Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Based on the novel by Winston Graham, Marnie is the story of a woman who is a compulsive thief as she gets married to a man who tries to figure out what she does and why. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and screenplay by Jay Presson Allen, the film is an exploration into the mind of a troubled woman who steals and has many phobias as her husband tries to help as she is played by Tippi Hedren. Also starring Sean Connery, Diane Baker, and Martin Gabel. Marnie is a rapturous and provocative film from Alfred Hitchcock.
The film is really the study of a compulsive thief who steals from banks through various disguises as she catches the attention of a publishing company owner whom she would reluctantly marry. It’s a film that explores the mind of this troubled woman who has fears of thunderstorms, the color red, and men touching her as it plays into something that she is hiding. Even as Marnie is this woman who can be in control whenever she doesn’t see red or be surrounded by thunderstorms as her behavior is seen by this man in Mark Rutland (Sean Connery) who investigates a previous theft as he tries to figure out who she is and such. Jay Presson Allen’s screenplay takes its structure where its first act is about the first theft and who Marnie is as her visit with her estranged mother (Louise Latham) play into some of Marnie’s peculiar behavior as she would put on another disguise to target Rutland’s building as he is very suspicious about her.
Allen’s script not only focuses on who Marnie is and the many disguises she takes but also in Rutland’s interest in her as he is trying to figure her out. While Rutland’s intentions are noble in to see what makes Marnie tick and why she behaves so strangely. He eventually becomes more sympathetic once he realizes some of the things in Marnie’s past though she refuses to say anything to him about her life. His actions into figuring out money would cause a lot of confusion among those close to him including his former sister-in-law Lil (Diane Baker) who tries to figure what Rutland is doing. Even as she would press buttons that would push Marnie near to the edge as her behavior would start to unravel.
Alfred Hitchcock’s direction is very interesting not just in his approach to melodrama but also in letting the suspense play out very slowly. While there are elements of styles that occur for backdrops in scenes set in a car or when Marnie is racing a horse. It’s only set into a minimum where Hitchcock is more concerned about the drama as he utilizes a lot of medium shots and close-ups to play into the drama. Even in moments such as flashes of red and lightning to play into Marnie’s sense of fear where Hitchcock would go for some stylish camera angles and moments to play into Marnie’s troubled state of mind. There’s also some very chilling scenes where it plays to how Marnie would react in its aftermath where she could be in denial at times or be very troubled. Especially in the film’s climax where aspects of Marnie’s previous thefts come back to haunt her just as Rutland starts to learn more of Marnie’s past as it would lead to this very dramatic confrontation. Overall, Hitchcock creates a very gripping yet evocative drama about a man trying to save a troubled woman.
Cinematographer Robert Burks does amazing work with the film‘s rich and colorful cinematography from its scenes set on the cruise ship to exterior setting near Philadelphia and at the home where Rutland lives. Editor George Tomasini does fantastic work with the editing with its stylish use of dissolves and jump-cuts to play into the suspense and drama. Production designer Robert F. Boyle and set decorator George Milo do excellent work with the set pieces from the look of the Rutland family home to the publishing house where Rutland does much of his business.
Gown designer Edith Head does brilliant work with the dresses and gowns that Marnie and Lil wear in many of their outings including parties. Hairstylist Virginia Darcy does wonderful work with the different hairstyles that Marnie would sport in her surroundings. Sound recorders William Russell and Waldon O. Watson do superb work with the sound from the way the thunderstorms would sound to the taps on the windows in how it would play to Marnie‘s sense of fear. The film’s music by Bernard Herrmann is sublime in its orchestral setting with some very intense and flourishing string arrangements for the suspenseful moments to more lush textures in its dramatic and somber moments.
The film’s phenomenal cast features notable small roles from Bruce Dern as a young sailor, Melody Scott Thomas as a young Marnie, Kimberly Beck as a young girl named Jessie whom Marnie’s mother watches over, Alan Napier as Rutland’s father, Bob Sweeney as Rutland’s suspicious cousin Bob, Mariette Hartley as Marnie’s co-worker in Susan, and Martin Gabel in a terrific role as a former boss of Marnie who is suspicious of her after she had stolen money from him. Louise Latham is amazing as Marnie’s mother as a woman who is very wholesome in her persona as she tries to get Marnie to find someone as it’s a role that is very chilling to watch. Diane Baker is fantastic as Rutland’s former sister-in-law Lil who has a thing for Rutland as she copes with Marnie coming into the family while wondering what Rutland is doing as she would try to push Marnie’s buttons.
Sean Connery is incredible as Mark Rutland as this publishing house owner who is intrigued by Marnie and her secretive persona as he starts to fall for her while trying to figure out her strange behavior. Finally, there’s Tippi Hedren in a magnificent performance as the titular character as this woman of great beauty who can steal things in the best way as it is really a cover for someone who is extremely troubled as she is often carrying something to represent the emotional and mental baggage of her turbulent life.
Marnie is a remarkable film from Alfred Hitchcock that features great performances from Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery. The film isn’t just an eerie story about a woman’s troubled state of mind but also in the form of an unconventional love story with lots of twists and turns. In the end, Marnie is a riveting and mesmerizing film from Alfred Hitchcock.
Alfred Hitchcock Films: (Number 13) - (The Pleasure Garden) - (The Blackguard) - (The Mountain Eagle) - (The Lodger) - (A Story of the London Fog) - (The Ring) - (Downhill) - (The Farmer’s Wife) - (Easy Virtue) - (Champagne) - (The Manxman) - (Blackmail) - (Juno and the Paycock) - (Murder!) - (The Skin Game) - (Mary) - (Lord Camber’s Ladies) - (Rich and Strange) - (Number Seventeen) - (Waltzes from Vienna) - (The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934 film)) - (39 Steps) - (Secret Agent) - (Sabotage) - (Young and Innocent) - The Lady Vanishes - (Jamaica Inn) - (Rebecca) - (Foreign Correspondent) - (Mr. & Mrs. Smith) - Suspicion - (Saboteur) - (Shadow of a Doubt) - Bon Voyage - (Lifeboat) - (Spellbound) - (Notorious) - (The Paradine Cage) - (Rope) - (Under Capricorn) - (Stage Fright) - Strangers on a Train - I Confess - Dial M for Murder - (Rear Window) - To Catch a Thief - (The Trouble with Harry) - (The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956 film)) - (The Wrong Man) - Vertigo - North by Northwest - Psycho - The Birds - (Torn Curtain) - (Topaz) - (Frenzy) - (Family Plot)
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