Hi, Meredith. Thanks for sharing this information. I went to the site (which is brilliantly bizarre) and found the DVD's. Have you seen them? Are they better quality than you tube? - Martin LewisonHitchcock Got “Rebecca” Dead Wrongon 8/13/17 @ 5:39
I too just re-read Rebecca for the first time since I was a teenager, some forty odd years ago. It's wonderful the added depth that I see in it now. I plan to see the Hitchcock movie, and I must thank you for drawing my attention to the 1979 series. I watched the first half hour, and it is very true to the style and mood of the book, and certainly the casting of the leads is perfect. I'll be interested to see the rest, especially how they deal with Manderly. I also saw a little of the 'Masterpiece Theatre' version. Hum! There's a motel chain in France called 'Première Classe', which provides accommodation in the most ugly, cheap pre-fabricated concrete boxes imaginable, and I feel the word 'Masterpiece' is applied in the same optimistic spirit to this piece of TV theatre. - Martin LewisonHitchcock Got “Rebecca” Dead Wrongon 8/13/17 @ 5:28
You may indeed love to learn. What you don't appear to love is having to learn anything from anyone else that runs counter to what you've already written. While you've crafted a nice little analogy in which you've decided the best way to break unwelcome [but factual] news is through one-on-one contact with the right person at the right time, it fails on several levels - and not just because, ironically, you actually tried to be the guy who thought it would be fine to drop an unwelcome revelation among the faithful (only with the kicker of not getting your facts straight first). Sorry, but there's no "waiting for an appropriate time/person/opportunity" to present bad news on a webpage, so your analogy is yet still another instruction about how one should tiptoe around your ego to let you save face. There's no other way I could have told you on a webpage that your entire statement was wrong except to tell you that it was. I'm sorry you were wrong. I'm sorry that I took your comment seriously enough to show you how you could have misunderstood the circumstances of the situation, and then to explain the facts of the matter. Far from claiming to be some uber-historian using some arcane facts to unfairly smite you with, I even disclosed that this information can be easily found and verified elsewhere - which I guess could be more bruising if you want to take it that way, but since you were so freaked that I would presume to unleash all these unfair, insider facts on you, what the hell. I used no insults, I didn't defame your ancestry, I didn't tell you you shouldn't be posting here, nor did I call you stupid, dumb or worthless - all I did was I tell you that you were wrong. End of story. If you feel you weren't treated respectfully enough because the delivery wasn't sufficiently soothing, delicate or delivered by personal note on scented paper so as to let you down ever-so-easily, then I suggest you take your own advice. Grow up. - Meredith StrangonHitchcock Got “Rebecca” Dead Wrongon 7/20/17 @ 10:52
My last comment to you...I love to learn. I have no problem with someone correcting me or educating me. What I have a problem with is someone being so condescending while they do it.
History is important. Film history, American history, world history... it's all important. But there are ways that are more appropriate to approach someone if you want them to hear that history. For example, if I went into a Lincoln's day celebration and started talking about how he worked his entire adult life to deport all blacks, how do you think that would go over? But if I waited for an appropriate time, an appropriate conversation, with an appropriate person and had that conversation, we could have a productinve dialog that might offend neither of us. See? It's in the delivery, not the facts. Facts are great. But they need to be delivered in a way that makes the hearer feel like they have the opportunity to learn something rather than being chasized for something.
This is so childish. If it makes you feel better, I'm an idiot. You reign supreme as the film history buff to be topped by none other, certainly not me. My opinions are worthless, my reports that I've read are worthless, and I shall never again relay them on this site. I had no right to post anything to begin with because it only proved how stupid I am. Only you have the final say in what happened in the world of film history.
Feel better? This topic isn't that important to me. How I'm treated, is.
I'm done. Grow up. - TadonHitchcock Got “Rebecca” Dead Wrongon 7/18/17 @ 1:26
Wait - the supposed revelations in your "trivial" comment would have only served to kneecap the entire premise of this post - but now you "didn't try to refute anything"? Let me ask you - if you saw condescension in my bothering to respond to you by telling you exactly how you had things backward, just how do you think that "With all due respect, the butchering was at the hand of Selznick, not Hitchcock" comes across, if not incredibly patronizing, especially when you couldn't be bothered to be sure of your facts? Because using "it's my understanding" at the end as a disclaimer simply means you can't actually cite your sources - what it *doesn't* mean is that everything you just wrote wasn't written to contradict someone.
Since you cared enough to comment in the first place, before you decided it was so trivial, I took you seriously enough to give you the facts and show where part of your confusion (aka "understanding") could have come from. It's actually an interesting story, because if Hitchcock had been capable of understanding his subject matter as much as Selznick did, he might have been able to work with him and rise above Joan Fontaine's smirking to create a better film, but I fear all you got from that was that your understanding, ego or whatever didn't like being contradicted.
