A young English girl in Monte Carlo falls in love with a rude, handsome stranger who proposes to her and rescues her from the drudgery of being a hired companion. But when he takes her to ...
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Based on the Gothic romance novel by Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca is a classic tale of love and hate. Maxim De Winter marries a woman half his age only a year after his first wife, the ... See full summary »
A young English girl in Monte Carlo falls in love with a rude, handsome stranger who proposes to her and rescues her from the drudgery of being a hired companion. But when he takes her to his country estate, Manderly, all her confidence disappears, especially in the face of Maxim's dour and mysterious housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, and as odd rumors reach her, the second Mrs. de Winter decides to find out everything she can about her predecessor, Rebecca. Written by
Best Adaptation of Du Maurier's Masterpiece--why isn't this on DVD?
I saw the very last part of this 4-part miniseries 12 years ago on PBS. It was so fascinating I rushed out and bought the book. (And read it until the covers fell off, and because of it years later won a "Who was Rebecca?" essay contest and a trip to England.) For the next two years I besieged PBS with requests to re-run it, in 1996 they finally did. I savored each moment of it, and taped it of course. I still have the tapes, but wish it was on DVD.
Jeremy Brett -- later to become forever identified as Sherlock Holmes -- was the perfect Maxim de Winter. After hearing his story of Rebecca, you could finally understand why he married the Second Mrs. de Winter, shy, tongue-tied, and klutzy. She possessed the innocence he desperately needed. Anna Massey was a very creepy, scary Mrs. Danvers. In real-life, Jeremy Brett and Anna Massey were briefly married in their youth. It throws a new slant on the Danvers-de Winter relationship, doesn't it? And Joanna David goes from a girl afraid of her shadow to a woman who can take whatever is dished out to her by the end of the series. Excellent performances.
I've seen the Hitchcock version -- Maxim was too much a caricature of rude aristocracy, and because of the Hayes Commission certain elements of the story were drastically changed, with ill effect. I've also seen the recent Charles Dance version; interestingly the girl playing the second Mrs. de Winter in that one is the daughter of Joanna David, and she isn't bad, but Dance is nobody's notion of Maxim, and for completely gratuitous reasons they changed the story. Du Maurier's work is perfection itself and nobody should ever change it. The Brett-David-Massey version comes closest to the book, is beautifully photographed and hauntingly scored, with Debussy's "Reverie" and other classical and impressionist music played throughout. This is the one that needs to be on DVD...preferably a "collector's edition," with lots of special features.
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