A few words about…™My Cousin Rachel — in Blu-ray

A wonderful, and very important release from Twilight Time, based upon a lovely Fox master, that should not be overlooked. 4 Stars

My prior experience with Henry Koster’s My Cousin Rachel, was via Twilight Time’s original DVD release, back c. 2011.

That quality film element, receives a major uptick here, as in 1080p, every bit of imagery, along with black levels and shadow detail shine through.

Make no mistake, this no routine drawing room, gothic romance.

With a tip of the hat toward the 1940 Rebecca — there’s a connection there somewhere — this 98 minute visit to a similar craggy Cornish coast, will keep you guessing untold secrets.

The great Olivia de Havilland (still with us at 101) is at the center of the tale, providing the audience with multiple levels of questions as to precisely what her intentions might be, toward a young and innocent Richard Burton, in his first American film appearance.

Mr. Burton would appear two years hence in Mr. Koster’s (and our) first exposure to CinemaScope.

My Cousin Rachel is a superb entertainment, beautifully mounted (albeit with many painted backdrops and process shots) production from Fox.

Photographed by Joseph LaShelle, (Laura, The Apartment), and with a screenplay by the prolific Nunnally Johnson.

The films score, offered on the Twilight Time release, is by someone named Franz Waxman. For those unaware, he may be worth investigating. And he’s another connection to Rebecca.

While I’d love to call this a perfect disc, I’m restrained from doing so, as I found one very brief transitional shot, that might have used a couple of points more exposure.

Aside from that, absolutely perfect, and glorious.

A wonderful, and very important release from Twilight Time, based upon a lovely Fox master, that should not be overlooked.

Four Academy Award nominations:

Richard Burton – Actor in a Supporting Role
Art Direction (b&w)
Cinematography (b&w)
Costume Design (b&w)

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Absolutely

Highly Recommended

RAH

Published by

Kevin Collins

administrator

19 Comments

  1. I was fortunate enough to meet Dame Olivia in Paris almost four years ago. She couldn't have been more gracious and lovely, and was very pleased when I told her that My Cousin Rachel is a favourite of mine. I told her that I especially appreciated

    Spoiler

    Dame Olivia also told me that during the scene where Richard Burton's character scales the wall outside Rachel's bedroom to shower her with the Ashley family jewels on his birthday (when he comes of age and they're finally his), Burton fell and let out a litany of Welsh swear words. She said he later staggered over to her and apologized for the outburst, and couldn't have been sweeter about it.

    I'm so grateful to Nick and everyone at Twilight Time for this beautiful Blu-ray!

  2. Andrew Budgell

    I was fortunate enough to meet Dame Olivia in Paris almost four years ago. She couldn't have been more gracious and lovely, and was very pleased when I told her that My Cousin Rachel is a favourite of mine. I told her that I especially appreciated

    Spoiler

    Dame Olivia also told me that during the scene where Richard Burton's character scales the wall outside Rachel's bedroom to shower her with the Ashley family jewels on his birthday (when he comes of age and they're finally his), Burton fell and let out a litany of Welsh swear words. She said he later staggered over to her and apologized for the outburst, and couldn't have been sweeter about it.

    I'm so grateful to Nick and everyone at Twilight Time for this beautiful Blu-ray!

    An extraordinary Lady. I had the pleasure of meeting her c. 1978. There are not enough wonderful things that one might say…

  3. Matt Hough

    Thanks, Andy, for that wonderful shared experience. What a memory to treasure!

    I love this film, too, and always thought Olivia should have received an Oscar nomination for her performance.

    It’s interesting. I believe Miss de Havilland’s performances were so evenly balanced through the decades, that people may not have understood the continuum of quality.

  4. Matt Hough

    Thanks, Andy, for that wonderful shared experience. What a memory to treasure!

    I love this film, too, and always thought Olivia should have received an Oscar nomination for her performance.

    That was a strange year for the awards as The Greatest Show On Earth wins Best Picture over High Noon and The Quiet Man while The Bad and the Beautiful and Viva Zapata! weren't even nominated for Best Picture even though they had multiple nominations in other categories. I get it, a Lifetime Achievement Award to CB, but this is the type of stuff that has gone on for years with the Academy.

