By Khadi Madama
Quick-Seat Chair Wellness Coordinator
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…….” spoken by Joan Fontaine in the classic movie, Rebecca. But maybe under her breath she was saying something that went like this. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again, and once again, I discovered that the big old mansion with endless corridors, did not have any place to sit when I’ve been standing on this film set for an hour, so I woke myself up from the dream and went to the yellow pages to see what I could do about fixing the problem since no one on the movie set seemed to care, but me.” ‘Nuff said, Joan. We get it.
For those who are not familiar with the pitfalls of movie sets, suffice it to say, that often times actors are standing around endlessly to be ready to jump into their rolls, while other times, they are forced to sit on the hard floor. If only Quick-Seat Chairs had been invented back then. Quick-Seat Chairs install so easily that they can be installed on a movie set and easily moved to another. Quick-Seat Chairs could have become part of the standard production set equipment and made readily available through the ‘prop’ department. Because they fold up so handsomely and can be customized to blend in with décor, they could even be used, unseen, on set where the actor needs to sit until the camera is ready for them. So often we hear the sad story that such and such a film was last one made by a beloved older actor who was weak while on the set. Sidney Toler, who played Charlie Chan is just one of many.
In this 1940 Hitchcock classic, Joan Fontaine was already under stress because she wasn’t the first choice to play the part of the new Mrs. de Winter. Joan hadn’t had good directing in other films prior to filming Rebecca and therefore felt somewhat uncomfortable. After all, she wasn’t the favored, at least not in the beginning. Rebecca would change all of that as Joan’s portrayal of the frightened, insecure and inexperienced young wife of aristocrat Maxim de Winter, played by Sir Lawrence Olivier, was a huge success and audiences adored her. In her character role, as the “second Mrs. de Winter” she rattled around the huge mansion known as Manderley, more like a lost child. Its size seemed too big for her to manage. The movie set was enormous, too. And, often in Hollywood, some sets of a single movie are separated from other sets during filming, requiring long walks on feet that have already been standing for a while. Wouldn’t it be great to have Quick-Seat Chairs available outside along the way.
The Manderley set would have been no different. But Hitchcock was already having to tip-toe around regulations and script changes required by far more production restrictions than we have today. Having a Quick-Seat Chair handy would have been a bonus. Hitchcock didn’t consider Rebecca to be a true Hollywood classic because of some of the undertones that required the story lines to change. But he was wrong. Rebecca is most certainly a classic and well deserved. The titular novel written by Daphne Du Maurier has remained a favorite among movie buffs, and some of the quotes are truly eerie in their own right. Here’s one that I feel fits perfectly for Quick-Seat Chair. “Happiness is something that I know nothing about,” said by Maxim, played by Sir Lawrence Olivier. Rumor has it that he said it while he was forced to stand for a very long time, waiting for an unexpected set change. As for Joan Fontaine, her old opening line was changed to, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again, but this time I knew I would be able to get off my feet since we installed a few Quick-Seat Chairs.” End of story and that’s a wrap!
Quick-Seat Chairs. Temporary seating that closes itself.