Rebecca Movie Vs The Novel Essay Research

Rebecca Movie Vs. The Novel Essay, Research Paper


Rebecca, a classic suspense novel written by Daphne Du Maurier is considered one

of the finest Gothic romance of the 20th century. It was first published in 1938, and

became immediate best seller. Alfred Hitchcock gave it a yet wider audience when he

made it into a memorable motion picture. Starring Laurence Oliver as Maxim de Winter

and Joan Fontaine as Mrs. de Winter, the black and white version of the movie, was based

on the book. The book and the movie are not very much alike, in fact, they are in several

ways different. Nonetheless, most of the movie followed the book closely, however, many

important scenes from the book were not presented in the movie version. Moreover, some

details that made the book very interesting to read, were absent in the movie. Therefore,

the book was more interesting and enjoyable due to its detailed Gothic settings and the

suspense that made reader part of it.

The book is about a young, shy girl who worked as a ?paid companion? for a

wealthy woman, Mrs. Van Hopper. On their trip to Monte Carlo the narrator met Maxim

de Winter, one of the wealthiest people in England. Maxim?s late wife, Rebecca was said

to be drowned in the sea while sailing. Thus, he wanted to find a new wife who could make

the Manderely, Maxims huge and Gothic estate, lively again. Finally over a short period of

time they got married and left Monte. After their honeymoon in Venice they went to

Manderley where mystery and loneliness awaited the new Mrs. de Winter. Maxims

housekeeper, the evil Mrs. Danvers was adore of dead Rebecca and did not want anyone

taking the place of her. Consequently, she tried to get rid of the narrator. Rebecca?s

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presence was felt everywhere. Anything the narrator touched, anything she did she felt

dead Rebecca?s soul haunting her. One day divers found the capsized boat in which

Rebecca drowned. After investigation the evidence showed that she was killed and the

boat was intentionally sunk. Maxim and Rebecca were not happy living together, and

they always had tension between them, because Rebecca always had lovers other than

Max. Who could have done it? The evidence strongly pointed at Maxim. The only thing

that he and his new wife could do was to come up with a motive to show that Rebecca

committed suicide. They did, because Rebecca?s doctor had records that she was

diagnosed with cancer. At the end of the story Mrs. Danvers set Manderley on fire,

because she could not stand Maxim and his new wife living happily together.

The book and the movie follow same story quite well. They have many similarities

in common. For example, they both start with the scene of the long twisted driveway

leading to the ruins of Manderley. Another similarity is the part where Mrs. Van Hopper,

the narrator and Maxim first meet and have coffee together. Their dialogue in this scene is

identical to the book, and also the setting described in the book is represented on the movie

quite well. The part where the narrator accidantely knocks of the vase during the

breakfast is clearly illustrated in the movie as well as in the book. The characters of

Maxim and Mrs. de Winter are well presented the way they are in the novel. For instance,

the narrator is shown as a shy young girl with low self esteem throughout the movie

exactly the way it is described in the book. Also in both the movie and the book Mrs.

Danvers is clearly portrayed as very evil and spooky character. Reading the book one can

clearly visualize her character through Du Maurie?s description, as it was clearly

presented in the movie. In addition, the scene where Mrs. de Winter prepares her

costume for the dance ball that she arranged, was identical to that of described in the

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book. Although, many instances in the movie are very similar to the book, the novel gives

the reader fuller understanding and better mental picture of the settings and characters.

Despite some similarities in the movie that closely followed the book, there are

also numerous differences between the two. Hitchcock mostly focuses on the main story,

and does not emphasize many important details that make the story a little different. For

instance the movie begins with Maxim standing on the cliff looking down, where as the

book begins from the hotel conversation between Maxim and Van Hopper. Another

difference is that duMaurier tells the reader about the apology note that the narrator

received from Maxim, but the movie does not even mention it. Furthermore, some scenes

happen in different order than in the novel. The part where the narrator mentions her

experience with the Manderley picture was a perfect example of this. In the book she tells

Maxim about the post-card of Manderley during their first lunch together, whereas, in the

movie she mentions it in the park. One of very important symbolic objects was not

mentioned in the movie at all. The book that the narrator received from Maxim which had

a poem written in it about Max?s miserable life, was well talked about in the book.

Skipping ahead in the book, she introduces the reader to Maxim?s old grandmother who

was also adore of Rebecca. However, in the movie this does not happen at all. Moreover, in

the book when Mrs. de Winter meets Jack Fawell, he shows his new sports car to the

narrator, but in the movie his car is not even mentioned. Several times throughout the

novel guests visit the Manderley, but in the movie no one is seen visiting the place but

Beatrice, Maxim?s sister. As compared to the book on which the movie was based, many

important details are ignored, and some important scenes are not shown in the movie.

Although, both the movie and the book are very good and interesting, the novel is

better in many ways. One of the reasons is because Du Maurier describes the settings so

well that even motion picture could do it hardly as good. The description of the Gothic style

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of Manderley is not well presented in the movie. Also the suspense of the book is more

tense than the movie. Hitchcock, on the other hand, changes the novel in some ways in

the movie. For example, he does not introduce some characters, and he rearranges some

events from the book and illeminats many important scenes. In addition, the movie does

not emphasize on Rebecca?s constant haunting presence within the dark walls of

Manderley. Leaving out important details makes the movie less preferable compared to

the book.

The novel Rebecca , by Daphne Du Maurier and the movie by Alfred Hitchcock

based on this novel, have many similarities as well as noticeable differences. The book

has many preferences over the movie. One reason is that Du Maurier describes everything

very clearly and detailed, whereas, the movie constantly ignores many details. Both the

movie and the book follow the same story very well. They both start of with the drive

through the twisted driveway to Manderley. Also dialogue in the movie was almost

identical to the book in many scenes. Despite the similarities in the story, the detailed

novel and comparably short movie, had many major differences. The movie does not

mention Maxim?s old grandmother as it is in the book. Furthermore, many details that

presented the Gothic feeling in the book were absent in the movie. Hence, the novel seemed

more interesting and preferable to read. Not always a movie comes out to be better than

the book.


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