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When Philip Ashley's much-loved (and rich) cousin Ambrose dies, he is convinced that Ambrose was murdered by his new wife Rachel to inherit his wealth. But when he meets Rachel and falls in love with her, he knows that his suspicions must have been unfounded. But were they, or is Rachel just trying to use Philip to get at the estate Ambrose left to him instead of to her? And will she murder him next? Written by
Ken Yousten <email@example.com>
This movie reminds me of "Rebecca" as well. Both are dark sided, with women that are formidable to the men in question. Interesting that in both cases, these are thoroughly English men. While both women are compelling personalities and complicated to the men involved, I think they are very different, both in type and motivation.
I think Rebecca simply had a very skewed moral compass with underlying perversity. I think she knew when she did wrong and reveled in it rather depraved actually.
However, Rachel is another story. I don't think she is actually sinister, but of a culture with ethics quite foreign -and skewed- to the rather straight laced English mindset. Remember, she is a certain European with very different ways of looking at things. What seems not quite cricket to Philip and the older Ambrose, needs no justification in Rachel's mind.
And I think she had the type of "tribal" loyalty that bound her to her own kinsmen in preference to these newly acquired English connections (husband, in Ambrose's case). That's why she could be so genuinely outraged by Philip's confrontations and so strong in her own representations of matters. She truly saw no reason not to take the mile when she was offered an inch. Any implication of an implied betrothal or personal commitment in the gift of very valuable family jewelry was dismissible with her. This ambivalence also included being somewhat free with her kisses.
As for it seeming implausible that Philip could be so rearranged by her, well, that is an old story. Strong women have been turning men inside out for centuries. Recall that Philip is a relatively unsophisticated young man. Ambrose, while advanced from him, was about as inexperienced with persons so unlike his countrymen. What seems clear and forthright to a rather sheltered young man, can melt away when confronted with the formidable presence and charm of a more sophisticated and attractive woman.
Again, I do not think Rachel set about with cunning and craftiness. I think she was of a mindset that saw no problem with acquiring as she did and with sharing with her fellow countryman with whom she had a much longer and deeper tie than this simple, probably seemingly rather cold Englishman either in the case of Ambrose originally and later with Philip. Whether or not she actually did away with Ambrose is up for conjecture. But her total confounded disbelief when she fell into Philip's literal trap at the end was genuine. I think her sense of ethics and moral justification were so diverse from Philip's that he could not but think of her as deliberate in cunning. The combination of expressed affection and seeming duplicity were maddeningly incomprehensible to him.
Rachel violated Philip's expectations and moral code on several counts. His obsession with her and perception of that drove him to violate it himself. (not revealing the end)
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