Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose #19: Real Identities (Opening Scene of Marnie)

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1. Based on the opening sequence alone, what do you feel you already know about Marnie as a character? In what ways does Hitchcock visually reveal her character through her interaction with objects.

 

We definitely know she's a career criminal of some kind, probably a thief -- multiple IDs and social security cards, way more cash than any honest person would probably be carrying around with them. This is confirmed by the way she transfers it from her purse to a suitcase -- not what most people would do with that much cash if they'd come by it via honest avenues. She's packing kind of haphazardly, suggesting she's on the run right this minute. Most women that stylish wouldn't dream of crumpling pretty clothing like that and just stuffing it in a suitcase. She also seems to have many hiding places for all her different IDs and whatnot. She locates the one she wants quickly and calmly. She's been doing this a really long time.

 

She's also a good quick change artist and, again, has everything she needs to make herself over completely right there at the ready. She ends the scene in a different style of clothing than what she was wearing before. Totally different style purse. Black hair dye is super hard to get out of your hair, but Marnie switches from black to blonde in no time flat, so it seems like she's done that before too. I almost get the impression that Marnie might be the type of person that feels like she has no real identity. Maybe. Could be why she does what she does. She is smart and pretty enough to probably be well-off by honest means if she wanted, so there's a reason she chooses this life.

 

2. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene?

 

It really helps to personalize Marnie and make her feel like more than just some thief or criminal on the run. The tonality of the music is dreamy and maybe a little mysterious, as opposed to dark and forbidding. It helps you see Marnie as a warm-blooded person that probably has feelings, and motivations, and problems just like you or me. It makes you want to know more about why she's choosing to do what she does just like Sean Connery's character does later in the movie.

 

The way the music builds and swells as Marnie washes the black dye out of her hair and eventually reveals her face to the camera afterward reminds me a lot of the score that played in Vertigo right before Judy reveals her complete re-transformation into the deceased Madeleine. Another transformation from a film that dealt with issues of identity and the leading of multiple lives, albeit in a different way. Could be my imagination, but Marnie looks hopeful in the same way Madeleine did -- like she's hoping that maybe this transformation will bring with it whatever it is she's looking for.

 

3. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? 

 

Hitch breaks the fourth wall with this one, coming out of his hotel room and staring right at us as if to say: "Here I am. Alright? Now watch the movie." In fact, it seems like Hitch is firing a lot of little in jokes at his most loyal viewers with the beginning of this film and breaking the fourth wall in other ways as well. As touched on in the lecture, there are many nods to other iconic things from other Hitchcock films -- a key hidden in a hand, a woman absconding with a lot of money, and the stunning transformation of a beautiful woman from one version of herself to another.

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Further Reflections:  After watching the clip, please go to Twitter (#Hitchcock50) or the TCM Message Board (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.  (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.to continue your reflections on this clip. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own):

1.     Based on the opening sequence alone, what do you feel you already know about Marnie as a character? In what ways does Hitchcock visually reveal her character through her interaction with objects.

She is a criminal, a thief. She changes her identity then disposes it (e.g. dyed hair, complete change of wardrobe and accessories (the old wardrobe stored and literally “thrown away with the key.”) She has multiple Social Security cards.

2.     How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene?

To me the score sounds like one from a romance or a romantic comedy – it is light with no undertones of anything sinister. The music juxtaposes with this woman who is a hard-core, very clever, criminal – but not a gangster or anyone violent.

3.     Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? It seems as if Hitchcock is in on the crime or knows what has happened and is watching out for Marnie – it feels as if he “has her six.” 

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Daily Dose #19 - Marnie

 

"My name's Rutland, Mark Rutland..."

 

Looking forward to seeing this film, as I am a huge Connery fan.  The look of Tippi Hendren in the daily dose reminded me or two actresses - One a contemporary of Hendren's, the other with a strong connection.  She first reminded me of Sandy Dennis (Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf) and of course, Hendren's daughter Melanie Griffith.  

 

  1. Based on the opening sequence alone, what do you feel you already know about Marnie as a character? In what ways does Hitchcock visually reveal her character through her interaction with objects.

