Thursday, October 27, 2005

[Film] Marnie (1964)

**** ½ (out of 5)

This is probably the edgiest Hitchcock I’ve seen (The Wrong Man, Vertigo & Frenzy appear to be its closest companions). It starts as a light salacious comedy and ends up as an intense psychodrama.

For the most part, this doesn’t play like the type of film we associate with Hitch – there are very few visual flourishes in the cinematography. Save for an unsettling flashback towards the end, most of the film is shot in a fairly straightforward way.

That means it relies on the performances and the writing. Tippi Hedren as Marnie goes through an incredible range: doting daughter, school-marm, cool thief, trapped, raging, suicidal, socialite, cold-blooded killer and a shattered Southern belle. Connery (when he’s not committing sexual assault) is super-cool. And the script is fascinating – full of the strong writing that comes from rooting for 2 well-motivated characters who are each completely in the wrong.

According to Donald Spoto’s “The Art of Alfred Hitchcock”, Marnie sits inside 2 sets of Hitch’s films. The first is the sex-theft quartet: To Catch A Thief, Psycho and Family Plot. The second – and I think more fascinating – is that it’s the culmination of a series of three films about psychological damage: Psycho (discovering the problem), The Birds (trying to treat the problem) and Marnie (healing).

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Jenni said...

Darnit! We should have watched it third after birds and Psycho! Darn!

hix said...

'Zactly. And then, to lighten up, finish the evening with some "Angry Men on a Raft".

Hmm. Maybe there's a flash cartoon in that.