My Cousin Rachel
Adapted from Daphne Du Maurier’s novel, a young man suspects his cousin was murdered by his wife, but he inherits his estate and falls in love with her.
Young Philip Ashley (Richard Burton) says goodbye to his cousin Ambrose Ashley (John Sutton), who writes to him from Italy that his wife Rachel is tormenting him. Philip goes to Florence and learns that Ambrose died of fever. Philip calls on Rainaldi (George Dolenz) and shows him the letters. Rainaldi says that Ambrose had a brain tumor and that Philip is his sole heir. Philip learns that Rachel left Florence, and he goes home.
Philip’s guardian Nick Kendall (Ronald Squire) says that Rachel is in Plymouth. They invite her to visit. Rachel (Olivia de Havilland) arrives and thanks Philip, letting him smoke in her room. They attend church. Young Louise (Audrey Dalton) says Rachel is beautiful, but she is much older than Philip. Rachel tells Philip that Louise will make a good wife. Philip shows the letters to Rachel and says he might kill her. She cries, and he burns the letters, saying she is not the woman he hated. She says that Ambrose changed.
Philip tells Nick that he wants Rachel to have 5,000 a year. Philip gives Rachel a valuable necklace for Christmas, and she kisses him. Nick tells Philip that she has overdrawn her account and is known to be extravagant. Nick has her return the necklace because the estate is not Philip’s for three months.
Rachel writes to Guido, who visits her there. Guido thanks Philip and says that Ambrose had another will that was not signed, making Rachel his heir. Rachel embraces Philip and says that Guido left.
Philip arranges to give his estate to Rachel. At midnight on his birthday he climbs up to her room and tells her that all he has is hers. They kiss. Nick, Louise, and Rachel wish Philip well. Philip announces that Rachel will be his wife, but she tells him that she will never marry him.
Philip meets Louise in church and says he loves Rachel. Philip learns from Rachel that she has invited Mary Pascoe to stay there in her house. Philip gets delirious and imagines wedding Rachel. She takes care of him and says he was ill.
Philip goes for a walk while Rachel is away, and he learns the bridge is dangerous. Rachel sees Guido and returns. She tells Philip that she is going to Florence when he is well. He thinks they are married and realizes he is deceived. In her dresser he finds a paper with poisonous seeds.
Rachel tells Philip that she is leaving and kisses him. He asks to see Louise alone. Philip asks Rachel to drink his tea, but she throws it out. He tells Louise that Rachel murdered Ambrose and is trying to kill him. He searches her room and finds a letter from Guido that reveals they care about him. Philip finds the fallen bridge and dying Rachel. In the final scene he wonders if she was guilty.
This mystery portrays a foolish young man who lets himself be manipulated by a more experienced woman. The drama unfolds in ways that keep the audience guessing too.