Rollover Information
About the Series Schedule The Archive Learning Resources The American Collection Home Search Shop
Programs The Archive Database The Poster Gallery Awards + Nominations Broadcast Schedule Feature Library  Masterpiece Theatre Home The Archive Archive

The Archive Database [imagemap with 4 links]

previous program program next program

Program Title

Episode number:
1 2

A young woman, companion to the wealthy New Yorker Mrs.Van Hopper, meets and falls in love with Maxim de Winter, the rich and handsome owner of one of Cornwalls most famous estates - Manderley. After a whirlwind courtship in the south of France and a honeymoon in Venice, de Winter takes her home - to a household still dominated by the memory of his first wife, the beautiful Rebecca. The young Mrs. de Winter is intimidated by the hostility of Mrs. Danvers, Rebeccas former housekeeper, and the newlyweds happiness is soon overshadowed by the troubling and mysterious events surrounding the death of Rebecca

Original broadcast date

Cast Characters
Charles Dance Maxim de Winter
Emilia Fox Mrs. De Winter
Diana Rigg Mrs. Danvers
Faye Dunaway Mrs. Van Hopper
Geraldine James Beatrice
Jonathan Cake Jack Favell
Tom Chadbon Crawley
Denis Lill Giles
Anthony Bate Colonel Julyan
Timothy West Mr. Baker
Lucy Cohu Rebecca
John Horsley Frith
Jonathan Stokes Robert
John Branwell Ben
Ian McDiarmid Coroner
Kelly Reilly Clarice
Patrick Romer Harbourmaster
Robin Soans Tabb

Executive Producer: Rikolt vonGagern, Rebecca Eaton, Tim Buxton, Jonathan Powell
Producer: Hilary Heath
Director: Jim O'Brien

REBECCA/Episode 1/Intro by Russell Baker

"Rebecca" may be the most popular ghost story to come out of England since Charles Dickens wrote "A Christmas Carol."

It was published in 1938 by Daphne Du Maurier, and became a huge bestseller. Then, as an Alfred Hitchcock movie, it won the Academy Award for best picture of 1940.

Tonight, Masterpiece Theatre presents the first installment of a brand new two-part television version.

At the center of the story is a haunted house -- Manderley. Its mistress, the brilliant and beautiful Rebecca De Winter, has died before the story opens. Her drowned body has been found in the surf off the rocky coast that borders Manderley.

Her husband, Max De Winter, apparently crushed by her death, has fled Manderley and is traveling in the South of France.

He is not only charming, but very rich and -- not surprisingly -- highly attractive to adventurous and worldly women who would love to be the next mistress of Manderley.

What none of them realize is that Manderley will be a formidable challenge for any woman who tries to replace Rebecca.

It's a house filled with dark spirits who don't want a new mistress. One of those dark spirits is dead. The other, alive.

First installment, Rebecca.

REBECCA/Episode 1/Extro by Russell Baker

Britain is still full of great houses like Manderley, but the legions of servants who ran them are gone.

The labor government that ruled Britain after World War Two had no sympathy for the Max DeWinters with their vast estates and dozens of servants. Stiff new taxes and death duties helped finish them off.

But the break-up of the great estates began long before socialism took over. David Cannadine's monumental study of the decline of the British aristocracy makes it clear that it was a worldwide agricultural depression in the nineteenth century that started them down the slope.

Nowadays many of the great houses are operated as tourist attractions.

Back in the 1950s I was invited to weekend with a lord of the realm -- a baron whose title came from an ancestor's heroic service with the Duke of Wellington.

On Saturday we pitched in to help his wife polish the immense silver centerpiece for her dining room table. She wanted it to sparkle for the busloads of tourists who would troop through the house next day.

The heir to the title spent that Saturday working in the farm fields with a hired man.

It was a long way from Manderley.

For Masterpiece Theatre, I'm Russell Baker. Goodnight.

Episode number: 1 2

previous program program next program

The Archive Database | Program History | Poster Gallery | Awards

Home | About The Series | The American Collection | The Archive
Schedule & Season | Feature Library | eNewsletter | Book Club
Learning Resources | Forum | Search | Shop | Feedback

WGBH Logo PBS logo


Masterpiece is sponsored by: