dir. Alfred Hitchcock

TIFF Cinematheque - Hollywood Classics

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Sean Connery and Tippi Hedren star in Alfred Hitchcock's twisted tale of sexual pathology and compulsive crime.
Back in the news thanks to the HBO film The Girl, which details Hitchcock's abuse of actress Tippi Hedren, Marnie equals or surpasses Vertigo in the estimation of many Hitchcock authorities: Robin Wood counts this study of sexual pathology and compulsive crime among Hitchcock's "greatest and most personal achievements, as complex and painful as Vertigo," while Donald Spoto recently called it "certainly one of Alfred Hitchcock's most direct creative acts of self-revelation . . . After Marnie, no subsequent Hitchcock picture has any emotional statement to make." No doubt still traumatized by her treatment in The Birds, Hedren seems game for another go with Hitch, and embodies the enigmatic heroine with unsettling intensity. Intrigued by the safe-emptying thief, wealthy widower Mark Rutland (Sean Connery, exuding broguish virility) blackmails her into marriage, but on their honeymoon discovers that Marnie has darker secrets than mere kleptomania. Determined to solve the mystery of her pathology and fear of the colour red, Mark, both brutal fetishist and anxious analyst, goes to extreme ends to unriddle Marnie. ("Can there be any doubt that Sean Connery . . . is expressing Hitchcock's own feelings as a frustrated Pygmalion?" asked Truffaut.) Semiotically rich (watch that handbag!) and psychologically intense, Marnie was intended as a vehicle for Grace Kelly, who turned it down upon the protestations of the people of Monaco, who thought a sexually disturbed klepto was an inappropriate role for their princess.