Alfred Hitchcock’s stock is rising again, over 30 years after his death. A remake of his 1940 Oscar-winning masterpiece Rebecca is set for a remake, and just landed a pretty decent director to help it along on its journey to the 21st Century.
Hitchcock had a busy 2012, despite being dead since 1980. A biopic starring Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren did kind of okay (better with critics than at the box office) while the television show Bates Motel (sort of a prequel series to 1960’s Psycho) is all the rage on A&E after just one episode.
Adapting Hitchcock films for a modern audience is a tall order. We all remember the poor performance of 1998’s Psycho (starring Vince Vaughn, of all people), which, even as a shot-for-shot remake of the original, didn’t impress critics or audiences.
But still, tackle another Hitchcock film Hollywood must, so here we are with the planned remake of Rebecca.
We’ll just assume you’ve never heard of Rebecca, so here are the cliff notes. Rebecca was Hitchcock’s first American film, and his first produced under contract with David O. Selznick. It is an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel of the same name, and follows Joan Fontaine as The Second Mrs. de Winter, who marries Laurence Olivier’s Maxim de Winter at the beginning of the film.
When the newlyweds return from their honeymoon to Manderley, de Winter’s English countryside mansion, the Second Mrs. de Winter becomes haunted by the lingering memories of her husband’s first wife, the titular “Rebecca.” Making matters worse is the antagonistic Mrs. Danvers (played by Judith Anderson), the housekeeper who makes every possible effort to preserve the memory of the first Mrs. de Winter.
The film won two Academy Awards, including Best Picture, out of 11 total nominations, and allayed any fears that Hitchcock would not find an audience in America.
The remake will be headed up by Nikolaj Arcel, who co-wrote the screenplay for the Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Steven Knight, the screenwriter for Eastern Promises is the film’s scribe.
Have you seen Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca? If you’re an old film fetishist, I’d personally recommend it. Oh heck, watch it here: