I knew she was too good to be true. Always so eager to work overtime, never made a mistake. Always pulling her skirt down over her knees as though they were a – national treasure. She seemed so nice. So efficient.
It wouldn’t be Horrofest if we didn’t have our annual Alfred Hitchcock pick! Now as you may know from previous posts, I love Alfred Hitchcock movies. I like that he has a variety of characters from all kinds of backgrounds and motivations, but typically they are just an average person who is caught up in an abnormal circumstance.
The use of lighting and shots in every film are always amazing:
Hitchcock also always knew how to pick a story-choosing one that is well done, mysterious, suspenseful, and adding in his own special macabre tendencies.
Now I love almost every film of his, but there are two of his films that I absolutely hate: Vertigo and Marnie.
Last year I reviewed Vertigo, and thought that this year I would review the other, Marnie (1964).
Marnie (1964) stars Tippi Hedrun, someone who had an intense and complicated relationship with Alfred Hitchcock. In their previous film, The Birds, Alfred Hitchcock was obsessed with Tippi Hedren and controlled her, he wouldn’t let anyone talk to her-unless they were filming, and just was plan awful to her, abusing her. She tried to talk to the studio heads but he was such a money maker they refused to do anything.
Originally this film was supposed to be for Grace Kelly, but she turned it down as the content wasn’t seen as something that the Queen of Monaco should be involved with. Hedrun was given the part instead and her tumultuous relationship with Hitchcock continued. When she later refused Hitchcock, he blackballed her. (If you would like to know more I really recommend reading Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies by Donald Spoto) I do feel like this particular material appealed to Hitchcock as he acts similar to the main hero, Mark Rutland, especially with the lusting after a cool blonde (what Grace Kelly was often described as). Like Vertigo I really think Hitchcock was working through his own feelings of lust and loss for Grace Kelly as she left him and Hollywood for Monaco, forever being untouchable.
This was also the only Alfred Hitchcock film Sean Connery was in, although I think it was terrible decision. Apparently the story is that Connery had concerns that he would be typecasted as a spy after being in James Bond. When his company, Eon, asked what he wanted to do, Connery said that he wished to work with Alfred Hitchcock, which Eon arranged. Hitchcock and Connery got along well during filming and Connery was quoting saying that he was happy with the movie, “with certain reservations.” Uh, I have a ton of reservations. This movie is terrible.
Mark Rutland, (Sean Connery) a wealthy widower who owns a publishing company, and meets with Sidney Strutt on tax business. While there he spots a beautiful brunette, Marion Holland/Marnie Edgar (Tippi Hedrun). Marion has no references, but she was gorgeous and charming and Strutt was hoping to take her out so he hired her. Not long after this event, she flees with nearly $10,000 from Stutt’s safe.
When Mark returns he discovers Strutt furious at the theft. Meanwhile, Marnie has fled to Baltimore where she takes care of her mother and boards her horse, Forio.
Some months later a blonde applies for a job at Mark’s company; even though her name is “Mary Taylor”, she is a dead ringer for the brunette at Strutt’s company. With no references and suspecting her of theft, Mark hires her. Now why would he do that? Well, Mark never wanted to take over the family business, he wanted to be a zoologist and studied accordingly. He sees Mary/Marnie as a challenge, an animal he can study and eventually capture. The imagery is really strong and annoying. I think because it was Sean Connery people didn’t think it was problematic, like how Rod Taylor’s character in The Glass Bottom Boat is truly terrible, but it’s all brushed over because it’s Rod Taylor.
The two end up dating, and Mark, plus us the viewer, discover that Mary/Marnie is afraid of thunderstorms, has bad dreams, and the color red freaks her out and causes her to have an “episode.”
Not long after they begun dating, Marnie steals money from Mark’s company and takes off; with Mark tracking her down and blackmailing her to marry him. All pretense is gone and she now goes by her birth name Marnie. Yep, this film is going from bad to worse!
To complicate matters, Mark’s sister-in-law is in love with Mark (with Mark of course being completely oblivious) and is highly suspicious of Marnie keeping a very close eye on her.
They go on their honeymoon and Mark wants to sleep with her even though Marnie has zero interest. He rapes her, believing that he can change her from frigid to passionate. So yes, when I say this film is really awful and truly terrible I absolutely mean it. Why would anyone want to play this character? Why would the studio allow it?! I mean they don’t show the rape but you know what happened.
The next morning Marnie tries to kill herself and Mark is like “gee why you did you do that?” Hello, you raped her!
Mark ends up saving her. (But does he really save her?)
Lil spies on Mark believing that if she can discredit Marnie and then Mark will choose her, it’s like girl you are so delusional. He didn’t want you after his sister died, he will NEVER pick you.
Lil does overhear that Marnie’s mother is still alive (Marnie told Mark that she was dead) and overhears the couple talking about Strutt. Lil invites Strutt and his wife over to the house for dinner and it blows up in her face as Mark is still very much in “love” with his wife. (He calls it love, but it is definitely NOT love.)
Mark wants Marnie to love him and brings her horse to live with them. Things go okay as Mark tries to pay back all the people Marnie stole from, and doesn’t rape her again. One day they are doing a fox hunt when Marnie is first set off by a red outfit and then her horse is injured when she is making a jump. With her horse wounded she grabs a gun from a neighbor and puts the horse out of its misery.
She has an attack at seeing the blood and freaks out trying to steal from Mark but can’t. She’s in a slightly comatose state when Mark takes her to Baltimore to confront her mother and issues.
It turns out that Marnie’s mother was a prostitute and once when she was a little girl she was having a nightmare. One of Marnie’s mother’s clients tried to help and Marnie’s mother thought he was molesting Marnie. Bernice attacked him but was injured by the man. Marnie woke up and tried to help, killing the man she saw hurting her mother. The sight of his blood caused her hatred/fear of the color red, and the connection of sex and death caused her to have issues with intimacy.
The film ends “happily” with Marnie ready for help and they going off together although I don’t think this relationship will last. Mark thinks blackmail and rape is okay, he’s a truly terrible person. Like I have no words to describe how vile he is.
I wish it ended with him dying.
With the content of this film, I will end on this:
I Am a Survivor of Domestic Violence and I Know Help is Out There:
Are you being abused?
It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:
- Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
- Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
- Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
- Forcing you to have sex
- Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
- Controlling all the money, even money you earn
- Blaming you or your kids for everything
- Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
- Treating you like a servant or slave
- Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
- Controlling who you see, who you talk to
- Humiliating you in front of other people
- Refusing to let you leave the relationship
It can also look like the below cycle
If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.
- Learn more about the resources in your area from your state or U.S. territory coalition against domestic violence
- Learn more from other national service providers
- Learn more about internet and computer safety
- Learn more about the red flags of abuse
- Learn more about the forms of abuse
For more Alfred Hitchcock films, go to One Final Thing I Have to Do… and Then I’ll Be Free of the Past.: Vertigo (1958)
For more Tippi Hedrun, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)