Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 suspense novel tells the story of a young woman who marries a brooding older man. At his remote estate, she finds constant reminders of his dead wife, Rebecca. The story combines the atmosphere of a Gothic novel with a mystery about Rebecca’s character and her death.
Rebecca echoes the plot of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847) with its naive heroine, Byronic hero, and mysterious first wife. Du Maurier incorporates elements that aren’t in the Bronte novel: sinister villains, serious crimes, and a modern understanding of obsession and repression. Both Jane Eyre and Rebecca serve as models for countless romantic suspense stories based on a fairy tale turned sour. Cinderella discovers that Prince Charming has warts and keeps a witch in his castle. What is she going to do about it?
Not all great books become great movies, but this one did. Rebecca was Alfred Hitchcock’s first Hollywood movie and the only film he directed that won an academy award as best picture. By the time he directed it, he already had a reputation as the master of suspense and a 15-year career in British films, starting in the era of silent movies. Because of stringent Hollywood codes, this film version does not follow the ending of Daphne du Maurier’s novel.
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This blog, like the books and stories I write, combines mysteries, food, trivia, and a bit of humor to leaven the grim subject of crime. Sometimes random subjects intrude here .