Wait, ZERO topics on the forum about this? Or was I not searching carefully?
OK well anyway, I’ll be provocative and say, this film sucked. I hated it. It was awful.
Try to convince me otherwise. ;)
It’s definitely a divisive film. I personally can’t get passed the apparent message that rape is OK if you’re Sean Connery, but a lot of people view it as a more complex and ironic film than I.
EDIT — ANYTHING can be viewed something as ironic and complex though, right? I mean, come on.
This is a case of what distinguishes a bad movie from a movie that takes chances, like what is going on on the CCC filmakers are lazy hacks thread, right?
i never liked it either
Come on, Marnie lovers, let’s get ready to rumbllllllleeeeeee! :D
Constructing a completely artificial, synthetic universe? Even moreso (and this is saying a lot) than THE BIRDS. A lampooning of the very pop psychology that would propose that the best solution for Marnie’s repression would be to have sex with Connery?
I don’t have a whole defense prepared, but, to warm up the discussion a little, Dave Kehr:
“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.”
we’re not buying it, matt parks ^
“…this film sucked. I hated it. It was awful.”
Well, then, no biggie: “you can no more choose whether or not to like a work of art than you can choose to have sugar taste sweet or lemons sour.” —Clement Greenberg.
So it goes.
The examination of sexual power plays surpasses Fassbinder’s films
Uh, no. To me, it was just cheesy and funny in a very sad way. (i.e., what on earth was he doing messing in that territory)?
Yes, I’m being blatantly opinionated.
“the best solution for Marnie’s repression would be to have sex with Connery?”
I dunno, I think it’s implied that Mark is every bit as pathological as Marnie. He’s certainly not framed postively in that scene.
Hi Odilonvert! I have a copy of the film on videotape, but I haven’t watched it in a long while. But I did enjoy watching it. I remember that it was the last film that the composer Bernard Hermann collaborated on with Hitchcock. I’m trying to remember it the best I can. I remember she had a horse and doesn’t Connery’s character get the horse for her to come to his house? Isn’t the killing of the horse a kind of symbolic death of the Marnie character for her to grow up? I like the fact that Marnie has blocked off her memories of her mother killing off a client of hers when her mother was a prostitute and Connery tries to save Marnie and make her more complete again. And also Marnie has a great hatred of men. Maybe she steals so she can do things like keep her horse in a stable. I don’t know. Like I said, I haven’t seen it in a while. I don’t think it is the greatest of the Hitchcock films but I did think it was a pretty good film. Probably films like Psycho and Vertigo work better when you are trying to interpret them from something like a Freudian or Jungian viewpoint, (based on the fact that they have been written about from that angle I guess), but I thought Marnie wasn’t that bad a film.
I barely remember this film as I saw it in college, but I remember not liking. The Kehr excerpt is interesting, but I think it would be convincing if the film is meant as a kind of farce or satire—and not some realistic drama/thriller. I’m a little open to that reading because one of the problems I recall having was that the characters and situations seemed too absurd to be intentionally realistic.
I think it would be convincing if the film is meant as a kind of farce or satire—and not some realistic drama/thriller. I’m a little open to that reading because one of the problems I recall having was that the characters and situations seemed too absurd to be intentionally realistic.
Jazz — exactly!!! I totally agree.
Realism it is not.
I think my biggest problem really was that Tippi is just a really bad actress. I mean, the plot is absurd but that voice and her wooden manner — a farce but I don’t think Hitchcock was poking fun there… or was he? lol
I don’t think it’s a farce. I’d call it psycho-sexual Expressionism, pre-Lynch and post-Frank Wedekind.
Yeah, Odi, Tippi was very much a novice at that point—Hitchcock saw her in a Sego commerical and signed her to a contract.
^ True. Good way to look at it, Matt.
@Odilonvert I liked Tippi Hendren’s acting in the film. I think that wooden matter that you say that she has I think really fits the character she is playing. I think her character in the film is very repressed sexually I guess. It seems that way to me. She might also be a lesbian because of how she acts with the Connery character such as locking herself in the bathroom of the cruise ship when they are on their honeymoon and when she tries to commit suicide in the pool on the cruise ship. I think also that a lot of the movie hinges on the fact of her witnessing her mother murder one of her clients when Marnie was a child. The horse she owns might be a symbol of Marnie’s freedom if Marnie was able to unleash who she really is inside. Maybe I’m going out on a limb, but it could possibly be interpreted that way.
