creature feature: the curse of frankenstein (terence fisher, 1957)
music friday

geezer cinema: rebecca (ben wheatley, 2020)

Something about Rebecca connects with people. The novel has never gone out of print. This 2020 movie is the second based on the novel ... the first, in 1940, directed by Hitchcock and starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, won the Best Picture Oscar. By my count (using Wikipedia) there have been six adaptations for television, and five versions on Old-Time Radio. The novel's author, Daphne du Maurier, adapted the book as a stage play. There was an Austrian musical version, and an opera. So yeah, there's something about Rebecca.

And it's impressive that Rebecca is still part of the zeitgeist, and that an arguably secondary character, Mrs. Danvers, has become iconic. 

So it's no surprise that Netflix gives us another Rebecca. And some things work well. I'm not an expert on costuming, but I felt like the clothes were appropriate for the characters, including the dress Mrs. Danvers uses in her attempt to destroy Mrs. de Winter. Kristin Scott Thomas dominates the film once she makes an appearance, in a good way ... I may have referred to Mrs. Danvers as arguably secondary, but Scott Thomas is having none of that. Director Ben Wheatley seems most comfortable with the character of Mrs. Danvers ... without Danvers/Scott Thomas, this Rebecca would be a bit too boring.

I initially thought Armie Hammer was the most boring part of the movie, but in retrospect, I think that's unfair. Maxim de Winter is boring in this movie. Lily James is fine, although the transition in her character from unassuming to a woman who takes charge isn't as marked as it might be ... James never seems unassuming.

It's been awhile since I saw Hitchcock's version. My memory is that I liked it, but the 2020 edition shouldn't really need to worry about being compared to an 80-year-old movie. What I found myself comparing it to was Guillermo del Toro's 2015 film Crimson Peak, and Rebecca falls short in that comparison. Rebecca has not gotten very good reviews, which may keep some people away. I'd say if it sounds appealing to you, go for it ... it's not that bad. But "not that bad" isn't a very high standard.



Hey, great minds! I was just writing about Du Maurier too! She's an interesting oddball hard to categorize. On Rebecca, I looked at the Hitchcock again in the past year and it wasn't as good as I remembered. But it's still pretty good.

Steven Rubio

You wrote about Don't Look Now, a favorite of mine! Oh my ... of course du Maurier is the link, but this Rebecca isn't quite at the level of Don't Look Now :-). Suffice to say I've watched Don't Look Now many times over the years, and likely will continue to do so, while I'm pretty sure this was my one and only time with this Rebecca.

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