Mystery and no imagination

Rebecca (12) 123 mins

Remaking a film is always a dodgy prospect. Doing it when the original is something of a classic is just asking for trouble.

But regardless, Netflix has begun streaming a new version of Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’.

In the 82 years since it was first published, this dark tale of a millionaire widower and his new wife in the setting of an imposing family estate has never been out of print.

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 Oscar winning adaptation starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine is, like the story itself, very much of its time.

And that time says shadows, an OTT orchestral score and monochrome, not a Lily James guess how many costume changes I can carry off competition and a Bentley convertible that matches Armie Hammer’s dreadful no one in their right mind would ever wear mustard linen suit.

Part of post production on a film includes enhancing colour digitally to subconsciously draw the eye (something Ridley Scott achieved with lighting alone on films such as Black Rain and Blade Runner) and someone here has really gone overboard.

There is, however, one saving grace. The prime part in this story is not Maxim de Winter or the new Mrs de Winter, whose name is never mentioned throughout the entire book or film. It is that of Mrs Danvers the housekeeper at the de Winter family seat Manderley.

This is a role reserved for actresses of a certain stature. In Hitchcock’s piece it was Broadway doyen Dame Judith Anderson and here Dame Kristin Scott Thomas provides the restrained menace and passive aggression that eats away at the fragile ego of the new lady of the house.

In case there is anyone left in the world who is unaware of the plot twist which has been out there since 1938 I won’t spoil things as there are plenty of other elements to do that in this mostly pointless exercise already.

The biggest mystery is why this film was made at all.

RATING: 5/10

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]