A round-up of the articles that we published on the Daphne du Maurier website surrounding the new adaptation of Rebecca
The official movie poster
Way back in November 2018 the Daphne du Maurier website News Page announced the exciting fact that a new adaptation of Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier's most famous novel, was to be made. It was to be a collaboration between Working Title and Netflix. Lily James and Armie Hammer had been signed for the leading roles, and the film was to be directed by Ben Wheatley with a screenplay by Jane Goldman.
Since then, much has been written about this film. For months we all watch in anticipation for little nuggets of information. From time to time we heard something new – Kristin Scott Thomas had been signed to play Mrs Danvers. Filming of the 'Rebecca beach' scene was taking place at Hartland Quay, Devon. The Manderley Ball was being filmed at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. There were many snippets of information. As news came through, we kept you up to date with what was happening, until finally we had a date and knew that we could watch the film on Netflix from 21st October 2020.
The heat was really on by this time with articles and features being published almost daily in the run-up to the release date. Then the movie was here, and the reviews poured in. Many people found fault; reviews were not great. There seemed to be a need for everyone to compare this new movie with the 1940 Hitchcock version. At the website, we asked viewers to watch it for itself, a contemporary, and vibrant film for the 21st century. We encouraged people not to compare it with other adaptations and to try to understand that an adaptation will never be the book.
We selected articles and reviews to give a wide, and if possible positive view-point of the new film. Now that the dust has settled and things surrounding the film are calmer, we have decided to put those news items together, as a single feature, in our Interesting Facts section, making them easy to find for future reference.
So here we are. We have chosen ten articles from the pieces reported on at the time. Each piece has been selected to take you from the pre-screening comments to the reviews. Two items are less directly concerned with the film itself, but would possibly not otherwise have been published. Sometimes the link will take you through to a complete article and sometimes it will take you to a short resume and a further link to another publication. At the time of publishing (December 2020), all links were working.
We begin with an article that was published by Vanity Fair in September 2020. Grace Browning, Daphne du Maurier's granddaughter, pointed this article out to me, and I have to agree with her, it is excellent and informative, introducing us to the potential of the new film. It includes a video of the trailer. https://www.dumaurier.org/news_details.php?id=675&nc=2
The cover of the tv tie-in paperback
At the beginning of October, we were able to announce that Daphne du Maurier's current publisher Virago were about to launch a tv tie-in edition of Rebecca, a must for all super fans: https://www.dumaurier.org/news_details.php?id=684&nc=2
Young Ned with Daphne
Inspired by the new adaptation of his grandmothers most iconic novel, Ned Browning wrote a beautiful article for Tatler Magazine on 12th October, in which he reminisced about his childhood holidays in Cornwall. This is an article which, although not directly connected to the new movie, might never have been written without it. We were delighted to share this article with our readers: https://www.dumaurier.org/news_details.php?id=691&nc=2
Another movie poster
Creative writing graduate, author and blogger Suzi Bamblett contributed an article to our website in mid-October. Called Anticipation for Rebecca, Suzi outlined what she thought and hoped we might expect from the new movie and the things she would be looking for in this new adaptation: https://www.dumaurier.org/news_details.php?id=693&nc=2
Very few people got to see the new Rebecca film before the release date. You had to be very special to do so. Grace Browning, Daphne du Maurier's granddaughter, was one such person. She had been fortunate enough to go to Hatfield House on the day the Manderley Ball was filmed and then represented the family at a pre-release viewing. She very generously agreed to write her thoughts on the new adaptation exclusively for us at the Daphne du Maurier website: https://www.dumaurier.org/news_details.php?id=694&nc=2
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Tatiana de Rosnay and her biography of Daphne du Maurier
Franco-British novelist and good friend of the Daphne du Maurier website, Tatiana de Rosnay, is Daphne du Maurier's current biographer, as such she was also invited to see the new film pre-release. I interviewed her via a video link, just a few days before the film was screened, and shared that interview with you all on the website. Tatiana spoke so eloquently about the film, and her words went a long way towards preparing people for a new and very different version of the film, as Tatiana described its vibrant, fast paces story-telling, and asked people to put aside all thoughts, of past adaptations and to watch the new movie with an open mind: https://www.dumaurier.org/news_details.php?id=695&nc=2
Daphne du Maurier in 1938, the year that Rebecca was published
This article is the second of those not directly related to the new film, and one that would perhaps not have been written otherwise. In this fabulous piece, the author, Rose Staveley-Wadham tracks the passage of Daphne du Maurier's novel Rebecca from publication, to bestseller, to West End play and Oscar-winning movie, through use of material in newspapers, magazines and journals in the British Newspaper Archive: https://www.dumaurier.org/news_details.php?id=697&nc=2
Du Maurier expert, Laura Varnam, wrote a piece for 'The Conversation', an online news-base with articles written by academics and university researchers. In this piece, she tells us what this new 21st-century adaptation of Rebecca has to offer its audience and how it interprets the original story in a new and thought-provoking way: https://www.dumaurier.org/news_details.php?id=704&nc=2
The new movie received a lot of criticism, chiefly because people were spending a lot of energy on comparing it to the Hitchcock film from 80 years ago, ignoring the fact that it had not followed the storyline in all aspects either. In this interesting article, three of our website followers share their views on the Netflix adaptation of Rebecca: https://www.dumaurier.org/news_details.php?id=706&nc=2
It is hard to overstate the role that clothes play in Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. In this article, from Vogue, we see the cast of the novel brought to life through fashion: https://www.dumaurier.org/news_details.php?id=707&nc=2
At the Daphne du Maurier website we love the association that we have with the Daphne du Maurier Society of North America, so it gave me great pleasure to share with you all, their views on the new Rebecca movie and a super review from one of their members – Cindy Jones: https://www.dumaurier.org/news_details.php?id=717&nc=2
The new Netflix adaptation of Rebecca used many locations to capture the look and feel of Manderley. In Daphne du Maurier's famous novel, Manderley, the home of Maxim de Winter, his late wife Rebecca and then also home to his new second wife, is absolutely integral to the plot, another character within the story. This article from British Period Dramas includes text and a video that takes you to the various locations: https://www.dumaurier.org/news_details.php?id=719&nc=2
Ann Willmore, December 2020.