“Regeneration” in Rebecca
Confronting Compilation in Franz Waxman’s Score
Keywords:Waxman, Selznick, Hitchcock, Rebecca, Forbes, compiled score, characterization
The music of Alfred Hitchcock and David O. Selznick’s Rebecca flows from many sources. In addition to Franz Waxman’s original music, eighteen passages are drawn from nine other films. This practice of transplanting old scores into new films relates back to the compiled scores of theatrical melodrama and silent film, but its consequences in Rebecca, a film centered on an unnamed heroine whose trials were intended—in the words of Selznick— to “make every woman say ‘I know just how she feels,’” are especially complex. Close study of the film and its production documents reveals that these recycled passages alternately clarify and complicate the heroine’s characterization and Waxman’s artistic control over the scoring process.
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