Four Roads to Manderley

(Photo: Emmy winner Diana Rigg, Emilia Fox and Charles Dance in 1997’s ‘Rebecca.’ Source: IMDb)

Netflix’s Rebecca, debuting today, has received many negative critic reviews, largely in comparison to the original Rebecca, the Oscar winner for Best Picture of 1940. That Alfred Hitchcock-directed classic isn’t on any subscription streamer, but has been watched for free by over a quarter-million people on the Star Light YouTube channel.

So we’ll share it with you right here:

You can also stream a couple of other non-Netflix versions of Rebecca: a 1962 US TV production and a 1997 British miniseries.

All of the above, and several other film and TV adaptations, have one thing in common: their source material was a 1938 Gothic novel by Dame Daphne du Maurier.

The basic plot: Widowed Max de Winter has taken on a second wife, known only as Mrs de Winter. But Max and Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper of his mansion called Manderley, are haunted by the memory of his first wife, the title character.

The Oscar-winning film starred Laurence Olivier as Max, Joan Fontaine as the second Mrs. de Winter, and Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers. All three actors received Oscar nominations.

The new Netflix movie stars Armie Hammer as Max, Lily James as the second Mrs. de Winter, and Kristin Scott Thomas as Mrs. Danvers. It’s streaming at Netflix.com/Rebecca.

The hour-long 1962 Rebecca originally aired live on NBC as the seventh and final episode of a monthly anthology series titled Theatre ’62. It starred James Mason as Max, Joan Hackett as the second Mrs. de Winter, and Nina Foch as Mrs. Danvers. The show, which turned out to be NBC’s last live drama for 18 years, is now available to Amazon Prime subscribers.

1997’s Rebecca, a two-parter from ITV in the UK, aired in the US on PBS’ Masterpiece Theatre. It starred Charles Dance as Max, Emilia Fox as the second Mrs. de Winter, and Dame Diana Rigg, in an Emmy-winning role, as Mrs Danvers.

You can stream the miniseries free on Hoopla, if your local library participates in that streamer, or on PBS Passport, if you’re a member of your local PBS station. It’s also available to subscribers of the Amazon Prime $5.99/month add-on service, PBS Masterpiece. Or you can buy it from Amazon ($3.98 for Prime members, $5.98 for non-members).     

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About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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