The ongoing popularity of Daphne Du Maurier's melodramatic novel has always been a bit of a mystery to me, not least because there is something distinctly secondhand about it.
It owes a particularly obvious debt to Jane Eyre, with maybe an added dash of Heathcliff in the character of Maxim De Winter, not to mention Gaslight, or The Turn of the Screw in its almost-but-not-quite supernatural elements.
But obviously I'm in a minority. It's remarkable that this new dramatisation (by Frank McGuinness, whose new play about the Gunpowder plot, Speaking Like Magpies, opens in Stratford tonight) has sold out the Hippodrome for a week.
It's a huge venue neither known for straight drama nor particularly well suited to it, and the actors are helped here by some discreet amplification in projecting into its vast auditorium.
Director Patrick Mason and his design team have developed a striking minimalist look, and the opening image of the second Mrs De Winter (Elisabeth Dermot-Walsh) standing on the sea-shore, with back-projected waves, is stunning.
If only the rest was as good.
Visually much of it does impress in its sparse monochrome style, but this does not succeed in stifling every melodramatic creak.
And perhaps there's a coolness about it which works against the noirish passion associated with Hitchcock's famous film version. So does the casting of Nigel Havers, a familiar and suave television face but not an actor to take us much below the bland middle-class surface of Maxim De Winter.
Maureen Beattie as the sinister Mrs Danvers and Guy Williams as Rebecca's caddish dipso cousin and lover have more success in putting flesh on these old bones, but the overall effect is peculiarly uninvolving.
Running time: Two hours 20 minutes. Until Saturday (also at the Malvern Festival Theatre next week).