Saturday, 8 December 2007

Rebecca in Haworth

Martin Rippingale writes:

Next Friday brings a chance, I am noting, that if you can get to Haworth in Yorkshire you can watch the 1940 movie version of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.

I would love to attend and to walk around the Brontë Parsonage as a prelude, but I’ll just have to fix myself up with a DVD viewing.

It cleaned up at the awards ceremony at the time, for good reason: Fontaine is at her emotional finest and Olivier is as impressive as always as Maxim de Winter, with those slightly clipped cultivated tones which made him such a wow in the London theatre.

Londoner Alfred Hitchcock made his mark as a director in the States with this movie as well, doubtless taking a bet that a novel published a couple of years previously to great critical applause would bring in the audiences – and it did.

Over in England, there was a war in progress, so I imagine the blitzed-out Brits escaping into a gothic du Maurier world, where the horrors were different. Sunken boats with bodies in them? It happened every day in the Atlantic – or come to think of it, the ocean not too far from Cornwall.

John Harrison and Robert Sherwood wrote the screenplay, and it hits the mark because according to all allegations and reports, the producer David O Selznick had an attack of sensitivity and demanded that it be faithful to the novel.

It is not a hundred percent faithful though. In the novel, Rebecca is slain by a slug from Maxim’s gun. Not so in the movie of course. The burning down of Manderly at the movie’s finale was not in the novel either, so perhaps the guy who called the shots – Selznick – was more influenced by Jane Eyre than Daphne du Maurier.
Richard Wilcocks adds:

The film will be shown at the West Lane Baptist Chapel at 7.30pm. Contact Andrew McCarthy on 01535 640194 to make sure of your seat. Entrance £6.00

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