Fav Top Ten Films #3: Marnie
Post Create by Jk the secret keeper
Film Review Written by Jennifer Kiley
Illustrated by j. kiley
Post Created On Tuesday 17th September 2013
Posted on Friday 20th September 2013
Marnie (1964) A+
Director Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Jennifer Kiley
“Marnie” is released to the public following “The Birds,” which was preceded by “Psycho.” At the time “Marnie” was not a financial success at the box office but has become a cult film, which this writer has seen in the triple digits since I was a kid, and felt a strong connection to the film. I may have been too young to grasp all the subtleties but it enthralled me.
It is like watching a car accident for some people, I have never been able to look away. Whenever I find it is on television these days, I pull out my own DVD, unless it is on an ad free channel, and settle in to watch it again. There just is something about “Marnie.” It is addicting and compelling. To watch a young woman go through so much turmoil and the people she meets all seem to be out to try and take something away from her.
In the first scene, Margaret Edgar, alias Marnie is introduced as she’s walking on the platform of a train station. The film’s protagonist, played by Tippi Hedren of “The Birds” fame, is constantly changing her appearance away from her natural blonde, to a disguise of varying hair colours, in order for her to take on new identities.
She moves from job to job, always as someone different. Now, there is a reason she does all these makeovers. Simply put, she is a kleptomaniac. She gets hired into job where the bosses are thrown by her beauty and hire, more times than not, without any references. The dirty old men that they are, get what they deserve. She rips them off of lots of money from there supposedly secure safes.
One of these times, Mark Rutland happens to be visiting her employer and cannot help but notice her beauty and her strange tick. She pulls down her skirt just a shade, to give the appearance of being modest, when in actuality it is to lure in her victims or to unconsciously exhibit her dislike of any man looking at her in a sexual manner.We learn that she’s a thief, an unstable woman who moves from job to job, changing names, physical appearance, and wardrobe.
She is hired as a secretary by Mark Rutland (Sean Connery), He, of course immediately after he observes her pulling down the hem of her skirt. Unfazed, she steals money from his company’s safe and then disappears.
Mark, however, is smarter than she thinks he is, and upon discovery of the theft, he searches for her and finds her. At this point, Mark announces his intent to marry her, instead of reporting her to the police. Marnie has no alternative but to comply.
Mark slowly becomes aware of Marnie’s problems, including her kleptomania and her being emotionally fragile. Eventually, he realizes she had a troubled childhood and this is the cause of her problems.
Mark is sincere in wanting to help Marnie. Trying to give her a sense of hope but instead, in the beginning he causes her more pain than comfort. There is an element of a Freudian psychological condition growing within her, which needs examining and exposure, in order for her to regain any sense of balance in her life.
Mark wants to play the psychiatrist who helps her. In one scene when Marnie is having a nightmare, Lil gets to her first, but Mark quickly dismisses Lil away. He attempts to question Marnie. They end up playing free association, at Marnie’s suggestion. She says to Mark, “I bet you can’t wait to play psychiatrist.”
That’s how the game begins, as a challenge. Marnie felt she would push Mark away if she played along with his attempts to help. If she succeeded, she thought he would just leave her alone. It backfires on Marnie. It starts out simple, but the words Mark starts slowly to trick Marnie. He gradually builds up the speed of firing the words at her until he gets to “red.”
What happens when Marnie hears this word, you need to see the film to watch how this develops and what happens when Marnie is made to confront the word “red.”
Throughout the film, the colour “red” is significant, and Mark is trying to figure out what is its significance. He does want to help her but he has his own nature with which to contend. Mark keeps trying until he eventually gets a lead in which he feels could resolve Marnie’s nightmares.
Mark is gentle with Marnie, once he establishes with her, he is in control. Not to destroy her, but to help her regain a sense of well-being. He realizes she has many sensitivities, one of which is her loathing the touch of a man, any man, including him. He is patient and tries to be loving, tender and understanding. But >he is motivated by intense feeling of desire. Marnie is beautiful and desirable.
Near the end of the film, a mutual expression of love grows into a feeling of hope. He takes Marnie to see her mother. But before he does this he explains to her, they will work out somehow the thefts she committed. With some understanding and explaining and offering up the amount of money she stole, Mark feels people will be understanding when they discover just what Marnie went through when she was young.
Eventually, his lust and patience collide. The gentleman loses the battle with sensitivity. He is no longer, in a moment of temptation, able to hold back his urges. His need to have his wife, Marnie, overcomes his control to be reserved and understanding. He is overcome by a powerful urge to possess what he desires. In the following obvious statement, “I’ve really trapped a wild thing this time,” demonstrates some of his need to dominate and to control her completely.
Mark and Marnie show up at her mother’s place. After they literally push their way into the house, past Marnie’s mom, a lightning storm explodes. Marnie begins to react with fear. Her mom, Bernice wants them to leave. When Marnie tries to seek comfort from her mother at any time, Bernice cannot handle the closeness and rejects her daughter repeatedly, always saying the same phrase: “Marnie, honey, you’re achin’ my leg.” It’s when Marnie rests her head in her lap, she is always rejected. A relationship so tenuous and confusing. Marnie never understands why her mother always pushes her away.
In the final moments of the film, a great deal is explained by the scenes which show exactly why Marnie developed into the person she has become. Now you know I am not going to tell what happens in this review. It is a must see film and the ending is a real killer.The last frames of the film show Mark and Marnie driving away, heading toward the docks, there appears a ship in the harbour. There are sea gulls flying about and children are playing jump rope while singing a song.The dock is obviously a mat but the film was made a long time ago and it does give the odd impression you are on a stage. As though the reality is all a dream. As the effect of the revealing sequence appears to be a dream.To explain the colour “red,” it is left to the observer to put the pieces together. What does “red” symbolize to most people? Is it a fusion of sex, violence, and death? Is this the overriding emotional struggle throughout the film? These questions can only be answered by watching this visually enhancing film, with tension continually building until its conclusion, where all is revealed in a most dramatic and disturbing finale.
Marnie Edgar (Tippi Hedren)
Mark Ruthland (Sean Connery)
Lil Mainwaring (Diane Baker)
Sidney Strutt (Martin Gabel)
Bernice Edgar (Louise Latham)
Cousin Bob (Bob Sweeney)
Man at the Track (Milton Selzer)
Mr. Ruthland (Alan Napier)
First Detective (Henry Beckman)
Rita (Edith Evanson)
Produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Screenplay: Jay Presson Allen
Based on the novel by Winston Graham
Camera: Robert Burks
Editor: George Tomasini
Music: Bernard Herrmann
Production design: Robert Boyle
Costumes: Edith Head
Marnie Trailer — Hitchcock — Tippi Hedren — Sean Connery