“There, beside his grave, I made a vow: I swore that whatever it had cost Ambrose in pain and suffering, I would return it in full measure.”
When his wealthy cousin Ambrose (John Sutton) dies while abroad, Philip Ashley (Richard Burton) suspects Ambrose’s new wife, Rachel (Olivia de Havilland), of murder. When Rachel comes to visit, however, Philip finds himself swayed by her charms, and is no longer sure what to think.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Historical Drama
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Olivia de Havilland Films
- Richard Burton Films
Richard Burton made his screen debut in this excellent adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s gothic romance. Burton is appropriately moody as the young protagonist who experiences both love and hatred for his beautiful cousin, while De Haviland once again shows her talent for playing a sweet yet potentially duplicitous woman (see also The Dark Mirror). In addition to fine performances and atmospheric sets, the screenplay is nicely paced, keeping us constantly guessing about Rachel’s motivations until the final climactic moments.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Richard Burton as the brooding, love-struck Philip
- Olivia de Havilland as Rachel
- Atmospheric sets and cinematography
- Nunnally Johnson’s script — full of many intriguing mysteries and plot twists
No, but it’s highly recommended for fans of gothic romances.