- Rebecca (TV miniseries)
name = Rebecca
image_size = 100px
caption = Cover of the UK DVD release
director = Jim O'Brien
producer = Hilary Heath
Based on the novel by
Daphne du Maurier
Charles Dance Emilia Fox Diana Rigg
cinematography = Rex Maidment
editing = Michael Parker
January 5, 1997 UK April 13, 1997 USA
runtime = 178 minutes
United Kingdom/ Germany
language = English
amg_id = 67004
imdb_id = 0119991
The miniseries was filmed for
Carlton Televisionby Portman Productions in association with WGBHand Tele München. It was broadcast in the United Statesas a presentation of " Masterpiece Theatre" on PBS.
While vacationing in
Monte Carloin 1927, Maxim de Winter meets the young and somewhat naive British companion of Mrs. Van Hopper, a typical Ugly Americanwhose bout with influenzafrees the girl - who, as in the original novel, is never identified by name - to spend time with the wealthy widower. When Mrs. Van Hopper announces plans to return to New York City, Max proposes to the girl and brings her to his Cornwallcoast estate known as Manderley. There a large household staff is supervised by Mrs. Danvers, who was devoted to Max's first wife Rebecca, the victim of a sailing accident some ten months before, whose battered body was discovered forty miles up the coast and identified by her distraught husband.
The new Mrs. de Winter feels overwhelmed by the vast manor, and Mrs. Danvers does nothing to put her at ease, although she finds a friend in Frank Crawley, who oversees the estate. The young bride's discomfort with her new lifestyle isn't helped by the fact the memory of Rebecca has a strong hold on Mandereley and all of its inhabitants and visitors. Lacking self-confidence, she commits one
faux pasafter another until she is convinced Max is still deeply in love with his seemingly perfect first wife and regrets his impetuous decision to marry his second one. She is also curious about a cottage on the beach and Ben, a dimwitted scavenger who constantly assures her he has said nothing and begs her not to commit him to the asylum, references the girl doesn't understand.
Max's sister Beatrice and brother-in-law Giles convince him to revive his custom of hosting an annual costume ball at the estate, Mrs. Danvers suggests Mrs. de Winter replicate a dress worn by a family ancestor in a portrait hanging in the gallery. The girl complies, unaware the same costume was worn by Rebecca to much acclaim shortly before her death the previous year. When Max sees her descend the staircase just before the arrival of their guests, he furiously demands she change into a different dress.
In the early morning hours after the ball, Mrs. Danvers openly displays her contempt for the second Mrs. de Winter by taking her on a tour of Rebecca's bedroom, which she has maintained as a shrine. Showing the young girl Rebecca's wardrobe and luxurious possessions, she tells her she will never be worthy of replacing her former mistress, and she encourages her to commit
suicideby jumping out the window to the stone patio far below. Her manipulations are interrupted by a distress signal from a ship that has crashed on the reef just off the coast.
Divers hired to investigate damage to the hull of the ship discover the remains of Rebecca's boat with a body in the locked cabin. When it is raised, the body is identified as that of Rebecca by her jewelry and dress, and it is discovered that holes had been drilled deliberately in the bottom, causing it to sink.
Max confesses to his bride he strangled Rebecca in the beach cottage when she taunted him with the news she was pregnant and the child wasn't his. He locked her body in the cabin of her boat, sailed it offshore, drove holes into its blanks, and then escaped on the
dinghy, and when a body washed ashore up the coast, he intentionally misidentified it. He confesses he never loved Rebecca, revealing she was a vile woman who made a mockery of their marriage by consorting with numerous men of low character in a flat she kept in Londonand the cottage she maintained on the beach specifically for her many trysts.
A subsequent inquest concludes with a verdict of suicide, but Rebecca's cousin Jack Favell is unconvinced. He has a note from Rebecca urging him to join her at the beach cottage on the night she died because she had something important to tell him. Jack reveals he was Rebecca's lover and suspects she was pregant with his child, a fact uncovered by Max, prompting him to kill her. He attempts to
blackmailMax, who refuses his demands.
A notation in Rebecca's appointment book leads them to a doctor she visited on the day she died. He reveals Rebecca was riddled with
cancerand had only months to live, thus supporting the verdict of suicide. Max realizes she intentionally misled him into believing she was expecting another man's child in order to spur him to kill her in a murderous rage.
Upon returning to Manderley, Max and his wife discover the estate is in flames, the fire set by a vengeful and despairing Mrs. Danvers. Max races upstairs to rescue the woman from Rebecca's bedroom. In an
epilogueset ten laters later, we learn Max walks with a limp and is scarred slightly as a result of his heroic action, but nothing about the fate of Mrs. Danvers. Having lost Manderley and choosing not to rebuild it, Mr. and Mrs de Winter now live a quiet life in a small hotel, seemingly free of Rebecca's hold.
In the 1940 film adaptation of the Du Maurier novel directed by
Alfred Hitchcock, the character of Rebecca never is seen. In the miniseries, she is shown from behind, and there are frequent flashes of her eyes and mouth (courtesy of Lucy Cohu), although her full face never is revealed.
The miniseries was filmed on location in
Charlestownin Cornwall, the Luton Hoo Estate in Bedfordshire, Mothecombe House in Devon, and Rotherfield Park in Hampshire. Interiors were shot in Shepperton Studios.
Charles Dance..... Maxim de Winter
Emilia Fox..... Mrs. de Winter
Diana Rigg..... Mrs. Danvers
Geraldine James..... Beatrice
Denis Lill..... Giles
Tom Chadbon..... Frank Crawley
Jonathan Cake..... Jack Favell
*John Branwell ..... Ben
Faye Dunaway..... Mrs. Van Hopper
Awards and nominations
Diana Rigg won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie.
* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119991/ "Rebecca" at the Internet Movie Database]
* [http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=476436 "Rebecca" at Turner Classic Movies]
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