     

     Marnie comes off as a careful person.  When she puts the old suitcase into the storage locker she wears gloves.  She changes identities easily, and in doing so changes her style as well, whereas look #1 had pastels and color, look number two is earth tones, almost monochrome.  She has multiple ids.  She is either a crook or a spy.  

 

2.  How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene?

 

    There is a repeating medley at first,  following the dark haired woman, the medley is rather reminiscent of something you would hear in a John Barry scored James Bond film, it is low, then suddenly swells and changes its mood and melody on the Blonde Tippi Hendren is revealed to the audience.

 

3.  Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means?

 

   Yes, Hitchcock opens the film by exiting the door, and then actually looks at the camera instead of Marnie.  He is checking to see how the audience is for the film, I suppose.  Breaking the 4th wall.  Tsk, Tsk, Alfred!  Save it for television!

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My prediction is that Marnie (Tippi Hedren) is sporting multiple disguises and identities, to avoid hiding from the police as a criminal con artist on the run (visual clues include the hotel clerk carrying her boxes, she is switching her social security cards, washing out her black hair dye, changes in wardrobe, luggage, dropping the safe deposit key into the grate, etc.).  

 

Bernard Herrmann’s source orchestral score for the opening scene in “Marnie” has a somber, secretive “tone” to it, but then builds up with a dramatic tone (during the shot where Hedren’s character is washing out her black hair dye in the sink) and then has a “dangerous glamour” tone during the close-up shot of Hedren’s face and blonde hair (and when she is walking to her luggage storage locker).  

 

After Marnie (Hedren) and the hotel clerk walk by Alfred Hitchcock’s hotel room door (in the hallway of the hotel), he immediately steps out of his hotel room and looks into the camera (to the audience).   This is possibly a clue by Hitchcock for the audience to pay attention to what Hedren’s “Marnie” character will be doing, or he is wondering what is going on (in reference to the hotel clerk carrying Marnie’s various boxes) or he knows that there is a criminal con artist staying in the same hotel that he is staying in.  He could also be alerting the audience that there will be signs of danger later in the film.

 

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1. Based on the opening sequence alone, what do you feel you already know about Marnie as a character? In what ways does Hitchcock visually reveal her character through her interaction with objects
She a con artist that likes to steal money from safes, shes even carring a lock pickyng device. Marnie is also on the run she getting all her own belongings and discarding them putting all her new belongs into a new suitscase. THe washing of hair repesent to be that Marnie has more then one personality.
 
2. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene?
It's a more sadder score make you feel sympathetic to Marnie character.
 
3. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? 

Yes in this cameo he turn to the camera for the very 1st time. 

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DAILY DOSE #19 (Marnie).

 

THE TROUBLE WITH HAIR DYE:

1. The Fake IDs suggests she's a con artist.

2. The score begins melodramatically but shifts to tones of rebirth with the new hair color.

3. Hitch is caught ogling Tippi who could refer to their last film together as: The Gooses.

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Like many who suffer trauma during childhood, Marnie is psychologically and emotionally stunted in many ways, stuck within the unresolved trauma. Marnie is still in many ways a little girl. Long before we find out she goes by the girlish nickname "Marnie," Hitchcock shows her approaching her escape like a little girl playing dressup. She is playing pretend, deciding which name/social security card should she be today She is playing dress up, neatly packing some clothes in a pink case, while the clothes she's finished (bored?) with are piled carelessly in the other. She wears white cotton gloves like a little girl on Sunday morning. And Hedren displays emotions ranging from girlish satisfaction, when we first see her face beneath her blond hair, to a girlish deviousness when she spots the floor grate and decides to drop the key in. 

 

As Dr. Edwards pointed out in the lecture video, Hitchcock is referencing many of his old films in an attempt to tease the audience into false predictions about the plot. The bag with the money and the hair dye circling down the drain evokes Psycho, a woman changes her appearance/identity as in Vertigo, and the floor grate harkens back to Strangers on a Train. He also does something he has never done in one of his cameos. He looks into the camera. He looks back down that hall at us as he might someone who was standing there and caught his attention. The moment is uncomfortable, for we've been following Marnie and watching her, and for an instant, Hitchcock watches us watch his character. In a subtle way, he is letting on that he knows what the audience must be thinking about this or that reference and that he placed them there deliberately.

