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26 September 2011

Marnie (1964)

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Genre: Mystery & Suspense
Runtime: 125 Minutes

After the peak of success of Hitchcock's films during the late 50's, early 60's, "Marnie" is among the unsuccessful Hitchcock films after that peak. Having to top "Psycho" and "Vertigo" was no easy task and despite not being anything compared to them "Marnie" is relatively a special film. Going in to the psychological state of the titular woman gives this film an eerie kind of presence and plays out like a psychodrama. 

Tippi Hedren plays Marnie, a compulsive thief who cannot stand to be touched by any man. She also goes bonkers over the sight of the colour red. Her new boss, Mark Rutland (Sean Connery) is intrigued by Marnie -- to such an extent that he blackmails her into marriage when he stumbles onto her breaking into his safe. Rutland is in his own way as "sick" as his wife because of his fetishist desire to cohabit with a thief. After innumerable plot twists and turns, Marnie is "cured" by a facile but mesmerizing flashback sequence involving her ex-hooker mother (Louise Latham)

Connery takes the role of Mark and what a performance he gives. With his voice alone, he can create a presence, which certainly adds to the film. Connery and Hedren both reflected on one another's abilities, which make a nice chemistry.
These are not the only fine performances within the film. Supporting the two main roles are Mark's sister Lil (Diane Baker) and Marnie's mother (Louise Latham). These two together support the film in a splendid manner. The mother is the holder of the secrets and mystery and Lil seems to be the devious one. This made a nice contrast to the film surely. 

A fascinating thing this film has is some form of resemblance to German Expressionism. During Hitchcock's early days as a filmmaker, he worked in Germany and one if his big influences were German expressionists, including Fritz Lang. Here we have this style implemented in a glorious manner and despite being lesser Hitchcock; it gives this film a unique kind of presence.
It resembles a silent film at some moments in the stage-bound sets.  One for example that looks arguably staged is the street of Marnie's mother. It was obviously fake and Hitchcock done it in somewhat of a homage to the silent era. It got this film some hard critical reception. Oh and before I move on, you will love Hitchcock's little cameo here.


This is the last Bernard Hermann and Hitchcock match-up for the musical score, but the music somewhat narrates some scenes of the film. One example would be the conventional hunting scenes were as he music progresses it becomes more and more personal to Marnie. 

In many ways this is a lesser Hitchcockian film which disappointed audiences of the time (leading to its box office failure). However, it give sit a more unique kind of feeling and I still feel this is a great film. With glorious suspense to put you on edge and some more technical greatness from Hitchcock, expect a very different kind of experience.

My Rating: 8/10

3 comments:

  1. Well it sounds like even a lesser hitchcock film is a damn good film, great review Thomas

    ReplyDelete
  2. ~Excellently written review Thomas~~~I love Marnie~~~Its perfect~
    ~One of my Top 3 all time favorite Hitchcock films~

    ReplyDelete
  3. ~Im watching Marnie now~

    ReplyDelete

 

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