|My Cousin Rachel|
|Directed by||Henry Koster|
|Written by||Nunnally Johnson|
|Based on|| My Cousin Rachel |
by Daphne du Maurier
|Produced by||Nunnally Johnson|
|Starring|| Richard Burton |
Olivia de Havilland
|Edited by||Louis R. Loeffler|
|Music by||Franz Waxman|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$1.3 million (US rentals)|
My Cousin Rachel is a 1952 American mystery romance film directed by Henry Koster and starring Olivia de Havilland, Richard Burton, Audrey Dalton, Ronald Squire, George Dolenz and John Sutton. The film is based on the 1951 novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier.
Twentieth Century-Fox obtained the rights to film the novel, with Burton agreeing to star in a U.S. film for the first time. Production was troubled when du Maurier and original director George Cukor were dissatisfied with the adaptation, causing Cukor to leave the project.
My Cousin Rachel received some positive reviews upon its initial release, including for Burton's performance. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, while Burton won a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year.
On the coast of Cornwall, the boy Philip Ashley is raised by his older and wealthy cousin Ambrose on a large estate. When the weather in Cornwall threatens Ambrose's health, he leaves the estate for a warmer climate, making his way to Florence and leaving Philip behind with his godfather, Nick Kendall. In Florence, Ambrose decides to marry his cousin Rachel. However, back in Cornwall, Philip receives disturbing letters from Ambrose, complaining of Rachel's treatment as well as that of the physicians taking care of him. Mr. Kendall believes Ambrose unsound of mind, raising the possibility that he has inherited his deceased father's brain tumour. When Philip travels to Florence personally, he meets a man named Guido Rainaldi, who tells him Ambrose has died of a brain tumour, producing a death certificate as proof, and that his will left the Cornwall estate to him upon his 25th birthday. Rachel, who left Florence the day before Philip arrived, has inherited nothing and has made no claim on the estate. Unconvinced, Philip suspects Rachel of murder and vows revenge.
Months later, after returning to Cornwall, Philip is informed by Mr. Kendall that Rachel has arrived in Cornwall for a visit. He invites her to the house and discovers she is different from what he imagined – she is beautiful, ladylike, and kind. At the end of the weekend, when she intends to leave, he shows her Ambrose's letters and admits he planned to accuse her of wrongdoing; but since he no longer suspects her, he throws the letters in the fireplace to demonstrate his faith in her. He later instructs his executor, Mr. Kendall, to award Rachel an extraordinarily generous allowance of £5,000 per annum, suggesting the money is hers anyway. Rachel responds with gratitude and warmth and stays at the estate for an extended period, despite gossip. Yet when Mr. Kendall tells Philip that Rachel has overdrawn her accounts, and that in Florence she was notorious for "loose" living, Philip rejects Nick's warnings and instead turns over the entire estate to Rachel on his 25th birthday. When the day arrives, he solicits from her a vague romantic promise, which she gives, and they passionately kiss. However, the next day when Philip announces to his friends that he and Rachel are engaged to be wed, Rachel dismisses the announcement as lunacy. Rachel later tells Philip that her promise did not mean marriage, that she will never marry him, and she only showed him love the night before because of the wealth he gave her.
Emotionally devastated, Philip succumbs to bouts of fever and delirium, but Rachel nurses him back to health. In his fever, Philip imagines a wedding with Rachel, and wakes up three weeks later convinced they are married, and surprised to hear from the servants that she intends to move back to Florence. Before she leaves, Philip becomes convinced that Rachel is attempting to poison him and that she indeed murdered Ambrose. So great is his anger toward Rachel that he neglects to warn her about a foot bridge in need of repair at the edge of the estate. Instead, Philip and his friend Louise secretly rummage through Rachel's room for a letter from Rainaldi, assuming it will incriminate Rachel. Instead, upon discovering and reading the letter, they find out that Rainaldi merely discussed Rachel's affections for Philip and suggests she take Philip with him when visiting Florence. In the meantime, Philip finds Rachel has indeed suffered a fatal accident while crossing the unrepaired foot-bridge. With her last words, she asks Philip why he did not warn her of the danger. She then dies, leaving Philip to wonder for the rest of his life about his own implicit guilt as to the death of the innocent Rachel.