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1. Marnie is a con artist is demonstrated by: a) the large amount of purchases, removing from the boxes and neatly folding them in a nice suitcase B) the multiple ids that she carries and swapping for a different one c) changing her hair color and style d) throwing the clothiers she had been wearing into a second suitcase e) leaving the suitcase with the used clothes' leaving it in a locker at the station and losing the key.

 

2. The music gives the air of mystery by following the repeated motions that Marnie is going through. It adds to the feeling to the viewer you know something's up but you can't quite figure it out at this point.

 

3. Hitchcock gives an inquisitive look at the viewer then back to the bellman and Marnie. It's a sign we need to pay attention.

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1) With the sequence alone, Marnie appears to be a complex, manipulative character, willing to do anything or be anyone for her progression and benefit. Visually, you can see her complexity through the two suitcases, one being messy and the other pristine, the compact with many social security cards hidden in it, and the new wardrobe in the clean suitcase, while her old clothes are strewn in the other, in addition to the hair dye. Through all of this, you can visually see Marnie getting rid of the old identity and bringing in the new one.

 

2) The way that Herrmann’s score is used in this scene is to help build the mystery and anticipation of Marnie and her complexity. The score starts out low and slow, which, for me, establishes the mystery and lack of understanding surrounding this character. The music than picks up when the clothes are being transferred and it hits a peak when the hair dye is being washed off. This peak in the music is the anticipation of the new ‘version’ of Marnie and what will occur from it, which is shown as this pretty blonde.

 

3) The only variation that I really noticed is that Hitch seemed to break the fourth wall, which might be his way of establishing his curiosity of Marnie to the audience, since this happens after she walks past him.

 

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1.     In this opening scene from Hitchcock’s, Marnie, we gather almost everything we need to get the ball rolling. Marnie is basically changing identities. Why? Because she’s a thief. Not much more to say except to state the obvious of what give us these clues. New clothes in a new suit case, old clothes in another. Switch out the old Social Security card and pick from one of the other ones. She’s done this before. Dump your stolen money in the new suit case, wash out the dye in your hair and dispose of the old suitcase in a way that will take people a long time to discover. It all echoes back to Hitchcock’s silent film years and experience as a designer/illustrator. You don’t need dialogue to say so much about the film.

 

2.     Bernard Hermann’s score is so critical in this film. There is a motif that, like in Vertigo is haunting, but also beautiful in a way that we’re not afraid but feel like there is some sort of nostalgia or longing for something that is missing. I am reminded of Albinoni’s Adagio in G, which is used in so many films, such as Orson Welles’ The Trial and interestingly recently used in Manchester by the Sea. Both scores serve to give you a psychological underpinning of the main character. It becomes an integral part of the main character throughout the film. In this opening scene, Hermann’s score has a dramatic climax, which like Albinoni’s score changes the mood in a story-like fashion. Hermann’s score reaches a change in tone from being nostalgic and haunting to one of rebirth and joy as Marnie washes the dye our and raises her head to be introduced to the audience.

 

3.     While I am sure there is another film in which Hitchcock looks directly at the camera, I just can’t remember which, Hitchcock does it very differently in this one. He is in close proximity to the viewer, looks at us a bit longer and raises the eyebrow. I believe Hitchcock is consciously acknowledging a relationship in time and space to the audience. He is telling them to “check this out” or “see what I’ve done here this time”. I believe he wants us to look for all the themes that he has utilized throughout his films. All motifs. The purse as an object or vehicle for a plot to start on, the use of color symbolically, the way the black dye does look like a reference to the blood going down the drain in Psycho. This one in particular is the overlap between Marnie and Marion Crane in which Marion almost gets a second life here as Marnie reboots her identity. I must say that I disagree with the video lecture in that I believe Psycho was one of the first films in which we see Hitchcock address the childhood of a character and Marnie seems to take this a step further. I could go out on a limb and say that even in Shadow of a Doubt, Hitchcock uses the relationship between the childhood memory of the Charlie the niece, to Charlie the uncle. Many would say that in Psycho it’s the Oedipus complex relationship suggestion. That’s not really it at all, but more one of the abuse and damage done to Norman as a child and how stifling it has become to him. Long term damage. Marnie furthers this narrative of the affect of long term psychological damage. Marnie’s damage isn’t only due to her own personal abuse, but also watching her mother subject herself to it regularly. Hitchcock looking at the camera is him becoming more than an artist but a teacher of human behavior. 

