Rated PG, 129 mins
★★★★★ ★★★★★ by 1 User
Universally despised on its first release, Marnie (1964) remains one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest and darkest achievements. Tippi Hedren, in a performance based on a naked, anxious vulnerability, is a compulsive thief; Sean Connery is the neurotically motivated southern gentleman who catches her in the act and blackmails her into marriage. The examination of sexual power plays surpasses Fassbinder's films, which Marnie thematically resembles, going beyond a simple dichotomy of strength and weakness into a dense, shifting field of masochism, class antagonism, religious transgression, and the collective unconscious. The mise-en-scene tends toward a painterly abstraction, as Hitchcock employs powerful masses, blank colors, and studiously unreal, spatially distorted settings. Theme and technique meet on the highest level of film art. With Diane Baker and Louise Latham.
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writer: Winston Graham and Jay Presson Allen
Producer: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: Tippi Hedren, Sean Connery and Diane Baker

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★★★★★ ★★★★★

Sometimes the critics get it right the first time out. And the same for the audience.

Marnie justifiably remains as big a disappointment today as it did during its original release. The baffling change of opinion by critics, from bad to near masterpiece, is due more from the familiarity of Hitchcock's techniques and his reuse of former scenes from his other films.

Watch the facsimile of the famous scene from Notorious, the much revered tracking shot, beginning from the top of the staircase down the stairs to the hand of Ingrid Bergman holding a key, is embarrassingly repeated, with much less effect, during the party scene in Marnie as the doorbell keeps ringing, and camera slowly pans downstairs to finally reveal the arrival of a certain guest who can identify Marnie as a former employee and thief.

Bad scene painting and lazy editing only enhanced the fact that Hitchcock, one of my favorite, all time directors, could produce a bomb like any other great director.

William Masters

San Francisco, California

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Posted by petermasters on 08/02/2012 at 9:11 PM
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