  5. Robert Crawford

    That was a strange year for the awards as The Greatest Show On Earth wins Best Picture over High Noon and The Quiet Man while The Bad and the Beautiful and Viva Zapata! weren't even nominated for Best Picture even though they had multiple nominations in other categories. I get it, a Lifetime Achievement Award to CB, but this is the type of stuff that has gone on for years with the Academy.

    It was not merely a "strange" year, it was a horrible one, enough to turn many people against the Academy for its ridiculous choices. Other years have been as bad (1976, 1981, 2005 and, arguably, 1994), but then occasionally you get an awards season that presents the accolades to mostly all the most deserving people. Fickle.

    The Oscars are a joke, anyway, but they're often fine entertainment. After all, in how many other professions does one have an opportunity to be awarded fifteen times over in different awards shows for a single performance for which the actors are stunningly overpaid? How about having a roofers Oscars? Or a Wal Mart clerk's? Or a drywaller's? Nope…not enough glamor or money or fame there. I have been an actor myself on occasion, and I can tell you it's just not the damn hardest job on Earth, but you wouldn't guess that the paychecks these Hollywood dudes are getting for a couple of month's work. And their salaries are largely why ticket prices are so damn high.

  6. Dick

    It was not merely a "strange" year, it was a horrible one, enough to turn many people against the Academy for its ridiculous choices. Other years have been as bad (1976, 1981, 2005 and, arguably, 1994), but then occasionally you get an awards season that presents the accolades to mostly all the most deserving people. Fickle.

    The Oscars are a joke, anyway, but they're often fine entertainment. After all, in how many other professions does one have an opportunity to be awarded fifteen times over in different awards shows for a single performance for which the actors are stunningly overpaid? How about having a roofers Oscars? Or a Wal Mart clerk's? Or a drywaller's? Nope…not enough glamor or money or fame there. I have been an actor myself on occasion, and I can tell you it's just not the damn hardest job on Earth, but you wouldn't guess that the paychecks these Hollywood dudes are getting for a couple of month's work. And their salaries are largely why ticket prices are so damn high.

    I would dispute some of your assertions, but I think I've contributed enough to sidetracking this thread.

    Now, getting back to My Cousin Rachel has anybody seen the remake and how does it compare to the 1952 version?

  7. Robert Crawford

    Now, getting back to My Cousin Rachel has anybody seen the remake and how does it compare to the 1952 version?

    I've been curious about that, too. I didn't get the review copy of it I was expecting, so I've never seen it. Would be curious to hear from someone who had seen both to compare.

  8. Dick

    It was not merely a "strange" year, it was a horrible one, enough to turn many people against the Academy for its ridiculous choices. Other years have been as bad (1976, 1981, 2005 and, arguably, 1994), but then occasionally you get an awards season that presents the accolades to mostly all the most deserving people. Fickle.

    The Oscars are a joke, anyway, but they're often fine entertainment. After all, in how many other professions does one have an opportunity to be awarded fifteen times over in different awards shows for a single performance for which the actors are stunningly overpaid? How about having a roofers Oscars? Or a Wal Mart clerk's? Or a drywaller's? Nope…not enough glamor or money or fame there. I have been an actor myself on occasion, and I can tell you it's just not the damn hardest job on Earth, but you wouldn't guess that the paychecks these Hollywood dudes are getting for a couple of month's work. And their salaries are largely why ticket prices are so damn high.

    As I’m certain you’re aware, an actor’s (or director’s) worth is predicated not upon hours expended, but rather, income received from the exposure of their hours to audiences.

  9. Sad but true – the Oscars are a horse race – the most glamorous dog and pony show on display. Not 'the best work of any year' but the 'best work received by an audience'. And political too.

    But back to My Cousin Rachel – the newer version is devoid of the subtly and inferences. Personal opinion, of course, but I am tired of every new entertainment having to be the kind of 'in your face' experience that leaves virtually nothing to the imagination and absolutely nothing for the heart or mind to digest beyond what is superficially being presented on the screen.

    When will contemporary film makers rediscover the strength and mystery of not showing their audience everything – merely to placate those lacking in either the I.Q. or patience to 'wait out' their viewing experience for the 'big payoff'.