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True to Hitchcock, the opening scene of MARNIE is true character development created through visuals, playing like a silent film with no dialogue. To me this is most reminiscent of REAR WINDOW where we get a complete look at a character from the start. She is quite clearly changing identities, after taking off with a great deal of money, much like in PSYCHO. Her old suitcase and wardrobe are neutral in color, while her new suitcase is literally bigger, and her clothing is brighter. Her wallet goes from grayish brown, to sparkling gold. The purse is the only exception to this, which changes from a bright yellow to a more subdued color. It is the one thing that ties her previous identity to her new one, with the money being hidden in that very object before the change. As she switches out her old social security card for a pick of her other three identities, we see another hint at PSYCHO; her name is Marion. She nonchalantly picks one from the three new names as if she is used to just changing identities, like this is “normal” for her. She has multiple identities inside and out. The rinsing of the hair dye in the sink is also reminiscent of the blood going down the drain in PSYCHO, and the key “falling” down the grate hints at the lighter that fell into the storm drain in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN

 

The score feels like PSYCHO in the parts where Norman is cleaning up the body and room after murdering Marion. It is sad, contemplative, and reflects danger. Arpeggio-like but slower in tempo, the sound motif repeats as it descends in pitch, driving us deeper and deeper into trouble and melancholy. It is beautiful at the same time so it is effective in building our sympathy for Marnie.

 

Hitch’s cameo is different in this scene from his previous works. Before, we would see him in the background or criss-crossing, or bumping into a character, going in a train, or passing on the street. There is no interaction with the character in MARNIE, although they are in the same hallway. He looks at Marnie as she has passes by so she has no idea that he was even there. It is the first time that Hitchcock looks directly at us into the camera. This is more what I remember from his television show where he would talk directly to the audience to guide them in his shorter stories.

 
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  1. Based on the opening sequence alone, what do you feel you already know about Marnie as a character? In what ways does Hitchcock visually reveal her character through her interaction with objects.

     

    She flips her head back with a sweet and sly smile, as if to say I succeeded.  As she was packing the suitcase, she really didn't seem to care how she packed them - while they were neat, the boxes were flipped over to the side like it was not a big deal.  The suitcase with her "used" items were thrown in willy nilly.  It was this case that she put into the locker at the station and the key for that locker that she tossed down the grate.  She doesn't want anyone to open it ever.

    It is as if she is starting over with a new identity - blonde and new clothes.

     

  2. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene?

     

    It has an ominous feel that sounds very thrilleresque and noir.  It doesn't have the happy go lightly sound that most of him films seem to have.

     

  3. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? 

     

    He looks back at the camera - it almost seems like an accident!  Does he know he is almost done making pictures?  Perhaps he wants to shake things up a bit??

 

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Based on the opening sequence alone, what do you feel you already know about Marnie as a character? In what ways does Hitchcock visually reveal her character through her interaction with objects. 

 

She's a thief and has been for a long time. The different SS cards, the old clothes and hair that she discards, very carefully.  Not put in a dumpster, but in a locker and she drops the key down a grating.  You know she's never going back there. 

 

 

How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene?

 

It sets the opening up as romantic, no slashing title cards.  Title cards written on lovely stationary.  The music is romantic.

 

 

Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? 

 

He comes out the door and looks.  We see his face, dead-on.  No side profiles, not from the back.  We know it's him, we've been waiting to see where he'll appear this time. 

