Rebecca

Dramatic adaptations

Radio

The first adaptation of Rebecca for any medium was presented December 9, 1938, by Orson Welles, as the debut program of his live CBS radio series, The Campbell Playhouse (the sponsored continuation of The Mercury Theatre on the Air). Introducing the story, Welles refers to the forthcoming motion picture adaptation by David O. Selznick; at the conclusion of the show he interviews Daphne du Maurier in London via shortwave radio. The novel was adapted by Howard E. Koch.[15]:348

Welles and Margaret Sullavan starred as Max de Winter and the second Mrs. de Winter. Other cast included Mildred Natwick (Mrs. Danvers), Ray Collins (Frank Crawley), George Coulouris (Captain Searle), Frank Readick (the Idiot), Alfred Shirley (Frith), Eustace Wyatt (Coroner) and Agnes Moorehead (Mrs. Van Hopper).[16][17] Bernard Herrmann composed and conducted the score, which later formed the basis of his score for the 1943 film, Jane Eyre.[18]:67

Film

Rebecca has been adapted several times. The best known of these is the Academy Award winning 1940 Alfred Hitchcock film version Rebecca, the first film Hitchcock made under his contract with David O. Selznick. The film, which starred Sir Laurence Olivier as Max, Joan Fontaine as the heroine, and Dame Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers, was based on the novel. However, the Hollywood Production Code required that if Max had murdered his wife, he would have to be punished for his crime. Therefore, the key turning point of the novel – the revelation that Max, in fact, murdered Rebecca – was altered so that it seemed as if Rebecca's death was accidental. At the end of the film version, Mrs. Danvers perishes in the fire, which she had started. The film quickly became a classic and, at the time, was a major technical achievement in film-making.

The 1964 Hindi movie Kohra was inspired by Rebecca.

In 2012, it was reported that [19] a remake/new adaptation of Rebecca is in the works and will be produced by DreamWorks. The script is expected to be written by Steven Knight.[20]

Television

Rebecca has been adapted for television both by the BBC and by Carlton Television. The 1979 BBC version starred Jeremy Brett as Maxim, Joanna David as the second Mrs. de Winter; it was broadcast in the United States on PBS as part of its Mystery! series. The 1997 Carlton production starred Emilia Fox (Joanna David's daughter) in the same role, Charles Dance as de Winter, and Dame Diana Rigg as Mrs. Danvers; it was broadcast in the United States by PBS as part of its Masterpiece Theatre series.

Theatre

Du Maurier herself adapted Rebecca as a stage play in 1939; it had a successful London run in 1940 of over 350 performances.[21][22]

On 28 September 2006 a musical version of Rebecca premièred at the Raimund Theater in Vienna, Austria. The new musical was written by Michael Kunze (book and lyrics) and Sylvester Levay (music) and directed by the American director Francesca Zambello. The cast includes Uwe Kröger as Max de Winter, Wietske van Tongeren as "Ich" ("I", the narrator) and Susan Rigvava-Dumas as Mrs. Danvers. Before 2008 there was talk of moving the musical to the Broadway stage, but the original plans were cancelled due to the complexity of the sets, scenery, and special effects – including a grand staircase that twirls down into the stage and a finale in which the entire stage – including Mrs. Danvers – is engulfed in flames. The musical was scheduled to open on Broadway on 18 November 2012, with Jill Paice as "I", Ryan Silverman as Max de Winter, and Karen Mason as Mrs. Danvers, but funding difficulties led to last-minute cancellation.

British theatre company Punchdrunk's production Sleep No More is partially based on Rebecca. For example, the bar in the McKittrick hotel, where Sleep No More is set, is called the Manderley and many characters and scenes have their basis in the novel.

Opera

Rebecca was adapted as an opera with music by Wilfred Josephs, premiered by Opera North in Leeds, England, 15 October 1983.[23]


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