Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier – film adaptations

I was surfing Youtube when I happened upon the 1997 TV adaptation of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. The full length version.

I remember trying to read this novel when I was a teenager. I couldn’t finish it. So, I decided that I could at least watch a film adaptation. The 1997 adaptation starts Emilia Fox as the young wife. It wasn’t too bad. I did a little digging around and discover that Rebecca has been adapted several times, the earliest being 1940 starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine.

Besides the 1940 movie, there were the 1962, 1979, 1997 and apparently, an Italian version in 2008. What makes this novel such an interest to filmmakers? I suspect it is the suspense and the twist at the end of the story. Here’s a little list of all the adaptations as found in Youtube.


This movie version was produced in the US. As mentioned, it stars Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine.


I can only find a trailer of the 1962 TV adaptation filmed in the US starring James Mason and Joan Hackett.


This is the playlist for the TV version by Britain. Stars Jeremy Brett.


Starring Emilia Fox. Unfortunately, the Youtube videos have been taken down. I am glad I watched it when it was available ;P


2008 (Italian Version)

This version looks interesting. Unfortunately, the Youtube clip that I can find is dubbed into Russian. Quite strange to watch Italians sounding Russian.

I watched the 1940, 1979 and 1997 versions and couldn’t help making comparisons. Interestingly, all 3 began with the same scene, which is also how the book began. It testifies to Ms Du Maurier’s writing prowess when filmmakers need not “adapt” too much.

But what they did adapt is the negative self-talk and self-doubting that the female protagonist engage in throughout the book. I now remember why I couldn’t finish the book. Ms Du Maurier did a terrific job of developing her characters. But as a teenager, I couldn’t appreciate it. I thought the young wife whine too much about living in the shadow of a perfect dead wife.

Perhaps I might try reading Rebecca again or maybe I should listen to the audiobook.


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