As for "passionate" and "invested" - come on, would you classify the level of "passion" or "investment" that the author of this post displays as something that you'd only expect if she, personally, were involved in the creation of each one of these adaptations? What I posted is not only knowledge that anyone who's studied film history is aware of, but the details are ones that you could have easily researched online for yourself - so why should you be "shocked" that find out that there's more to the topic (that you yourself introduced), than you initially thought? I think the translation here is more along the lines of: "I didn't expect anyone to tell me I was wrong, in such detail, and really I don't like being disagreed with." That may be an unfair characterization, but with all the defensiveness and backpedaling, that's how it comes across. - Meredith StrangonHitchcock Got “Rebecca” Dead Wrongon 7/18/17 @ 3:44
lol I'm not the one who's 'huffy' and acting immature, and certainly not defensive. I was just shocked that I received such a passionate, detailed, numbered (?) response to such a trivial comment. I didn't realize that anyone, except maybe the people who were a part of the film, were that invested in it....and that's what I mean by that word. You being so adamant about it was very off-putting.
You could have responded to my comment without being so condescending... well, maybe you can't.
I didn't try to refute anything. I very clearly said 'it's my understanding', as I see that you read.
Whatever... I'm going to go play with the grown ups now. - TadonHitchcock Got “Rebecca” Dead Wrongon 7/18/17 @ 1:41
I'm not "upset" - quite the contrary. Sorry the comment went to stereo, but really, now. If you're going to go to the trouble of trying to refute the entire premise of this 4-year-old post with what turns out to be inaccurate information, who's the one with the real "investment" here? Even if part of it was couched as "your understanding," do you really think that becoming defensive and huffy if someone dares to tell you that you're wrong is a mature way to react? - Meredith StrangonHitchcock Got “Rebecca” Dead Wrongon 7/17/17 @ 11:40
Wow!! Ok. I'm sorry that I upset you so much. I didn't realize that you had so much invested in this. Dang!
I said 'it was my understanding', and it was. I didn't state it as absolute fact. Wow! - TadonHitchcock Got “Rebecca” Dead Wrongon 7/17/17 @ 8:39
Just...no. You have it completely backwards, along with a few misconceptions.
First, Selznick bought the book with the notion of filming it faithfully - he wanted the gloom and sense of foreboding that was part and parcel of a faithful adaption. It was Hitchcock, who'd only read it in rough galley form, who assumed he'd be given free rein to make a Hitchcock "suspense" film, which also meant downplaying the romantic and Gothic overtones. Hitchcock was the one who pushed for departures from the novel, wanting to resort to comic scenes to heighten suspense (as he'd done in earlier films) which would have destroyed that Gothic feel. The fact that in later years he denounced the film, stating that: "The fact is, the story lacks humor" should really tell you all you need to know about whether he *ever* had a good grasp of the book.
Second, rather than Selznick butchering with the script, it was Hitchcock who reworked the original treatment with novelist Philip MacDonald and Joan Harrison (his secretary, who later become his aide/scenarist). The trio made so many unsatisfactory changes, like a comic bit in which Maxim's cigar makes people seasick, as well as including a bunch of friends (more comic relief) to what was supposed to be that solitary Riviera trip, that in Sezlnick's eyes they cheapened the script. This prompted one of his more famous rejection memos, a 10 pager that starts out: “I am shocked and disappointed beyond words." and instructs Hitchcock that: "We bought Rebecca and we intend to make Rebecca."
The reference you make to "cut out scenes" actually refers to this treatment, NOT the finished film. Hitchcock did as Selznick ordered, and adhered to the book - this second treatment attempt was by Hitchcock working with his wife, Alma Reville, along with Michael Hogan, a British writer/actor.
Third, the main problem that hasn't been addressed here was that any treatment, and especially an ending, that was faithful to the book flew in the face of the Hayes Production Code. Basically, a film in which Maxim de Winter was allowed go unpunished for the murder of his first wife - no matter how evil she was - would never have been released, no matter what Hitchcock's "protests" were. Nor could Rebecca be allowed to essentially commit suicide by goading her husband into killing her. Dramatist Robert E. Sherwood was brought in by Selznick to "fix" the ending - and the only acceptable outcome, no matter how much Selznick might have wanted that faithful adaptation, was to have Rebecca die accidentally, hitting her head on ship's tackle. Meh - so much for Gothic.
Hitchcock knew exactly what he was working with, and in addition had almost total control of the finished film since he didn't adhere to the usual practice of filming several completed shots of each scene to allow for a variety of ways to cut it. He had his final cut already worked out before shooting, so that he only filmed exactly what he planned to use in the film. In fact, Selznick was totally freaked out by this process and almost considered tanking the project; his wife had to convince him that the film was excellent (well, given the script constraints the Code had imposed, that is). - Meredith StrangonHitchcock Got “Rebecca” Dead Wrongon 7/17/17 @ 5:05
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