Daphne du Maurier's agent initially attempted to sell an adaptation of My Cousin Rachel for $100,000, as well as 5% of the international box office. This offer was rejected by every major studio, with Twentieth Century-Fox instead obtaining the rights in September 1951 for $80,000.Fox also secured George Cukor as director. However, du Maurier and Cukor reviewed a screenplay draft and found it unfaithful to the novel, with du Maurier declaring it "Quite desperate." Cukor also disapproved of the comedic additions, and without achieving his desired revisions to the screenplay, opted to quit, with Fox's press release explaining his departure as being due to "artistic differences." Henry Koster later took over Cukor's role, with Burton never learning if Cukor was fired or had quit.
According to Burton, Cukor planned for either Greta Garbo or Vivien Leigh to star as Rachel.The part ultimately went to de Havilland, marking her first film role since The Heiress (1949), as she had afterwards taken stage roles. My Cousin Rachel also marked Richard Burton's first time starring in a U.S. film. Though uninterested in the novel or screenplay, Burton accepted the role due to his respect for Cukor, and he traveled to New York City for production. Background shots were filmed in Cornwall, where the story is set.
According to Koster, in one scene Burton had to climb around a house, but had difficulty and kept falling off it. Due to the fact that Burton repeatedly struck his head on the wall, Koster feared the blows could prove fatal, and the crew had to physically restrain Burton from retrying.Aside from the episode, Koster described Burton as calm towards him and de Havilland throughout production.
Before agreeing to appear in the movie, Burton was determined to hold out for a fee of 7,000 English pounds (equivalent to £202,898in 2019) (at the time, about $18,000 USD). He was therefore surprised to learn that Fox offered him $50,000 dollars. He accepted the offer, but was later disappointed with the behavior of his co-star, de Havilland. She asked director Koster to inform everyone on the set that she was to be referred to as "Miss de Havilland" instead of the more informal "Livvie", a nickname that, up until then, had been used by others when working with her.
Bosley Crowther, writing for The New York Times , declared the film to be an "excellent" adaptation of du Maurier's work, praising its suspense, atmosphere and Burton's performance.Variety's review positively reviewed the tone of the film and credited Burton for giving "a strong impression". Upon seeing the finished film, du Maurier was disappointed, enjoying Burton and the shots filmed in the real Cornwall, but feeling de Havilland's portrayal of Rachel lost the mystery that defined the character, and disliking her hairstyle, comparing it to Wallis Simpson's. Nevertheless, Cukor called de Havilland and congratulated her for a "brilliant" performance.
The 1999 Blockbuster Entertainment Guide to Movies and Videos awarded My Cousin Rachel four and a half stars, acclaiming it as "Atmospheric."In 2002, the American Film Institute nominated it for its AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions list. In his 2015 Movie Guide, Leonard Maltin gave the film three stars, assessing it as "Successful" as an adaptation.
Burton was nominated for an Academy Award for the first time for My Cousin Rachel.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|Academy Awards||March 19, 1953||Best Supporting Actor||Richard Burton||Nominated|
|Best Art Direction, Black and White||Lyle R. Wheeler, John DeCuir, Walter M. Scott||Nominated|
|Best Cinematography, Black and White||Joseph LaShelle||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design, Black and White||Charles LeMaire, Dorothy Jeakins||Nominated|
|Golden Globes||February 26, 1953||Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama||Olivia de Havilland||Nominated|
|New Star of the Year - Actor||Richard Burton||Won|
Koster's film was the first adaptation of My Cousin Rachel.A 1990 BBC television version directed by Brian Farnham followed, with Professor Nina Auerbach judging it as a "Superficially" more faithful adaptation, including in a more complex treatment of Rachel, played by Geraldine Chaplin.
The next cinematic adaptation was a 2017 film directed by Roger Michell and starring Rachel Weisz as the title character.The 2017 version followed a trend in du Maurier's works receiving new adaptations.
Richard Burton, was a Welsh actor. Noted for his mellifluous baritone voice, Burton established himself as a formidable Shakespearean actor in the 1950s, and he gave a memorable performance of Hamlet in 1964. He was called "the natural successor to Olivier" by critic Kenneth Tynan. A heavy drinker, Burton's purported failure to live up to those expectations disappointed some critics and colleagues and added to his image as a great performer who had wasted his talent. Nevertheless, he is widely regarded as one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation.
Dame Daphne du Maurier, Lady Browning, was an English author and playwright.
Manderley is a fictional estate in Daphne du Maurier's 1938 novel Rebecca, owned by the character Maxim de Winter.