We need Daniel Kasman in here!
Adam – thanks for taking care of that troll! :D
No problem. In return you must now love Marnie!
Oh no… I knew there was a catch… sigh…
Ok, you may subject me to another viewing of Marnie. It’s better than some jerk troll any day. :D
I don’t think “realistic” is the right word I was looking for…maybe serious? In any event, taking the film at face value is difficult—although Matt’s “pre-Lynch” comment seems pretty interesting and potentially helpful. Lynch’s films aren’t realistic per se, but the films have a weird tone and approach that signal you’re not in for something normal. I’m not sure Marnie does the same thing, but, again, I haven’t seen it in ages.
I can understand why the rape scene and portrait of women (one fragile/ disturbed, one jealous/a threat as the audience perceives her, one remote, harsh and controlling) are alienating, but I felt deeply for Marnie when i first saw the film in my late teens and i feel deeply for her still! Whether Hedren is wooden, whether the plot is absurd, for me it’s Hitch’s most emotionally powerful, involving and gut-wrenching film. Interesting to compare with Vertigo in particular- for colour scheme, neurosis, make-over, predatory/protective male etc. The scenes with the dying horse and the confrontation with her mother churn me up. It is not intended to be realistic, Matt is right about expressionism, and it goes to some dark places beneath the initial outer coolness.
Of course it has Hitch’s game playing with the audience and suspense- e.g the clever use of silence-sound in the office theft with the cleaner scene.
It could be said all Marnie’s problems stem from male exploitation of women in an unequal system in which women sell their bodies and are at risk from violent and unscrupulous abusive men. Marnie does not leap round in graititude after Connery tries to cure her resistance to his “conjugal rights” with force. It’s still Marnie i feel for, not admiration for Connery that arises. His character is problematic, as he is no mere brute but also has genuine concern for her. Does his being handsome (and the great irresistible Bond- interesting casting) and having such concern make the rape seem alright?
No it doesn’t.
In addition to all of the complaints submitted, I would like to point out that the movie is terribly internally inconsistent in its thematic use of color, though you can see what Hitchcock intended. Marnie has a psychological fear of the color red that makes her very nearly unable to operate. That is symbolic. She also moves into a house that is pretty much saturated in red—that too is symbolic. That symbolism stacked upon itself, however, is internally inconsistent: how can Marnie even be inside that house? This is no slow-burn breakdown type of psychological paralysis she endures but an instantaneous visceral revulsion. Just walking into the living room should have her vomiting her stomach through her mouth, and this movie would be less pre-Lynch and more pre-Cronenberg. In that case it would have been interesting, but instead it all just points to one thing: Hitchcock going way over the top, not caring that it doesn’t make a lick of goddamned sense.
I have to be honest and state that this is one of the few movies I have a pretty deep hatred for. I do not find Hitchcock’s use of sexual power dynamics to be ironic or critical at all. Certainly Hitchcock is a more complicated thinker than those who call him a straight-up misogynist give him credit for, but he’s also not quite the deeply complicated thinker that a whole lot of people give him credit for. His psychology is pop psychology and not questioning of pop psychology. He believes in what he does.
I agree there are contradictions and apparent inconsistencies, Hitch was no deep psychological thinker, of course there’s a lot of pop psychology (and maybe ironic nonsense at the end of Psycho, which also has a woman on the run from theft), and in my opinion a lot of psychiatry is hogwash, but in this case- and this is purely a subjective response- the film moved me. But that is due to my own emotional and psychological make-up; it hit the right triggers. Marnie is less mysterious and beautiful than Vertigo, and its (no doubt shallower, hardly Bergmanesque) way of playing on fears, heightened reality, bordering on hysteria and apparently on misogyny, will be divisive. Whereas say with someone like Mizoguchi there is a lot to admire formally with the marshalling of movement and compositions, beyond emotional response.
I’m sure we had a discussion of the film some time back. Anyway, of course perfect consistency for Hitch was always secondary to play on audience fears, emotions and psychological triggers; so if the latter doesn’t work for a viewer in Marnie of course there will be other perceived faults to be found. The issue might be more whether we should consider such manipulation ahead of solidly founded character study is a reliable measure of artistic worth, and to what extent we should value soul-searching integrity ahead of Hitch’s unabashed (and in my opinion often inspired) play with the medium.