Rebecca is a classic of popular literature. It continues to do a brisk trade and it has reportedly never been out of print since it was published in 1938
Rebecca is a classic of popular literature. It continues to do a brisk trade and it has reportedly never been out of print since it was published in 1938.
But as Kits Browning, the son of Rebecca author Daphne du Maurier, points out, its popularity doesn't mean that any adaptation of the book should be reverential, preserving the book in aspic.
"After so many years, I believe that a new approach is called for and you have to turn Rebecca on its head slightly. I think that it's due for another go and having researched some of Kneehigh's work on YouTube, it looks as if they are the people to give Rebecca a very contemporary production."
How does Kits explain the book's phenomenal appeal?
â??I think that fundamentally it's a damned good story,â?� he replies. â??My mother would get very cross when people called Rebecca a romance, although she did concede that Frenchmanâ??s Creek, another of her books, was a romance. I think that she didnâ??t want her work to be compared with the kind of books somebody like Barbara Cartland was writing because hers was a very different genre.
â??Even today, people find it hard to square the author of Rebecca with the person who wrote The Birds or Donâ??t Look Now.â?�
In the 1960s, Kits joined forces with his mother in setting up a production company to encourage the exploitation of her books.
She herself adapted Rebecca for the stage shortly after the bookâ??s publication and there have been a number of productions in the theatre and on television. A musical theatre version has played very successfully in Germany and Austria.
However, Kits admits to not having read Rebecca until he was a young man, preferring more traditional schoolboy fare.
â??I was more of a Biggles fan, as was my fatherâ?�, he reveals. â??And I didnâ??t realise how famous it was until I saw the Hitchcock film version sometime in the 1950s.â?