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1 August 2011 One Comment

Just finished Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. It took me most of the summer to read, not sure why, considering it’s not very long. I read it after I finished her short story, The birds, which was very different from the Hitchcock version. I barely remember the film, just Tippi Hendon’s wild hair blowing in the wind as she’s pecked at by blackbirds. The short story’s about a farmer and his family boarding up their farmhouse against mad birds, certainly not the exciting tale of a socialite going up North from San Fran on holiday. Of course, films about farmers finding corpses and running from “domestic” animals is Hollywood decades later, Stephen King, etc.

Daphne probably gets her imagination from her grandfather, George du Maurier, who wrote the Trilby series, (just bought an 1894 edition off ebay!), the story of a young artist’s model who is hypnotized by the evil Svengali. Another huge literary hit of its time. Maurier started out as an illustrator for Punch magazine but later wrote novels due to his poor eyesight.

I really wish they’d remake Rebecca. A modern version would really spice it up. I’d cast it as such:

Naomi Watts as the naive bride, Mrs. de Winter. Clive Owen or maybe Christian Bale as Maxim de Winter, the older, rakish proprietor of Manderley. Maggie Smith as the horrible Mrs. Danvers and Angelina Jolie as the temptress Rebecca. And as for Rebecca’s rogue cousin/lover: Daniel Craig might be perfect.

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One Comment »

  • George said:

    Brava, D! I enjoyed your post imnesmely, and it has given me lots to think about. I do think that, while I agree with what you say about how the dreaded “old lady” moniker is driven more by the associations we have with when, where, and on whom we first experienced certain fragrances, we do find that some fragrances “age well” while others apparently do not.I suspect this has first to do with the quality of craftsmanship — a well blended, thoughtfully composed fragrance is able to engage and intrigue me, even if the olfactory signs and symbols it deploys are that of another era. For example, L’Heure Bleue feels absolutely like something out of another time to me, and yet I am absolutely enchanted by it. It is as though the technique of its composition and the thought and care with which it is executed are what render it timeless.On a related note, I suspect that, as in fashion, fragrances that resort to trendy tricks or exaggerations would have a harder time aging well. (Here, I’m thinking of, say, 80’s shoulder pads, which might have added an interesting twist to the silhouette when first introduced, but became so overused and cliche9d because they were attached on to everything in the interest of being trendy). The olfactory equivalent might be overdosage. For example, Cool Water introduced us to overdosage of dihydromyrcenol, but then it started showing up in just about every men’s fragrance in the 90’s and became something of a cliche9. Right now, I feel like we are getting a lot of Iso E Super overdosage, and it will be interesting to see 10 or 20 years down the line how people will consider the current batch of woody fragrances.