Tag Archives: films

First Edition: Rebecca

Never out of print, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is loved for its opening line: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” It is a timeless combination of romance, jealousy, intimidation, mystery & death. First published in 1938 it was an immediate hit and sold nearly 3 million copies between 1938 and 1965. Ultimately, there are a lot of secondhand editions out there. It has been translated into Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Russian, German, Portugese, Spanish, Persian, Hungarian, Romanian, Polish, Greek, Latvian, Dutch and Czech. That’s quite a list. Daphne du Maurier

This first UK edition [above right] comes with a Menabilly headed letter from du Maurier which briefly discusses her Christmas and New Year, and is signed ‘Yours sincerely, Daphne du Maurier’. Rare, it is for sale [at time of going to press] by John Atkinson Books for £2,750.

The story
A naïve young woman marries wealthy older widower Maxim. When he takes her to his home, Manderley, the unnamed narrator, the young wife, learns about the first Mrs de Winter, Rebecca. Housekeeper Mrs Danvers continually tries to undermine the second Mrs de Winter, showing her contempt for the young woman, her inefficiency, her mousiness, her naivety. Believing Maxim still loves Rebecca, the new wife is encouraged by Mrs Danvers to wear a replica of one of Rebecca’s dresses to a costume ball.

The film
The best known film adaptation of Rebecca is the 1940 movie starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. Daphne du MaurierDirected by Alfred Hitchcock, Rebecca won 11 Oscar nominations and won two – for Best Picture and Cinematogrophy. Watch the trailer here.

Daphne du MaurierVarious television adaptations include the 1979 BBC production [above] starring Jeremy Brett as Maxim, Joanna David as the second Mrs de Winter, and Anna Massey as Mrs Danvers. Watch the first episode here.

In 1997, a Carlton Television production [below] cast Joanna David’s daughter, Emilia Fox, as the second Mrs de Winter, with Charles Dance as Maxim and Diana Rigg as Mrs Danvers. Daphne du Maurier

Other editions

Read here why Rebecca is the ‘Porridge & Cream’ comfort read of novelist Jane Lambert.

Daphne du Maurier


‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier [UK: Virago]

If you like old books, check out these:-
‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte
‘A Passage to India’ by EM Forster
‘Watership Down’ by Richard Adams

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
First Edition: REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier #oldbooks https://wp.me/p5gEM4-39q via @SandraDanby

First Edition: The Hundred and One Dalmations

My first memory of the iconic children’s book The Hundred and One Dalmations by Dodie Smith, is actually the Disney animated film. This was quickly followed by a Puffin edition, which I sadly no longer have. That films are still being made of the story, and there is demand for old copies of the novel at rare booksellers, is, I think, testamount to the longevity of the book. Long may it continue, even if it includes no fight scenes, no dragons, no magic, no vampires or spaceships.

First editions
At bookseller Peter Harrington, there are three first editions available [at time of going to press].


A special edition by Heinemann 1956, £1,500, bound in white morocco with black onlay patches to resemble the coat of a Dalmation dog [above left].

The second example for sale is also a 1956 Heinemann first edition, £975, including black and white illustrations by Janet and Ann Grahame-Johnstone [above top right].

The third book, a pink leather first edition by Heinemann, 1956, £2,000, features an onlaid Dalmation on the front cover plus paw prints above lower right].

The story
Pongo and Missis are a pair of spotty Dalmation dogs which live with Mr and Mrs Dearly. Missis has a litter of 15 pups. Concerned that Missis will be unable to feed all her puppies, Mrs Dearly looks for a canine wet nurse to help and discovers a liver-spotted Dalmation lost in the rain. The dog is named Perdita who tells Pongo the real reason she was outside in the rain: she was searching for own lost litter of puppies which had been sold by her owner. Trouble really arrives when Mr and Mrs Dearly host a dinner party at which one of the guests is Cruella de Ville, who is fixated on fur clothing.

The film
The Walt Disney animated film of 1961 [below left] varies the story slightly in that Missis does not exist, Pongo and Perdita have their own little of puppies. Actor Rod Taylor was the voice of Pongo, Cate Bauer played Perdita, and Betty Lou Gerson was Cruella de Ville. Watch an excerpt here.

The 1996 film [above right], starring Glenn Close as Cruella de Ville, was a live-action comedy adventure. It was praised for its faithfulness to the 1961 film and was a commercial success, though it received mixed reviews. Watch the trailer here.

