Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rebecca (1940 Hitchcock film)

Bringing my participation in the Daphne du Maurier Challenge to a close, I watched Alfred Hitchcock's 1940 filmed version of Rebecca. As everyone well knows, Hitchcock is the master of suspense and this film is one of the reasons why. The casting of Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers was absolutely brilliant and her brooding, almost ghost-like presence adds much to the atmosphere. Joan Fontaine's portrayal of the young, naive, unnamed second wife of Maxim de Winter is also spot on. She could have been nauseating or cloying in her shyness, but she found exactly the right balance. And Laurence Olivier's portrayal of the broken man, haunted by memories--seeking to overcome them with his new-found happiness, yet fearing all the time that it won't last-- is tremendous. I enjoyed watching this film immensely. Even with various changes made to the story.

That's right...Hitchcock, just like every filmmaker who gets his hands on an established story, found that he just had to change the plot and characterizations a little here and there. Mrs. Danvers is made much more mysterious and we don't learn as much about her as we do in the book. A few changes were made to the romance of Maxim & the second Mrs. de Winter as well. These changes didn't really affect the storyline much. The most severe change comes at the end of the movie...but I won't spoil it for those who might want to see the film.

For anyone who loves suspense, gothic, Hitchcock, or Daphne du Maurier & Rebecca, this is a must see. I really think that this type of story does best in the old black and white. I haven't seen the more recent version with Dame Diana Rigg as Mrs. Danvers...I'd really like to. But I have a feeling that I'll be constantly comparing it to Hitchcock's masterpiece.

As I mentioned, this wraps up my challenge reading and viewing. I have now finished both the "Dreaming of Manderley" and the "Dame Daphne" portions. This has been a great challenge and I've really enjoyed participating. Good luck to anyone who is still working on their challenges.

3 comments:

Frl. Irene Palfy said...

I love the movie and the novel and I think it's great that parts of the dialogue was not changed. I love the end of the novel - but I think it would be almost impossible to translate it into a film..

Chrisbookarama said...

I keep meaning to watch Rebecca but can't find it to rent it anywhere. I might have to buy it.

Bev Hankins said...

Chris: I'm very fortunate to have a public library with an awesome dvd collection (as well as books!). I'm getting ready to watch the more modern version with Diana Rigg as Mrs. Danvers....