The official Daphne du Maurier website, approved by her Estate
Video trailers for Rebecca (1940) and Don't Look Now (1973)
We have added two video trailers to our Video and Films page. They highlight what are probably the most iconic of the films adapted from Daphne du Maurier's writing. They are for the 1940 Hitchcock adaptation of Rebecca and Nicholas Roeg's fabulous adaptation of Don't Look Now from 1973.
The second Mrs de Winter and Maxim in a scene from Rebecca (1940)
Many people enjoy the classic black and white film Rebecca, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, more than any other adaptations of this work. Often, this is because people feel it stays most closely to the narrative of the book. David O. Selznick, the producer, certainly insisted that Hitchcock stay faithful to Daphne du Maurier's story, constantly checking that Hitchcock's direction followed the novel. The main area where this was not possible was regarding the character of Maxim de Winter, who,
shoots and kills Rebecca in the boathouse in the novel. In the film, Rebecca's death is an accident. Maxim strikes her, but she then trips and falls as she moves back towards him, hitting her head on a piece of boating tackle. This was because of the Motion Picture Production Code, commonly known as the Hays Code (after Will Hays). This code comprised a series of moral guidelines that governed what could be shown in a motion picture in the USA. Maxim, as the hero of the movie, could not go unpunished for the murder of Rebecca, so instead, her death is accidental. While this could easily have damaged the whole framework of the story, Hitchcock managed to stay within the Hays Code and bring the film to a convincing conclusion. This is carried out so well that it is remarkable how many people think the book and the film are precisely the same.
Don't Look Now
A promotional image for the film Don't Look Now (1973)
Don't Look Now is justifiably the film generated from Daphne's canon of work that her family are the proudest of. It is a superbly gripping film, which continues to instil fear and uncertainty into its viewers no matter how many times you watch it. The atmosphere in the tiny streets and beside the canals in Venice keeps you on the edge of your seat all the time as the tension of the complex plot builds.
Nichola Roeg made some changes to Daphne's novella, principally because Laura and John's daughter Christine drowns in the film but has died of meningitis in the book. The drowning makes for a much more exciting cinematographic experience. The film also included one of the most amazing sex scenes between a husband and wife of any movie ever. It has to be said that Daphne did not write that into the novella; however, it works brilliantly in the film!
The film Don't Look Now has never gone out of favour, and over the years, it has gained a significant cult following.
Click here to view both these trailers, then find time to sit down and enjoy the films. You won't be sorry, though you might be a little scared!