Rebecca is a 1938 Gothic novel written by English author, Daphne du Maurier. The novel depicts an unnamed young woman who impetuously marries a wealthy widower, before discovering that both he and his household are haunted by the memory of his late first wife, the title character.
Rebecca is a 1940 American romantic psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It was Hitchcock's first American project, and his first film under contract with producer David O. Selznick. The screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood and Joan Harrison, and adaptation by Philip MacDonald and Michael Hogan, were based on the 1938 novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier.
Frenchman's Creek is a 1941 historical novel by Daphne du Maurier. Set in Cornwall during the reign of Charles II, it tells the story of a love affair between an impulsive English lady, Dona, Lady St. Columb, and a French pirate, Jean-Benoit Aubéry.
Sylvia Llewelyn Davies was the mother of the boys who were the inspiration for the stories of Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie. She was the daughter of cartoonist and writer George du Maurier and his wife Emma Wightwick, the elder sister to actor Gerald du Maurier, the aunt of novelists Angela and Daphne du Maurier, and a great-granddaughter of Mary Anne Clarke, royal mistress of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany.
Eileen Herlie was a Scottish-American actress.
Jamaica Inn is a novel by the English writer Daphne du Maurier, first published in 1936. It was later made into a film, also called Jamaica Inn, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is a period piece set in Cornwall in 1820. It was inspired by du Maurier's 1930 stay at the real Jamaica Inn, which still exists as a pub in the middle of Bodmin Moor. The plot follows Mary Yellan, a woman who moves to stay at Jamaica Inn with her Aunt Patience and Uncle Joss after the death of her mother. She quickly finds out that the inn is an unsavory place, mistrusted by the locals, and that her uncle is closely linked with a group of suspicious men who appear to be smugglers.
Antony House is the name of an early 18th-century house, which today is in the ownership of the National Trust. It is located between the town of Torpoint and the village of Antony in the county of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is a Grade I listed building.
My Cousin Rachel is a novel by British author Daphne du Maurier, published in 1951. Like the earlier Rebecca, it is a mystery-romance, set primarily on a large estate in Cornwall.
The House on the Strand is a novel by Daphne du Maurier, first published in the UK in 1969 by Victor Gollancz, with a jacket illustration by her daughter, Flavia Tower. The US edition was published by Doubleday.
The Loving Spirit was the first novel of Daphne du Maurier and was published in 1931 by William Heinemann. The book takes its name from a poem by Emily Brontë.
Frenchman's Creek is a 1944 adventure film adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's 1941 novel of the same name, about an aristocratic English woman who falls in love with a French pirate. The film was released by Paramount Pictures and starred Joan Fontaine, Arturo de Córdova, Basil Rathbone, Cecil Kellaway, and Nigel Bruce. Filmed in Technicolor, it was directed by Mitchell Leisen. The musical score was by Victor Young, who incorporated the main theme of French composer Claude Debussy's Clair de Lune as the love theme for the film.
Mary Diana Morgan was a Welsh playwright and screenwriter, mostly associated with her work for Ealing Studios as Diana Morgan. She was married to fellow screenwriter Robert MacDermot.
Ambrose Manaton (1648–1696) was an English landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons variously between 1678 and 1696.
Francis Baker was a British author of novels and short stories, mainly on fantastic or supernatural themes. He was also an actor, musician and television scriptwriter. His best-known works are his novels, The Birds (1936) and Miss Hargreaves (1940), and his memoir, I Follow But Myself (1968).
My Cousin Rachel is a 2017 romantic drama film, written and directed by Roger Michell, based upon the 1951 novel My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier. It stars Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Iain Glen, Holliday Grainger, and Pierfrancesco Favino. It was shot in Italy and England in spring 2016 and is about a young man in Cornwall who meets the wife of his older cousin, suspecting her of being responsible for his death.
My Cousin Rachel is a British mystery television series adapted from the novel of the same title by Daphne du Maurier. It first aired on BBC 2 in four parts between 7 and 28 March 1983.
Daphne is a 2007 British biographical drama film written by Amy Jenkins and directed by Clare Beavan. The film is based on the authorised biography, Daphne du Maurier: The Secret Life of the Renowned Storyteller by Margaret Forster. It stars Geraldine Somerville, Elizabeth McGovern and Janet McTeer. It premiered on BBC Two on 12 May 2007. It was filmed on location in London, Devon and Cornwall, where Du Maurier spent much of her life and most of her works are set.
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