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1. Based on the opening sequence alone, what do you feel you already know about Marnie as a character? In what ways does Hitchcock visually reveal her character through her interaction with objects.

 

She appears to a thief from the stacks of cash, though very professional as evidenced by her multiple IDs and clever way of hiding the ones she will use in the future. She is completely shedding her old identity. She has two suitcases, one for each identity. Her new identity is competely new. Everything is packed carefully and brand new, gloves still in plastic bags they came in, other items still in boxes, or packed directly from the boxes they came in new. All of her new clothes seems to have come from the same store, stacks of identical boxes. Her old identity (in the other suitcase) is completed abandoned, clothes just thrown in with no concern for them. She also changes her physical appearance, washing the black hair dye down the drain, arising from the sink a new woman. She gets rid of her old belongings in a train station locker, dropping the key down a grate where it will never be discovered. 

 

 

2. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene?

 

The Herrmann score reminds me of Vertigo, but more subtle. There is something going on emotionally, but it's not clear what it is. It does build to a climax when she comes up from the sink as a new person, and then continues as she moves through the train station. The music abruptly stops, as she puts the suitcase (her old identity) in the locker. It wouldn't surprise me if she had a new theme melody or at least a new variant on the existing one in future scenes as she is a new person.

 

3. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means?

 

The cameo is introduced with one of Hitchcock signature shots. Focusing on the purse is reminiscent of the shoes in the opening of Strangers on a Train and following a walking character with the camera that goes all the way back to Downhill (1927) if not earlier. Then something different happens, the camera stops while the character keeps moving. Through the years, he has established a pattern of following characters as they walked. Here he breaks that pattern, and then he comes out of the door, as if to say, you think you know what's going on, but you really don't. 

 

By having the camera stop while the character continues to move, he is telling us that this is a story about a person running away from something. I think it also shows that Hitchcock is more confident. He has already shown that the purse is important, but he can now add another layer visual information (person running away), and he knows the audience will follow it.

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I am ashamed to say I haven't seen this film and greatly look forward to it because from the reading in our Daily Dose I am very intrigued.

 

 I am going to hazard a guess that Hitch's direct camera look in his cameo is an act of self-reflexivity.   In the reading we learned that the critics panned the fake backdrop paintings and poor quality rear projection. We know in some film styles total realism is not always a goal and those aspects disparaged by critics might have been by choice rather than poor technique. I think my hypothesis is furthered by the clear intertextual references to other films. In addition to a recurring motif of a woman with money illicitly gained, I agree with Professor Edwards about the drain shot harkening back to Psycho.  The first ID that we see, the one she had just used, was "Marion", again from Psycho. The shot at a station, walking away from the back, waist down, is Strangers on a Train. And a key close-up is in many films- Dial M For Murder, Psycho, North by Northwest and Notorious come quickly to mind.

 

I can't wait to see more and try to figure out why Hitchcock might have been in a self-referencing frame of mind, why he would choose that for this film- if he did. 

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It's been a long time since I've seen MARNIE and I must say that, based on Dr. Edwards' praise for it and that intensely captivating opening scene, I look forward to seeing it again.

 

While my memory points to some agreement with Dr. Gehring in that not all the pieces in this film work for me, I do think the overall feel of the film continues to show Hitch's success, even in his mid 60's. Just Bernard Herrmann's score and Tippi Hedren's look do that alone, not to mention the other moving pieces that make it an intriguing film.

 

Herrmann's score here almost serves as a buildup to the revelation of what we will later learn is the true Marnie; the classic Hitchcock blonde with deeper problems than we are initially led to believe. Herrmann's subtle undertones to start point to something suspicious, but once the dye is washed from Marnie's hair to reveal Tippi Hedren, that subtlety is completely gone and rarely returns.

 

If anything, the opening shows us that our eponymous protagonist has a lot to hide and that she manipulates her way through getting what she wants. Based on the multiple identity cards and expensive items housed in nice suitcases, we know that there is more to Marnie than meets the eye. We know very little, but we at least know there is a sense of suspicion to come.

