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Movie Review - Marnie (1964 - United States)
Alfred Hitchcock originally asked Grace Kelly to play the deeply disturbed Marnie of the title, but she backed out after her husband, Monaco’s Prince Ranier, read the script and realized that it's a story about a sexually repressed victim of childhood abuse who is also a kleptomaniac.
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He then cast Tippi Hendren, with whom he had worked on The Birds, as the blonde ice princess with a heart of, well, ice. During the filming of Marnie, according to Hedren, she become the object of the director’s intense erotic obsession, an allegation supported by similar tales from others of his leading ladies. Regrettably, in retaliation for her public complaints, Hedren was held to a very detrimental contract which destroyed her career—a shame, because her work in Marnie is not only unforgettable, it set the bar very high for actors portraying complex, psychologically broken characters.
As if that isn't intriguing enough, Sean Connery's Mark Rutledge falls in love with Marnie only because of all of that-—it's her mental fragility that he responds to. I first saw this film when I was in my 20's, and I thought the "love story" was absolutely chilling on a visceral level: Mark Rutledge doesn't want to cure Marnie, he wants to pin her down, dissect and own her. Seeing it again decades later has not altered my opinion on that, it’s instead made me appreciate that even at such a young age I understood just how twisted this story is.
For all of those reasons, as well as Hitch's trademark camera genius, which here allows him to watch unobtrusively while the story reveals itself to us (the sequence where Marnie robs the safe is deservedly famous), I recommend this picture. It's unsettling and I think one of those films that plays differently for each gender, thereby opening the door to a great debriefing after the film is over.
Copyright © Roberta Lee 2012. All rights reserved.
(I am an artist and the author of the Suburban Sprawl series of novels as well as two nonfiction books. Find out more about my work at RobertaLeeArt.com.)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Running Time: 2 hr. 9 min.
On DVD: May 30, 2000
Distributor:MCA Universal Home Video
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock
Written By: Jay Presson Allen
(Note: Although this film carries a PG rating, it will bore young audiences and might prove disturbing to teens.)
Tippi Hedren - Marnie Edgar
Sean Connery - Mark Rutland
Diane Baker - Lil Mainwaring
Martin Gabel - Sidney Strutt
Louise Latham - Bernice Edgar Mamie's mother
Bruce Dern - Sailor
Bob Sweeney - Cousin Bob