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A psychological mystery thriller from the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Kleptomaniac Marnie Edgar (Tippi Hedren), who moves from job to job and has a pathological fear of the colour red, is caught stealing by latest employer, Mark Rutland (Sean Connery). Instead of turning her over to the police, Mark forces Marnie to marry him, convinced that he can get to the bottom of her psychosis.
Both visually and psychologically, Marnie is crass in comparison with Hitchcock's peak achievement in Vertigo--although it shares some of that film's characteristic obsessive themes. Sean Connery, fresh from From Russia with Love, is a Philadelphia playboy who begins to fall for Tippi Hedren's blonde ice goddess only when he realises that she's a professional thief (she's come to work in his upper-crust insurance office in order to embezzle mass quantities). His patient programme of investigation and surveillance has a creepy, voyeuristic quality that's pure Hitchcock, but all's lost when it emerges that the root of Marnie's problem is phobic sexual frigidity, induced by a childhood trauma. Luckily, Sean is up to the challenge, as it were. Not even DH Lawrence believed as fervently as Hitchcock in the curative properties of sexual release. --David Chute
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Of course, since this is Hitchcock, there is a handsome man there to release her from her trauma. In this case, it is the hugely attractive (at the time) Sean Connery. He and Tippi Hedren make a credible pair. Indeed, all characters are locked into a kind of obsessiveness. How interesting that now we know that the biggest obsessive was Hitchcock himself.
Yet Hitchcock was a great film maker. The film grips throughout and confirms to me as strongly as ever, that Freud was a genius.
This is available via Region 1 imported discs - if your DVD player is multi-region - but surely the UK deserves a better service than this!
Come on, Universal UK - give us the same remastered widescreen versions that are available for the US market!!!
I'm not sure if Grace Kelly would have been any better than Tippi Hedren. Not bad in
"The Birds", but in this film Diane Baker out act her in spades. Sean Connery
wanted to get away from James Bond roles, so at times made some rather strange
The action switches to Marnie visiting a stables and her horse, Forio who she obviously adores. She then visits her mother Bernice in Baltimore. Bernice, well played by Louise Latham, is cold towards Marnie despite Marnie lavishing presents and money courtesy of her ill-gotten gains on her, as her mother shows more kindness to a neighbour's child she is looking after. Marnie cannot understand her mother's distant behaviour, and learn later how it has been affected by the revelation told at the end, but has been fundamental in developing Marnie's personality disorders.
Marnie looks for her next job and applies to Rutland and Company, unaware of the relationship with Strutt and Company. Despite her different appearance Mark recognises her, and with an interest in psychology and zoology makes sure she is taken on as the successful candidate. One weekend Marnie is requested to work overtime by Mark, typing up his thesis on 'Criminal Behaviour in the Female Animal', but before she can start she is frightened by thunder and lightning, telling Mark to "Stop the colours". These are repeating motifs in the film - Marnie's reaction to thunderstorms and her fear of the colour red. As Mark comforts Marnie he begins to kiss her and reveal his feelings for her, beginning a one-sided relationship.
Repeating her crime at Rutland's company she is staggered when he tracks her down at her stables thanks to giving clues about her horse. Fascinated and in love with Marnie, Mark gives her the stark choice of being handed over to the police or marrying him, causing Marnie to compare herself to one of Mark's captured animals. Her frigidity comes out on honeymoon, and as Mark struggles to understand his new wife he make reparations for her past behaviour and sets a private investigator about digging up the truth about Marnie. Much of the rest of the film concerns the development of this strained relationship and Mark's efforts to cure Marnie and get to the truth. Along the way Mark's curious sister-in-law Lil, played by Diane Baker suspects something is wrong, and invites Strutt to a party causing some awkward moments.
Marnie was described on release as a sex thriller, but it's more a portrait of a psychologically disturbed woman and a man who, perhaps implausibly, decides to get to the bottom of the issue based upon having a real subject to work on to expand on his hobby. During the honeymoon there is a scene that displays his interest as more than just theoretical. This controversial scene shows that Mark's interest has grown into an obsession - and not a healthy one. There are plenty of Hitchcock's trademark touches on show in a film that is a fond salute to German expressionist cinema. Even by the standards of 1964 some of the techniques, such as back projection and matte painted backdrops were old fashioned, but it's easy enough to make allowances for Hitchcock's fondness for tried and trusted techniques. There are some beautiful set pieces on display here - Marnie robbing a safe whilst the cleaning lady mops; and a long camera shot from the back of a room onto the face of Strutt coming through a door, a reminder of similar shots used in Young and Innocent and Notorious being the best. This was a curious change of direction for Hitchcock and requires some willingness to suspend disbelief to fully appreciate the story on show. Unfortunately I have had to dock a star for the presentation being in 4:3 pan and scan rather than it's original widescreen format - a pity, and an unnecessary change given the excellent 50 minute 'Making of' documentary included on the disc includes excerpts in that correct format.
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