 

As for our director's cameo, I find it one of his most curious, especially considering that he places himself toward the very beginning and looks at the camera. It's almost as if he is acknowledging that, despite the lack of success of his later years, there is still a Hitchcock touch to this film and he approves!

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1. It reveals that she is a excellent, professional thief with many identities and we know it because she has a various number of social security guards. She packs her bag and arrange her objects neatly and thoroughly. The bag is use with her new identity. When is with her old identity, she just the objects and clothes in the bag carelessly. Something mysterious is happening. Her new identity was created and her old identity was left behind and abandoned. In the end, she drop the key indicating that her old identity full of rough times during her childhood will forever be abandoned and undiscovered.

 

2. I think Bernard's score fits and resonates really well with the scene. In the beginning, the tone of the music score seems kind of sad, slow, and melancholy. It is really settle and calm, a calmness that gives a sense of sadness. After she watch the black dye of her hair. The tone of the music score became really bright an optimistic indicating that she's happy for a new beginning in her life and is really joyful to let go of her old identity for her new one. It also shows Hitchcock's obsession and focus on the main character of a young blonde women as the victim or the one who leads the story.

 

3. Hitchcock acts like a guide in his cameo appearance. He comes out from the door and turns around at the audiences . I think he's trying to say that he's trying to say that the lady character in Marine has her own way, a path she might walk to. He glares at the audiences to see if we know which way she's going and what will it lead to in the end.

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We learn many things about Marnie in this clip. She's clearly an expert, or at least very experienced, at what she does. She carefully plans things out by changing her identity, placing the suitcase in the locker and dropping the key in the grate. I also noticed that she's very calm and composed while carrying all this out, which suggests that she's done this many times before. The suitcases show us the different personalities she gives to each of her identities (or perhaps, she naturally has these different identities in herself). One suitcase is neat and tidy, while the other is full of clothes just thrown about. If I remember correctly, I think she takes the tidy one with her under her identity of Marnie. This says, if she is now playing her true self, that she is a tidy and proper lady, even if she may have a dark side.

 

The score is suspenseful but also beautiful, and I think Hitchcock used it to fit with the darkness but also the beautifully calm and perfect way she movies about. Also, it's leading up to the climax of the clip, where we finally see Marnie's face, as if it's telling us to look and pay attention and observe this beautiful star.

 

Hitchcock's cameos seem to be getting bolder as his career goes on. For example, his cameos in his earlier British films were elusive and difficult to spot (until you have noticed him and you realize he's actually more obvious than the extras on screen). But in his later movies, he's not hidden in plain sight. As in Marnie​, he's the only person in the foreground and turns his head to the camera, while other times he doesn't. I think this difference says that he's getting a lot bolder in his later years, not only in his cameos but also in his works. He's obviously reached stardom (or is it director-dom?) by now, has become a recognizable face, and his movies have been very successful in the recent decade or so. As he's continuing to be experimental in his movies, the same goes for his cameos.

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1. We learn that Marnie is a thief who has been at her craft for a while. She has at least 2 variations of herself. She has finished with this identity and it's time to move on. In the one suitcase she is shedding the instruments of her craft and the other case holds her other life.

 

2. The music seems foreboding and it also frames her transformation. She is emerging as a new person and the music is accompanying her rebirth.

 

3. What I see that is different about Hitch's cameo is that he looks directly at the camera. I don't know if it really means anything. Maybe he is letting the audience know that her is someone to watch.

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1.Based on the opening sequence alone, what do you feel you already know about Marnie as a character? In what ways does Hitchcock visually reveal her character through her interaction with objects.

We learn Marnie has multiple identity cards, revealing that she is fake. She changes her hair color, which reveals that she is running from something, as she also has several identities to choose from. She rather mysteriously leaves a suitcase of money in a locker and then drops the key in the grate. There is an air of mystery surrounding her.

2.How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene?

The music gets higher and higher, adding an element of anticipation.

3. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means?

In this clip, he faces the camera, unlike other shots, where his face is seen from the side. He also closes the door only and we don't see him exit. In previous scenes, he crosses the screen, but not this one.

