Tuesday, November 2, 2010

418. MARNIE (1964)

Running Time: 130 minutes
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock
Written By: Jay Presson Allen, from novel by Winston Graham
Main Cast: Tippi Hedren, Sean Connery, Diane Baker, Louise Latham


As I mentioned in an earlier post, "Psycho" and "The Birds" are on a short wait from Netflix, so we jump right to "Marnie", a film that I found myself drawn into, while the plot was still a little silly.

When the film opens up we hear Mr. Strutt telling the police of a robbery and saying that he is quite sure the crime was committed by Marnie Edgar (Hedren)(although he only know her by her alias). Mr. Strutt is right about Marnie...soon after we see a dark haired woman catching a train, with a purse full of money. Marnie reaches her hotel, washes the black dye from her hair, changes the social security card in her wallet to yet another alias and moves on to her next score. Marnie first stops off at her mother's house (Latham), where it is established that Marnie seeks love from her unloving mother, but doesn't get it. In fact, Marnie's mother is more favorable toward a neighborhood kid, whom she babysits. Marnie leaves her mother and goes to Philadelphia, where she plans to wipe out another office, this time it will be the office of Mark Rutland (Connery). As Marnie gets the job and plays secretary for a few weeks, we begin to learn a little bit about her, like her enormous fear to the color red. Rutland also has his eyes on Marnie and is falling in love with her, as a day out and about with her ends with a visit to Rutland's parents. Marnie doesn't stick around long, however, and soon gets the safe combination at Rutland and Co. and robs them blind (in a suspense filled scene) and takes off. However, Rutland, using his intelligence and cunningness, tracks her down and demands the return of the money. He then offers her a choice: he either turns her over to the police or she marries him.

I mean, come on, the plot is kind of silly isn't it? "I've just discovered that you've robbed me blind, old girl. Now you HAVE to marry me or risk being put behind bars for the rest of your life!" Yeah that's a bit out there. But it's a silly plot that is made really good and feasible by the master, Sir Hitchcock. I was totally enamored with the movie and found qualities in Sean Connery that I've never seen before. He was brilliant in this and it makes me think I should jump on those dreaded James Bond "1001" movies while I'm still into Connery. I often wonder if a good opening scene is all you need. "Marnie" has a brilliant opening scene, that shows Strutt telling the police what has taken place and then we follow Marnie clear to her hotel room, where no dialogue is given and we just watch. We get a special glimpse inside the hotel room of a criminal and get to see what they do after they've just finished "working". From there, I was pretty much hooked. Then we get some Louise Latham acting and it gets better, because she was fantastic in this too and I think she was really the clear cut "Marnie" villain, although she wasn't THAT villainous, but rather just a mother who didn't know how to love.

Then we move onto the next big score and Mark Rutland is properly introduced and so on and so forth and despite the silly plot, everything keeps rolling right along and meshing together nicely and you don't really think about the plot, because the movie is so good, you make sense of it all in your head. I had a few preferences for the way the plot should've gone, but I said to myself early on, that as long as they give a good explanation for her fear of red, then the film will be fine...and the explanation was good enough. I did think that Lil (Baker) should've played a more integral role in the plot. She always seemed to be thinking evil thoughts, yet nothing evil ever comes out of her. I've also heard talk of the "rape" scene with Connery and Hedren, which I think is preposterous. The scene involves a sexually frustrated Mark Rutland, ripping the seams of Marnie's nightgown, with one finger and letting it fall to the floor. He immediately apologizes and wraps his robe around her. The scene was a bit shocking and a little bit out of character for Rutland, but then again, in reality we all do out of character things when we're under pressure.

RATING: 7.5/10 I liked it, despite silly plot and thought everyone turned in great performances, especially Connery, in this tense Hitchcock film.


November 2, 2010 2:08pm


  1. OK, let me say I have only seen this film once, many years ago, so |i accept \i may have mis-read it then, and mis remembered it now..
    BUT I must day I disgree about the 'rape'. I really thought he (Mark) had the attitude "sex is my right, and if I make her, she will llke it once she realises it".
    At the time of watching, that left a nasty taste, and infected the whole film, and even affected my attitude to Hitch and his attitude to women, there sexuality, and sex in general for a while. As I generaly love Hitchcock films, I have avoided Marnie ever since.
    So perhaps I mis-read and over reacted? Maybe... so sorry to bring up the preposterous idea again!

  2. I agree with your opinion to some extent. I saw Connery's character as a likeable guy, but I guess he could be construed as a "sex is my right" kinda guy. The whole plot is relly silly anyway and the fact that he wants to marry the woman that robbed him blind is ludicrous. I just found the film to be so engaging and was able (for the most part) to look past the silliness.


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