My Cousin Rachel channels hysteria as the voiceover asks, “Was she woman or witch? Madonna or murderess?” Unfortunately, the film itself proved far tamer than the marketing suggested. The novel’s author, Daphne du Maurier, who also penned The Birds and the psychological thriller Rebecca, distanced herself from the project when she saw that 20th Century Fox planned to neuter her moody, mind-bending scenes and infuse them instead with romance.
Today, the late author would likely lick her lips in excitement for the second film version of her masterwork, this time from director Roger Michell and starring Rachel Weisz. Tense and at times downright frightening, My Cousin Rachel tells the story of an irresistible woman whose charms take down the male wing of a family, driving its members to madness. At least that’s what seems to be happening.
The trailer for Henry Koster’s 1952 adaptation of