the fresh films reviews

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My Cousin Rachel (1952)

Directed by:
Henry Koster



Min kusine Rachel

98 minutes

Produced by:
Nunnally Johnson

Written by (based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier):
Nunnally Johnson

Cast includes:

Rachel Sangalletti Ashley Olivia de Havilland
Philip Ashley Richard Burton
Louise Kendal Audrey Dalton
Nicholas Kendall Ronald Squire
Guido Rainaldi Geroge Dolenz
Ambrose Ashley John Sutton -
Seecombe Tudor Owen -



As others have pointed out over the years, Richard Burton does indeed seem too mature and experienced for his character's nave infatuation with his cousin Rachel, played by Olivia de Havilland. But his performance, his first starring role in an American film, still is accomplished and has the power and gradual evolution to make the film mildly effective, despite a few other shortcomings. Like Hitchcock's Rebecca, the other 'Cornwall estate mystery' adapted from a Daphne de Maurier novel, My Cousin Rachel doesn't quite flow. It's almost as if the many psychological aspects of the story and the characters were too complex for the filmmakers to convey, and so they simplified and rushed many of them. This gives the picture an academic, somewhat distanced feel, and only occasionally does the mystery and the love story really come alive with full force. Another problem is that Olivia de Havilland, for all her beauty and technical skill, lacks the sexual magnetism and seductiveness which would help explain why a young, inexperienced man would become so mesmerized by her. There's a miscalculation in the casting here, and director Henry Koster is never quite able to disguise and make up for it. Peculiarly, Burton was nominated for an Academy Award in the 'Best Supporting Actor' category despite being in virtually every scene in the movie. Remade in 2017 with Rachel Weisz as the title character.

Copyright 24.08.2022 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang