Why a new Rebecca adaptation now? We try to figure it out, comparing Ben Wheatley’s version to Daphne Du Maurier’s novel, Hitchcock’s classic film, and the 1997 miniseries. We discuss actor choices, character agency, and pandering to modern audiences.
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This episode features Executive Editor Orla Smith, Editor at Large Mary Angela Rowe, and special guest Caitlin Merriman.
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In Rebecca, a young unnamed woman has a whirlwind romance with the wealthy Maxim de Winter, owner of famous estate Manderley. Manderley’s housekeeper Mrs. Danvers constantly compares the protagonist to Maxim’s deceased wife, Rebecca. Slowly it becomes clear to the protagonist that Rebecca’s death was more sinister than it first appeared…
The 1940 version, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, stars Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier as Maxim de Winter, and Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers. It is only available on DVD and Blu-ray.
The 1997 television miniseries, directed by Jim O’Brien, stars Emilia Fox, Charles Dance as Maxim de Winter, and Diana Rigg as Mrs. Danvers. It is streaming on Hoopla in Canada and the US
The 2020 version, directed by Ben Wheatley, stars Lily James, Armie Hammer as Maxim de Winter, and Kristin Scott Thomas as Mrs. Danvers. It is streaming on Netflix.
- Watch Joan Fontaine’s screen test and Vivien Leigh’s screen test
- Listen to Caitlin’s other podcast appearances discussing adaptations: Secret Garden, Emma, and Little Women
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- Purchase your Kelly Reichardt or Céline Sciamma mug
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