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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the book
I watched the first half of Rebecca back in 1997 on PBS. I immediately found the book and read it in a day. The next Sunday night I watched the second half. The film brought the characters to life in a way that no other movie had. Charles Dance is simply amazing as Maxim de Winter. He is very believable as the tormented widower of Rebecca. Emilia Fox is charming as the...
Published on 17 Sep 2002 by Emily Hope Malone

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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Charles Dance/Emilia Fox Version - Disappointing if you've read the book!
Note: This is a good film, however I only gave it 3 stars because it was not a true adaptation of the book.

I as well have viewed both this 1997 version and the Hitchcock version and have to say, the Hitchcock has the upper hand. I don't deny that the cast of the 1997 version are very good, however, in my opinion they're not right for these specific parts...
Published on 12 Oct 2007 by Annie Tiddles


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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Charles Dance/Emilia Fox Version - Disappointing if you've read the book!, 12 Oct 2007
This review is from: Rebecca [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
Note: This is a good film, however I only gave it 3 stars because it was not a true adaptation of the book.

I as well have viewed both this 1997 version and the Hitchcock version and have to say, the Hitchcock has the upper hand. I don't deny that the cast of the 1997 version are very good, however, in my opinion they're not right for these specific parts.

Overall, I found this version a little disappointing, and, if I dare say, a little insulting to Du Maurier's talents. There were a few pointless scenes and a few that were changed slightly - for example the point when the main character (Fox) tells Mrs Van Hopper she is going to marry Maxim didn't actually happen in the novel, and it was in fact Maxim who told Van Hopper.

The added scenes which don't appear in the book, such as when they are in the Monte Carlo cafe and on the cruise during their honeymoon, unnecessary to the story, and the time they spent on them could have been put to better use by staying truer to the novel.

I felt that Charles Dance, as fine an actor as he is, was a little to old to play Maxim de Winter, his hair was too light and his features were too kind - in the novel he is described as a dark, brooding man. Emilia Fox, another fine actress, I felt was not as shy as she perhaps could have been.

I felt a little robbed of my 189 minutes spent watching this. Again, I will not deny that it is a good film, but if you've read the book its a disappointment. For a film that is 3 hours long, I personally believe that it could have stayed truer to the book.

So, in my honest opinion, if you've read the book, go for the Hitchcock version, but if you want a good film this isn't that bad at all!
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Concerning both BBC versions and the feature film, 23 Aug 2007
This review is from: Rebecca [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
Having viewed this (1997), the Hitchcock, and the older (1979?) BBC versions, and having read the novel umpteen times, I have to vote for the older BBC as the best version.

As regards this version: Charles Dance is certainly a fine actor,as are all the cast, but I found him just a bit too old (Maxim is only 42), and too fair (the second wife comments a number of times on his dark features). Jeremy Brett, the earlier BBC Maxim, was in my opinion the exact embodiment of the character, and gave him the appropriate broodiness.

Emilia Fox, while looking the part of Maxim's shy second wife, wasn't quite innocent enough (innocence is the main quality that attracts Maxim in view of Rebecca's complete lack of it). There was a glint of "knowingness" in her eye from almost the very beginning. Fox's mother, Joanna David, played the wife in the earlier version, and she was not only physically perfect for the role, but she managed to imbue the character with exactly the right amount of innocence and insecurity without the mannerisms of Joan Fontaine (who is too pretty).

I can't think why recent writers of literary film adaptions feel they must include at least one scene in which the hero and heroine are "rolling in the hay" (witness the most recent adaption of "Jane Eyre" with Toby Stephens) unless it's to attract fans of bodice-ripper fiction; I find it a bit off-putting if it isn't actually in the novel, and also a bit insulting to my intelligence and rather active imagination.

I thought Faye Dunaway seriously miscast as Mrs. Hopper, and her hamminess stood out in a most glaring fashion among the other performances in the production.

I am a great admirer of Diana Rigg, but in this role I prefer both Judith Anderson (Hitchcock) and Anna Massey (1979), neither of whom are as beautiful (no insult intended!) as Rigg, and I never thought of Mrs. Danvers as aesthetically pleasing in any way.

My biggest gripe with this version is seeing glimpses of Rebecca herself (a mouth here, back of the head there). SAD mistake. Du Maurier took great pains to keep Rebecca shrouded in mystery for as long as possible; even the few physical facts she gives us ("tall and slim, with that cloud of dark hair and the face of a Botticelli angel") comes through other characters as secondhand information. The second wife's fragile if not non-existent ego, and the constant undermining of her confidence, depends largely on the INDISTINCT picture she has of her glamorous predecessor, which sends her imagination into a frenzy. All this serves to illustrate that evil is much more potent when unseen.