I believe he's telling us that this film is going to be different from his others. He faces the audience, as if to say, " I'm not hiding anything in this one", yet in true Hitchcock form, his opening scene introduces us to a very mysterious character. But then again, it could be that he simply got tired of the cat and mouse with the audience and wanted to get his cameo over quickly, as in The Birds, so as not to detract from the film.

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I just read Steve Vertlieb's article: Herrmann and Hitchcock:The Torn Curtain, and found it informative and fascinating about the relationship of these two great artists. I think there is a movie in this working collaboration. I'm so sad that egos got in the way towards the end of their careers. I am grateful for their contributions and their artistic respect for one another when things were in synch. 

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  1. Based on the opening sequence alone, what do you feel you already know about Marnie as a character? In what ways does Hitchcock visually reveal her character through her interaction with objects. She is a con-woman with multiple identities. In this scene she is shedding her character by throwing things in the gray suitcase that she is discarding. She neatly packs the items she intends to take with her.

  2. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene?  The music is soft and captivating  during the sorting of items but swirls and swells in crescendos as we see her face and her blonde hair of her new, and perhaps, real identity.

Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? He comes out into the hall, directly into the scene, hesitates, and looks back at the camera.  Perhaps he's just getting the cameo shot out of the way so the audience can focus on the movie, and does it in a way that no one can miss it.

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We can tell in these opening scenes that Marnie is a thief, she's good at it, done it before (multiple SS cards), she's cold, calculating, with a plan that has worked in the past.  You just have to wonder, what is up with that?  What makes her this person?  She's cool & calm as she places her new items of clothing in the new suitcase, & tosses the old clothes into the old suitcase.  She further sheds her old skin/identity when she rinses the dark hair dye out of her hair.  I hadn't thought of the Psycho connection, but when Dr. Edwards mentioned it, it definitely clicked for me.

 

Bernard Hermann's score is very moody, flowing back & forth in almost a hypnotic affect.  It draws you into the film & makes you want to know more about Marnie's character.

 

Hitchcock's cameos are often easy to miss.  He's usually in the background, though not always.  Here, he walks right out toward the camera.  He wants you to see him.

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Based on the opening sequence alone, what do you feel you already know about Marnie as a character? In what ways does Hitchcock visually reveal her character through her interaction with objects.

She is a sophisticated thief...not a common one. She is calculating and thorough. She has done it so often, the objects she steals seem to have no effect on her emotionally. She doesn't linger or study over them. She simply coldly packs them away.

 

How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? It's a smooth and cool..does not evoke an emotion as the objects stolen have the same effect on Marnie.

 

Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? I believe this is the first cameo in which he actually interacts with the protagonist by observing her briefly...then looking at the camera, then looking at her again. As if to tell us,to pay close attention to this person.

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1.  I've seen this movie twice before, but I never noticed how well this first scene works.  What we know about Marnie is that she is a secretive woman, and not only comfortable but adept at changing her look and identity.  The many close-ups of objects, handled with such precision and care, show us that this is clearly not the first time she has changed things up.  It is interesting how many of these objects do evoke earlier Hitchcock films, something that must be deliberate.  

 

2.  Herrmann's musical cue begins with a repeated motif that evokes a feeling of intrigue or suspense.  It builds to a climax at the moment when Marnie is completing her transformation, and there is actually a brief moment where I think Herrmann is almost quoting from his Vertigo score, when Judy is becoming Madeline.  It is not exact, but reminiscent, and appropriate since we are watching another transformation here.  

 

3.  Hitchcock's cameo is a bit different here.  I have always thought that this was both his most self-aware cameo, and perhaps his most inappropriate.  Self-aware because he almost looks at the camera.  Inappropriate because the audience attention is forced on him;  he is the only person on screen, unlike many of his previous cameras.  He has a look of guilt on his face, as if he committed a crime in the room he is leaving.   Audiences loved (and still love) looking for Hitchcock, and I would imagine he intended this to be humorous, but it seems a bit at odds with the emotional tone being established in setting up the Marnie character.

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