Other editions

Dodie Smith


‘The Hundred and One Dalmations’ by Dodie Smith [UK: Egmont]

If you like old books, check out these:-
‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll
‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett
‘The Hobbit’ by JRR Tolkein

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
First Edition: THE HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIONS by Dodie Smith #oldbooks https://wp.me/p5gEM4-38Q via @SandraDanby

First Edition: Jurassic Park

First published in the USA on November 20, 1990, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton would, like HG Wells and Jules Verne, bring science fiction to the masses and to the movie screen. The book actually started life as a screenplay written in 1983 in which a graduate student creates a dinosaur. Then, given the fact that genetic research is expensive and there was no need to create a dinosaur, Crichton changed the story so the dinosaurs were made to put into an entertaining wildlife park. Another thing changed from first to final draft was the point of view: originally it was told from a child’s viewpoint, but Crichton changed it when everyone who read the draft felt it would be better told by an adult.

A signed US 1st edition [above] is for sale [at time of going to press] on eBay for $225. Read more about the first edition of the 1991 UK hardback edition [below] published by Century at Biblio. Michael Crichton

The story
Following strange animal attacks in Costa Rica and nearby island Isla Nublar, one of the animals involved is identified as an extinct dinosaur. Palaeontologist Alan Grant and paleobotanist Ellie Satler are asked to confirm this, but are whisked away by billionaire John Hammond to visit his nature reserve on Isla Nublar and calm his investors. Hammond’s park contains not lions and tigers but cloned dinosaurs. Fellow consultant, mathematician and chaos theorist Ian Malcolm, predicts the park will collapse into chaos.

The film
Released on June 9, 1993, the film of Jurassic Park by Steven Spielberg was a monumental success and has taken well over $1bn worldwide.Michael Crichton

The film closely follows the storyline of the book, though there are slight differences in some of the characters. Nedry is much the same, but both children have stronger roles in the film while Alan Grant in the novel is considerably scruffier than the movie version as played by Sam Neill. Watch the original film trailer here.

Other editions

Michael Crichton


‘Jurassic Park’ by Michael Crichton [UK: Arrow]

If you like old books, check out these:-
‘The Moonstone’ by Wilkie Collins
‘A Passage to India’ by EM Forster
‘The Sea The Sea’ by Iris Murdoch

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
First Edition: JURASSIC PARK by Michael Crichton #oldbooks https://wp.me/p5gEM4-37x via @SandraDanby

Book review: Mobile Library

David WhitehouseStuffed with book and movie references – from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe to The Terminator – if Mobile Library by David Whitehouse was a film it would be described as a ‘road movie’. Really, it’s a book about running away to find yourself.

Chapter One, titled ‘The End’ is reminiscent of Thelma and Louise and The Italian Job. A mobile library van stands at the edge of cliffs, surrounded by police. Inside are Bobby, Rosa and Val. We don’t know who they are or why they are there: such an incentive to keep reading.

Twelve year-old Bobby lives with his father and his father’s girlfriend Cindy, a mobile hairdresser who paints a look of suspicion onto her face every morning with her foundation. Bobby misses his mother and saves anything of hers he can find: hairs from her hairbrush, scraps of paper.

When his schoolfriend, Sunny, offers to protect Bobby from the bullies by turning into a cyborg like The Terminator, neither of them realize what that really entails. Bones are broken, blood is spilled, until Phase Three when Sunny ends up in hospital and disappears. Bobby, alone, passes the time by peeling wallpaper off his bedroom walls. When he meets Rosa and her mother, he finds a place that feels more like a home should be.

When things go wrong, the trio run away in the library van and have adventures along the way [as is the way of road movies]. Lessons are learned about love, life and family. They have an objective: to find Sonny. Bobby reads books from the library – Tom Sawyer, Of Mice and Men – takes a lesson from the story and applies it to his situation. This is a funny, touching story, its message is that family is where you make it. Anyone who loves books will love this story, it is a book with heart.

If you like ‘Mobile Library’, try these:-
‘Some Luck’ by Jane Smiley
‘Master of Shadows’ by Neil Oliver
‘The Bear’ by Claire Cameron

‘Mobile Library’ by David Whitehouse [UK: Picador] Buy now

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
MOBILE LIBRARY by @d_whitehouse #bookreview via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1sF

Great opening paragraph…23

The Last Tycoon - OP
“Though I haven’t ever been on the screen I was brought up in pictures. Rudolph Valentino came to my fifth birthday party – or so I was told. I put this down only to indicate that even before the age of reason I was in a position to watch the wheels go round.”
‘The Last Tycoon’ by F Scott Fitzgerald