Top of the World: 10 Joan Fontaine’s Films


Last Saturday, we celebrated what would have been Joan Fontaine’s 99th birthday. Unfortunately, as I was quite busy, I didn’t really have time to do anything to celebrate the event on my blog. Well, I’m back with a top from the top of the world and would like to introduce you my 10 most favourite Joan Fontaine’s films. Of course, these are my personal choices, so I simply ask you to respect them (I think you know the song now)!

Here we go:

10. The Affairs of Susan ( William A. Seiter, 1945)

I must be honest, I really hesitated between The Affairs of Susan and The Bigamist, because I’ve only seen them once and quite a long time ago, so I don’t really remember which one I preferred. I’ll go with The Affairs because of Edith Head’s gorgeous gown.


9. The Constant Nymph (Edmund Goulding, 1943)

But one of my very favourite Joan Fontaine’s performances


8. Jane Eyre (Robert Stevenson, 1944)

Once again, it’s one I’ve seen quite a long time ago. But I remember enjoying it. Must revisit it as soon as possible as it is one of Joan’s most iconographic films.

7. Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948)

Joan is lovely in this film. I couldn’t think of someone better for the role.


6. The Emperor Waltz (Billy Wilder, 1948)

Yes, this probably comes as a surprise (even to me) that I like it better than Letter or Jane Eyre,  but it’s just a film I enjoy so much, and even more than that I’ve been to Vienna! You can read my review here.


5. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (Fritz Lang, 1956)

A very underrated one. I watched it for the first time Saturday and highly enjoyed it. Fritz Lang is always a winner for me.


4. Until they Sail (Robert Wise, 1957)

Because of the cast: Joan Fontaine, Jean Simmons, Piper Laurie, Paul Newman and Sandra Dee


3. September Affair (William Dieterle, 1950)

Joan and Joseph Cotten. Such a beautiful film.


2. Suspicion (Alfred Hitchcock, 1941)

Hitchcock! And she won the Oscar, you know!

Actress Joan Fontaine
















1. Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)

Hitchcock again! I know, not a very original #1 choice, but it’s such a great film! What more can I say…


Well, that’s it! I hope you enjoyed. Don’t hesitate to share your personal top with me!

Happy heavenly birthday again Joan 🙂


9 thoughts on “Top of the World: 10 Joan Fontaine’s Films

  1. Really enjoyed your list! I am a very big Joan Fontaine fan, too. Love nearly all you mentioned, though I have not seen Until They Sail or Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. It’s hard to pinpoint my favorite…possibly Rebecca, too. 🙂 And Letter From an Unknown Woman.

    It was exciting to read about how much you enjoyed September Affair. I agree – such a beautiful film. I loved the music and loved her and Cotten together.

    I saw Ivy and Kiss the Blood off My Hands several months ago and quite liked those, too. I just wish they would come out on DVD. It feels like she has not quite received her due in terms of how many of her films are released.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice choices Ginnie. I liked The Emperor Waltz as well! I know Wilder hated it but it was great. The Affairs of Susan was fun as it showed Joan as the desirable woman we all know she is! I liked Born to be Bad and This Above All as well. September Affair is also such an underrated romantic classic. Joan was brilliant in Tender is the Night. I don’t know if you’ve seen that or not? Anyhow great choices! 👍👍🌹🌹

    Liked by 1 person

  3. it’s no crime to put Rebecca at the top of the list. Many of us were first introduced to Joan Fontaine through this film. And all these years later it still holds up. The sensitivity of JF’s performance resonates with many people, especially at vulnerable times. I’ve been in audiences where everybody cheers at the line directed at Mrs. Danvers: “I am Mrs. de Winter now.” Doesn’t get much better than that. It’s my first choice too. I also like Suspicion because the character is reserved like Mrs. de Winter, but not at all shy and unworldly. I think reviewers make a mistake saying Lina McLaidlaw and Mrs. de Winter are both shy and timid. Lina knows what she wants and goes after it. And she’s not mousy at all — just a bid diffident. However, I have to place The Constant Nymph as my second choice. Too bad it was out of circulation for so long; but thankfully it’s available for everyone to enjoy. Letter from an Unknown Woman is my third, an absolute masterpiece of a film and loved by many, followed by Suspicion in 4th place. Brava to you for nominating Affairs of Susan. Love that film and I think JF must have had a lot of fun playing three different characters. That’s my fifth choice. In no particular order, my remaining 6 favorites (I’m cheating and putting in 11 total) include: Frenchman’s Creek, Ivy, Jane Eyre, Born to be Bad, Tender is the Night and A Certain Smile. Thanks for letting me participate!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment and for sharing your choices Graham!
      Yes I love when Joan says “I am Mrs de Winter” now. 😉 Her more “mature” tone of voice when she says that reminds me of Olivia de Havilland’s tone of voice at the end of The Heiress. Well, they were sisters 😉
      Sorry for the late reply to your comment, somehow it had been put among the spams so I didn’t see it right away…


      • Speaking of Olivia de Havilland, her Oscar win for The Heiress was spot on. I can’t think of too many films where a leading star’s performance is so clearly of Oscar quality. However, having said, that I think many of us can agree that Joan Fontaine’s performance in Letter from an Unknown Woman was very definitely Oscar-quality. The fact that this independently produced film was ignored at Oscar time, both for the film and its star, is one of the industry’s biggest oversights.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. September Affair ! Joan Fontaine in Naples, Capri and Florence !

    “The gentle breeze from her bright face
    moves with the sound of wise words
    making a sweet harmony where it blows,
    as if a gentle spirit from Paradise
    seems always to comfort me, in that air,
    so that my heart won’t let me breathe elsewhere…”


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