    No subtext. What's that?!? And very little tact either. Just a lot of distracting noise and…as the exec's from Sullivan's Travels would suggest…with a little sex. Gloss in lieu of substance. How sad. De Havilland and Burton's version remains the 'go to' for this cinema incantation of a very creepy novel.

  10. Andrew Budgell

    I was fortunate enough to meet Dame Olivia in Paris almost four years ago. She couldn't have been more gracious and lovely, and was very pleased when I told her that My Cousin Rachel is a favourite of mine. I told her that I especially appreciated

    Spoiler

    Dame Olivia also told me that during the scene where Richard Burton's character scales the wall outside Rachel's bedroom to shower her with the Ashley family jewels on his birthday (when he comes of age and they're finally his), Burton fell and let out a litany of Welsh swear words. She said he later staggered over to her and apologized for the outburst, and couldn't have been sweeter about it.

    I'm so grateful to Nick and everyone at Twilight Time for this beautiful Blu-ray!

    How did that happen?

  11. Matt Hough

    I've been curious about that, too. I didn't get the review copy of it I was expecting, so I've never seen it. Would be curious to hear from someone who had seen both to compare.

    I really liked the 2017 version of My Cousin Rachel…..But, I'm afraid I haven't yet seen the 1952 version.

  12. Great review and interesting input from Andy, who I have communicated with re RAINTREE COUNTY.
    I have seen both RACHELS. The lead actor in the remake had none of Burton's tortured intensity. The leading lady fared better and the English scenery was great, but Olivia is simply on another level as an actress to anyone on film today. Her timeless and faultless work in Wyler's THE HEIRESS is a text book on screen acting.
    Waxman's score was released in recent years and is terrific, as are all his scores. I have a framed one-sheet poster of this movie. Superb artwork. A shame it hasnot been utilized for any of its home video incarnations.
    Koster has never received his full due as a director. His work on this movie and DESIRÈE is outstanding. Merle Oberon just about gave a career best in the latter as Josephine. Thanks TT, for giving us both of these classics. May I humbly put forward a request for the following Fox Cinemascope films, all with great scores: THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE (recently restored), THE ADVENTURES OF HAJJI BABA (recently restored), PRINCE OF PLAYERS (HD wide screen version on TCM last year), THAT LADY (Olivia deHavilland) A HATFUL OF RAIN (no Scope release ever on home video), A CERTAIN SMILE (score released in recent years), THE BLUE ANGEL (Mai Britt remake) and THE STRIPPER (score released recently). By the way, thanks TT for releasing NO DOWN PAYMENT.

  13. Hi Matt. Fox restored it at around the same time they restored APRIL LOVE- and released pan-and-scan versions of BOTH on their Archive label (!?). They were screened theatrically and I believe Pat Boone and Shirley Jones were scheduled to attend. Twlight Time has given us a good version of APRIL LOVE but have yet to correct the woeful situation re BEST THINGS, which is probably the better movie of the two. Possibly it was the last gasp in the genre of composer biopics done primarily by MGM. Worth it for the suprrb Gordon MacRae rendition of The Birth of the Blues with a sizzling dance number by Sheree North, who must have ve been happy NOT to be asked to imitate Marilyn Monroe on this occasion…..

  14. Thanks for the information. Yes, I have that lousy pan and scan rendition of the movie, and it's also the way the movie shows up every time the FMC shows it. I don't know if back in the old days AMC showed it letterboxed as they did with widescreen gems like Star!, Peyton Place, The Three Faces of Eve, but if they ever did, I missed those showings.

  15. Robert Harris

    As I’m certain you’re aware, an actor’s (or director’s) worth is predicated not upon hours expended, but rather, income received from the exposure of their hours to audiences.

    Yes sir, you are correct. I am aware.

  16. Re the 1952 Academy awards, how could they NOT give Best Supp Actress to Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont in SINGIN' IN THE RAIN? After all, she makes more money than Calv'n Coolidge, put together! I love Gloria Graham, but I would not class her performance in THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL as outstanding. Even her offbeat turn as Ado Annie was more memorable and worthy of an award. What are they, dumb or something?

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