Thursday, May 28, 2009
MARNIE (1964). Director: Alfred Hitchcock.
Bizarre romance about two odd ducks in what would seem to be an impossible marriage. Widower Mark Rutland (Sean Connery) is the well-to-do head of a publishing concern, and Marnie Edgar (Tippi Hedren) is a frigid thief who comes to work for him, He is immediately intrigued by and attracted to her, and when he catches up with her after she absconds with the firm's money, he makes her a deal. He won't go to the police if she marries him! The honeymoon is uncomfortable to say the least and married life isn't much better, especially when Marnie's old victims come out of the woodwork. Mark determines to find out what happened in his wife's past to turn her into the tormented woman she's become. Sean Connery plays the material in just the right note, and Tippi Hedren, despite a few false moments, acquits herself better than you would expect given her lack of experience. Diane Baker is her usual sterling self as Mark's jealous sister-in-law, and Louise Latham is simply outstanding as Marnie's mother. This is a strange movie, not for every taste, but if it grabs you you'll find it very entertaining. Jay Presson Allen's script crackles with good dialogue and has both humor and suspense. This is a handsome and classy production, very well photographed by Robert Burks, and adroitly directed by Hitchcock. Bernard Herrmann's score is decidedly rich. Some may feel the psychology comes dangerously close to the dime store variety, but it's still all rather fascinating. One interesting question: When Mark has sex with Marnie during the honeymoon, could it be considered an act of rape? The best scene: Marnie on the runaway horse.
Verdict: Highly interesting latter-day Hitchcock. ***1/2.