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Friday, March 11, 2011

Don't Look at the Birds

Novels, plays, non-fiction, and Dame of the British Crown, with marriage, motherhood and secret love affairs, Daphne Du Maurier lived a life of drama and romance. This might explain her talent for creating mystical, mysterious and luxurious characters. The uncertainty of her novels inspiration add to the creative depth of her writing. Often she depicts clearly who is good, but the evil or selfish becomes wrapped in foggy uncertainty. 
 It is extremely difficult to translate the novel to film well - we could go on for pages naming the ones that don't work. With an ability to build characters of depth and dimension, Du Maurier shows them so clearly, creates scenes of simple but thrilling tones and allows directors to retell her stories. 

"Rebecca" (1940, Alfred Hithcock dir, Winner Best Picture) - A tense layered story of romantic love vs. real love. The  genius move here is that Rebecca is a dream, a fantasy wrapped around the growth of the main character. She only becomes 'real' when her true nature is discovered. 

"Frenchman's Creek" (1944, Mitchel Leisen dir) - Fun typical 40's romp with swords is brought to a new level with the intrigue and development of the female lead. 

"The Birds" (1963, Alfred Hitchcock dir) - Another thrilling movie with a female central character. Based on a short story by Du Maurier who writes women that in some places appear to be uncertain and flighty but as we get to know them discover the strength and bravery it takes to live a full life beyond their circumstances. 

"Don't Look Now" (1973, Nicolas Roeg dir) - Spooky short story turned into 70's B picture starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Its so much fun when films are mentioned in other films and that leads you to an interesting new path. I'd never heard of this movie until Meredith Eaton's character referenced it in "Unconditional Love". An odd and over the top ending gives this film its worth watching status. 

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