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Label:
Name: TWILIGHT TIME
Number: TWILIGHT316-BR

MY COUSIN RACHEL (1952) (BLU-RAY)
Starring:  Richard Burton, Olivia de Havilland, John Sutton, Ronald Squire, Audrey Dalton, George Dolenz, Tudor Owen
Directed By:  Henry Koster
Composed By:  Franz Waxman

“Constant fascination and uninhibited suspense…behind its serene and lustrous surface of walnut paneling, old silver and fabulous jewels, there seethes a delicious suggestion of refined passion, mysterious poisons and slow death.”
– Bosley Crowther, The New York Times

“Slickly served up with all the full flavorings of romance, tragedy, revenge, intrigue and suspense. Like the du Maurier novel, it has all the well-mixed ingredients of a sure bestseller.”
– Time

Based on the best-selling novel by Daphne du Maurier (author of the peerless Rebecca), My Cousin Rachel (1952) weaves an eerie tale of Gothic romance, set against the backdrop of the wild, rock-ribbed Cornish coast. Richard Burton, in his first American film role, stars as an anguished young Englishman, torn between dark suspicion of and uncontrollable passion for his guardian’s widow, the alluring and mysterious Rachel (Olivia de Havilland). With atmospheric direction by Henry Koster (The Robe) and a darkly romantic score by Franz Waxman (Sunset Boulevard), My Cousin Rachel is a seductive entry in the annals of cinematic ambiguity.

LANGUAGE: English
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1:33:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
1952 / B&W
98 MINUTES
NOT RATED

Special Features: Isolated Music Track / My Cousin Rachel Vintage Radio Show / Original Theatrical Trailer

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

  
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Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on March 5, 2018 5:29 PM
I've often heard of this film referred to as a classic of the genre, the gothic romance. Along with WUTHERING HEIGHTS it is often considered worth watching. Was it?

Based on the novel by author Daphne Du Maurier who wrote REBECCA among other novels, it centers around Philip Ashley (Richard Burton), a man taken in by his cousin Ambrose when his parents died. The two form a quick bond, more like an uncle and nephew than cousins, with Ambrose determined to raise Philip as a gentleman. The years pass and Ambrose health becomes an issue so he travels to the warmer climate of Florence. There he meets their cousin Rachel (Olive de Havilland), falls in love with her and then marries her.

All of this is learned via letters he sends back to Philip. But then the letters change. Ambrose becomes suspicious of Rachel and thinks she is poisoning him. He request Philp to come to him and he obliges only to arrive too late. Ambrose has passed while he was on his way and Rachel has gone into mourning among friends elsewhere.

Returning home he swears vengeance against Rachel. He is also surprised to learn that Ambrose has left his entire estate to him rather than his wife. And while she could contest the will she instead obliges it. A planned visit is requested and Philip agrees. While he assumes the worst his mentor and god father Nick Kendall (Ronald Squire) comes to her defense, informing Philip that Ambrose could have fallen to the same malady that his father suffered, a brain tumor.

Unwilling to listen, Philip invites Rachel to stay at the estate. When she arrives she is nothing that he thought she would be. It isn't long before he finds himself enchanted by the woman and soon his thoughts of her murdering Ambrose fade away. Providing her with an allowance to live on he ignores warning signs when Kendall informs him that her spending has over reached the amount she's been provided which was considerable.

When Philip falls ill he never questions Rachel or consider her behind his ailment, even though she insists on bringing him her home made recipe of herbs. But is she poisoning him? And did she poison Ambrose? Is she truly a woman of loose morals as some have claimed or a victim of circumstance? Even when the film ends you will find yourself unsure of the answers.

As I said, the film has been praised for years but I found it difficult to take. It seems that in the two I've most recently viewed (this and the remake of WUTHERING HEIGHTS) they both depended on the stupidity of the men involved and the uncaring attitudes of the women. In both we find a men desperately in love with the women they cannot have and women who claim affection for them yet do everything possible to harm them emotionally.

This film is the more disturbing of the two with Burton in his first major American film providing one of his worst performances ever. He's completely over the top from start to finish. Every sequence in which he speaks comes out more like a stage actor unaware of the nuance of film that doesn't require him to speak to the back of the theater of to gesture to do the same. Couple that with the fact that the character seems to be the dumbest person you've ever come across, flipping from massive anger to unbridled love for the same woman, willing to give her all that he has with no guarantee that she will oblige him anything and you find yourself with little sympathy for him.

De Havilland as Rachel does a solid job here but again, this is not a character you find yourself sympathizing with. The thin line between guilt and innocence is shifted back and forth so often that you worry if you like her she's really a killer and if you hate her then you're displaying contempt for an innocent woman. The end result is not knowing how to feel and being left in limbo.

Twilight Time is releasing the film and providing movie lovers with the best possible version released to far. Fans of the film will be delighted to find this in hi definition 1080p format. Extras are limited to an isolated music track, a radio play of the story and the original theatrical trailer. As always the release is limited to just 3,000 copies so if you are one of the many fans of the film then by all means pick it up before it's gone.

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