Screening Room: ‘Rebecca’

Not surprisingly, Ben Wheatley’s new take on Daphne du Maurier’s gothic novel Rebecca is just a bit less captivating than Alfred Hitchcock’s.

Rebecca is playing now in some theaters and also on Netflix. My review is at Slant:

While staying in a posh resort on the French Riviera, an unnamed young woman (Lily James) working as traveling companion for acid-tongued, man-hunting dowager Mrs. Van Hopper (Ann Dowd), is romanced by dashing and recently widowed aristocrat Max de Winter (Armie Hammer). In quick order, the somewhat lost-seeming woman marries Max and refashioned as Mrs. de Winter, the new lady of Manderley, Max’s sprawling coastal estate that becomes her gilded cage…

Here’s the trailer:

Writer’s Desk: Enjoy It

In 1958, Daphne Du Maurier, author of gothic treats like RebeccaJamaica Inn, and the story that inspired Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” wrote an essay about her fame called “My Name in Lights.” Du Maurier, born this week in 1930, had advice what to do when you have just done something right:

There come moments in the life of every artist, whether he be a writer, actor, painter, composer, when he stands back, detached, and looks at what he has done … This is the supreme moment. It cannot be repeated. The last sentence of a chapter, the final brush stroke, a bar in music, a look in the eye and the inflection of an actor’s voice, these are the things that well up from within and turn the craftsman into an artist…

So cherish it, because those moments don’t come often:

The feeling has gone in the next breath, and the craftsman takes over again. Back to routine, and the for which he is trained … The moment of triumph is a thing apart. It is in the secret nourishment.