going to die anyway.
15. Aftermath
Mrs. Danvers burns Manderley down & herself along with it.
16. Final Image
Rebecca's bed engulfed in fire.


About Lisa

Passionate about movies and writing. Hopes to someday be a published writer. So when she's not staring at the tube, she's spilling her imagination onto a blank page.

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