Of course, due to time constraints, the Hitchcock leaves much of the novel out and condenses other parts; this version, on the other hand, adds scenes between Maxim and his wife that are nowhere to be found in the novel, and really don't add much to the story. In fact, I found them detrimental to the over-all pace. I especially object to the fabricated conversation between the two after the fancy dress ball. It would have preserved the dramatic tension much better had they stuck with du Maurier's idea that the wife doesn't get a chance to speak to Maxim until the all-important confession scene. ***SPOILER ALERT*** And why on earth does he strangle Rebecca, when he shoots her in the novel?

In conclusion, my opinion is that of the three versions, the 1979 BBC is the best, and gives us almost the entire novel on film. And the extensive use of Debussy in the musical score is brilliant. Too bad it isn't available on DVD.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the book, 17 Sep 2002
By 
Emily Hope Malone (Louisville, Kentucky United States) - See all my reviews
I watched the first half of Rebecca back in 1997 on PBS. I immediately found the book and read it in a day. The next Sunday night I watched the second half. The film brought the characters to life in a way that no other movie had. Charles Dance is simply amazing as Maxim de Winter. He is very believable as the tormented widower of Rebecca. Emilia Fox is charming as the second Mrs de Winter. She brings the innocence of the character to life on the screen. She makes the audience, and especially the female audience, sympathize with her. The chemistry between Dance and Fox is perhaps the strongest aspect of the film. The two play off of each other as though they truly were the characters. I highly recommend this film to anyone. It is a magnificent story with many twists and turns. Five stars for Rebecca.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars delightful, 3 Mar 2004
By A Customer
I was extremely happy to order this new version of Rebecca; the first reason is that I already new the book and first Hitchcock's version, and I wondered if the second one would be as interesting as the first. I confess I was not disappointed.
The second one was that my choice was guided by the choice of Charles Dance as Max de Winter; indeed this wonderful actor is too often restricted to acting evil or dangerous characters whereas he is surprisngly convincing in the part of an attractive gentleman; pity he didn't play that part more often; his face and eyes are remarkably mobile and expressive. Emilia Fox (I suppose she is the daughter of James Fox, is also remarkable in the role of an ingenuous young girl.
Everything in the film pleases me, music, setting, characters...
I strongly recommend it to the lovers of art and literature
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect casting, 24 April 2009
By 
Jo Bennie (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Rebecca [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
I watched this first when I read Rebecca at unversity and loved the combination of the dark slightly sinister portrayl of de Winter by Dance and Fox, who brilliantly portrayed the young Mrs de Winter's journey from innocent to painfully aware and carries it in her face at the end of the film. I found Diana Rigg's portrayl of the housekeeper a bit hammy but still plenty and enough to send shivers up my spine. Beautifully made.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REVIEW OF THE CHARLES DANCE/DIANA RIGG/EMILIA FOX TV VERSION, 29 Jun 2007
By 
Scots Lass (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Rebecca [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
As another reviewer said, most of the comments on this page relate to the Hitchcock 1940's film version - not sure why!? So my title is in capitals so any reader will know which version I am reviewing.

This is a sublime version of an excellent book - and unlike the classic film is sticks closely to the story - particularly with regard to the death of Rebecca and the role of her husband, Max in what happened. Having said that, it is still not precisely as written in the book, but it is better than the film version which shies away from the truth. And the truth of what happened is central to the shift in the relationship between Maxim and his second, much younger wife.

Emilia Fox is perfect as the shy, awkward, paid companion to ageing socialite Mrs Van Hopper (Faye Dunaway, having a ball!)who meets reclusive widower Max De Winter (Charles Dance) in Monte Carlo in the 1920's. A whirlwind romance follows and on marriage the couple return to his beloved Cornish home, Manderley. Welcomed by Max's jolly hockey sticks sister (Geraldine James), the new bride (she does not have a first name!) finds the presence of housekeeper Mrs Danvers (Diana Rigg - all but rising through the floorboards like a panto demon) a chilling reminder of the first Mrs De Winter, the 'perfect' Rebecca. The new Mrs De Winter is unsophisticated and although that is what captured the heart of her brooding husband, she struggles to come up to his expectations - or what she perceives them to be - in a series of gauche social disasters.

A fancy dress ball, a ship wreck and a hidden crime bring this drama to a fine conclusion, the first 90 minutes having set the scene perfectly with the characters coming alive on screen and the scenery of Cornwall shown at its most lovely.

