The novel and film - Sample Essay

Compare and contrast the novel and film version of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier Before you read the contrasts and differences between the film and the novel Rebecca you have to consider a few things about making movies and the time the movie was released. The first thing you have to consider when contrasting the novel with the film is that the novel has time to unravel the mystery and it has time to introduce the characters and set the scene and it can take as long as the author wants it to, but a film cannot do that, it has a short space of time for the characters to be introduced, the scene to be set and the plot to thicken. This is why costumes, the appropriate style of music, the correct actors, the backdrop and scenery help to produce the book as a film in less than 2 hours. To do this you still have to add new scenes to make the film more exciting and delete scenes to make it fit into the selected time.

The second thing you have to consider is that around the time the film was released there was a thing called the production code years (this is like certificates on films now a days) this made the appropriateness of the film Rebecca (if it was released with the same story line as the book Rebecca) frowned upon because the production code stated that no sex, insurrection (mutiny or rebellion), or immorality (corruption or sin), was to be shown on screen. This meant that Maxim could not be a murderer because he was a very highly respected actor and he was the hero. This also meant that the bad guy had to get what he deserved in the end.

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All of these factors influenced the film and brought it further and further away from the likeness of the novel but not completely, they changed it is such away that it told the story line and kept the production code happy, I think it was an accurate film of the book. The characters The narrator The book doesn’t describe her as a character because she is the one telling the story. All that you find out is that she starts as a companion to a wealthy lady called Mrs Van Hopper, we can tell she is clumsy by the actions she makes and we can tell she is plain and not very pretty.

A film company would find it hard to have the girl being a narrator and telling the story, so to create that effect there is a voice over at the start about her looking back at what happened and then back further still about how that came to pass, this is where the 2nd person perspective begins with her talking to Mrs Van Hopper, then the rest of the story is continued in this perspective. This also creates the start of the mystery “why isn’t she still there and why can’t she go back”. I think that the actress playing the part is to pretty and sophisticated to play this role, however her acting did show the unsure and nervousness that the narrator is meant to have in the book

Mrs Van hopper Mrs Van hopper, on screen, is very like the character in the book. The same filthy habits and the wastefulness is the same, the way she treats the narrator and her self confidence is the same. The film has done well to create the character as they did because she is very like the book describes her to be. Maxim de winter Maxim is conveyed well from the book to the film. I think this is because the book, I think describes him (and also Mrs Van Hopper) with more detail than some of the other characters, “his face was arresting and sensitive, medieval in some sort of strange way, I was reminded or a portrait I had seen in a gallery once.”

The film conveyed him exactly as I thought he would look, with a suit and grey hair. His temper was the same in the film and he talked quickly and punctually. The thing that I found was not shown with enough detail in the film was the fact that he treated the narrator like a child and patronised her. I think this could have been conveyed more strongly to give the viewer a clearer idea of there relationship.

Mrs Danvers Mrs Danvers was also conveyed well. She was a very stereotypical character, all dressed in black, with a constant frown, and a very scary feel about her. The film company made her like a stereotypical villain because immediately the film company want to show the audience that Mrs Danvers is going to have something to do with the “murder”. This will speed up the introduction of this character and keep the viewer interested.

Beatrice I thought that the film didn’t show Beatrice as well as the character in the book. I don’t think that she was out spoken enough or outgoing enough. I also thought that the actress playing her was too old. I pictured Beatrice as quite a young woman who was used to the city life, with glamorous clothes and jewels. The spectre of Rebecca The spectre of Rebecca wasn’t as thorough on the television screen as it was in the book.

Even though it was shown quite strongly in the film, there where parts missing and parts rushed. The spectre of Rebecca was not show quite as strongly through Mrs Danvers, even though in the film she was really eager to show the narrator the late Mrs de Winter’s bedroom and that she was always comparing everything to what “Mrs de winter” used to do, (“I Left a space by the sauce for you to fill in, Mrs de winter was very particular about her sauce”) I still think that it could have been shown more strongly so if the viewer hadn’t read and discussed the book they would pick it up in her tone of voice when talking about her and in her actions towards the new Mrs de winter.

Differences in the film and book They main difference between the book and film is that he is no a murderer in the film because of the production laws. This means that that Rebecca died some other way, by changing this one thing means that the book is changed some what as it is converted in to the film , because there can no longer be a court case against them because maxim didn’t murder Rebecca. There was also little differences such as at the start of the film there was a scene where maxi was about to jump off a cliff and the narrator stopped him, this never happened in the book.

In the book where they are driving up Manderly’s drive is cut out of the film. I think they should have kept that in the film because it sets the scene around Manderly and it shows how important Manderly is to have such a long drive with a gate man. It also cuts out the bit with all the flowers up the side of the drive – which Rebecca had planted. In the film the dates that maxim takes the narrator on in Monte Carlo are shown, like the dance he took her to, this was not in the book. Also the wedding was filmed, which was not described in the book. 6 years ago another TV version was released. Maxim was the murderer in this version because the production laws have changed since Alfred Hitchcock’s version.



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