If you enjoyed the book - and smart at the alterations made in the Hitchcock film - you will find this version all the more rewarding.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars charles dance is mr dewinter, 9 Jun 2000
By A Customer
i saw this on television and thought it was wonderful. ive read the book so many times over the years and i thought this version was so true to the book. charles dance is perfect as the hero.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Classic!, 13 Aug 2007
By 
S. K. Horrocks "stevoatash" (Prestwich, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rebecca [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
This review relates to the 1997 film starring Charles Dance and Emilia Fox. It is totally puzzling why most of the other reviews concern the original version, but never mind!

I borrowed this from a library, but was so impressed I have bought a copy for myself. Charles Dance is superb as the brooding, tortured aristocrat, Maxim de Winter, who attempts to find love and contentment with his second wife (Emilia Fox) after the tragic loss of his first spouse, the much admired and beautiful Rebecca. His charming, but shy, new wife struggles to cope with the demands of her new role, a situation made worse by the constant interference of the obsessive housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (terrific portrayal by Diana Rigg) whose devotion to her first mistress reaches beyond the grave!

A terrific supporting cast includes Geraldine James, Timothy West and Faye Dunaway. Some remakes are a total disappointment, but this is pure class and the scenery is absolutely stunning. Highly recommended to all!
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Adapting a great novel - you're doing it wrong., 11 April 2010
This review is from: Rebecca [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
This is a truly dreadful adaptaion of Rebecca! Of all the films of this story, this is definately the worst. First of all: miscasting, miscasting, miscasting! On no planet should Charles Dance play Maxim de Winter. He is way too old (the character is 42) not in my opinion attractive - all I could think when I saw him was 'ew'. And is acting is stale and shows he has little understanding of the character. I disliked Emilia Fox as Mrs de Winter 2 because she seemed too 'knowing' - something others have pointed out, but it's true - there was a lack of innocence to the character. Faye Dunaway as Mrs van Hopper was hilarious! A completely different take on the character as written - here, she is actually quite fun and has a very naughty streak about her - as well as being boozy, she sets out to try and seduce Maxim herself - she comes out with some very funny lines; for instance, she tells the not-yet-Mrs de Winter2 that one of the waiters in the restaurant is hot enough to hop in bed with and the not-yet-Mrs de Winter2 just makes a face and gives a surley look. Mrs van H. complains that she's no fun. Mrs van Hopper comes across as loads of fun, which she's not supposed to (I'd happily hang out with her, paid or not). So the character is all wrong, but the only interesting performance here. Diana Rigg as Mrs Danvers: on paper, I'm sure this seemed like a good idea. However, it just doesn't work. She seems too old and, well, frail. Not threatening at all. Just a bit odd, and she has this 'look' which must be her stock 'crazy' look, which mainly involves raising her eyebrows and shaking her head. It just makes her look senile. Nothing subtle about it. Also not subtle was how they portrayed her as a raging lesbian.
The rooms in Manderley seemed really small for some reason, and they were really dark and rather ugly - Manderley is supposed to be incredibly beautiful, esp Rebecca's room, which again seemed small and dark and not a feminine room at all. That's one thing the Hitchcock version did really well, the depiction of Rebecca's room. It is after all supposed to be 'the most beautiful room you've ever seen'. The beauty of Manderley, inside and out, did not come across in this.
I also think they were very wrong to show Rebecca. She is supposed to be left to the imagination. She is supposed to be perfect, and you should be left to imagine what she is like, just like Mrs de Winter 2. As it was, I wasn't that impressed with her. Also not sure what the point of Maxim strangling her instead of shooting her was. He took the gun there, after all. And what is with the last scenes, with Maxim rescuing Mrs Danvers from the house?? Where on earth did that come from? If they were going to add something like that to the story, they should at least have resolved it, as we still don't know what happens to Mrs Danvers. And why will there be no children? Was it the fall down the stairs, or did Mrs D come to after Maxim drags her out of the house and rip his balls off? We don't know! In the book, she packs up and leaves, setting fire to the house on her way out (we assume it was her, the book does not specify). Arrrgghhh!
One thing I did like was Jonathan Cake as Jack Favell. He came across exactly as I think he should do. Geraldine James as Beatrice was not bad either.
Overall, I think they got it very wrong - the atmosphere is all wrong, the air of psychological torment and gripping Gothic drama is missing from this completely.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Story, 10 July 2014
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This review is from: Rebecca [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
A very good DVD,
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