Dr. Rich Edwards

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

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1. that Marnie is a fraud. She has multiple identities as we can see from her social security cards; that she has stolen money; has bought a lot of clothes and accessories; she's a brunette (and not yet a blonde) as we first see her but then she washes the dye off and becomes a blonde; that she loves new clothes and accessories and finally that she changes ID and leaves all the contents of the life she is leaving in a locker at a station and throws away the key. Without any dialogue, we find out a lot of about her character, through Marnie's interaction with the objects and her actions.

 

2. The music is very Bernard Hermann. It starts of being very quiet and repetitive a bit like that of Vertigo in the intro. It then changes when she puts the cash in the suitcase (sound of French horns?) and finally turns into dramatic rousing music when we see her after she has washed off the dark dye and as a blonde to reflect the triumphant look on Marnie's face that she has got away with  her crime. The music stops when she puts her suitcase in the locker in the station and all we hear is the station announcer's voice. I think Hitch stops the music to make us sit up and pay attention to what she's doing as she does this.

 

3. Hitch's cameo is slightly different to all the others as he turns around and looks at the camera almost as if he's saying: Yes, it's me. You've seen my cameo. You can concentrate on the rest of the film now and forget about looking out for me! Perhaps a little more obvious than all his other cameos with no other people around except Marnie and the porter.

Hitch truly is all about "focus on the story", isn't he?

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Daily Dose #19: Real Identities Opening Scene from Marnie (1964)

Marnie is a very put together person, everything done with a click of the heel, a dressed-to-the-tee at all times personality. Her gloves are in plastic, her bills—gained criminally—bundled in neatly wrapped packages, her lingerie thrown on the chair, draped over by her topcoat. She keeps her alternate identities in the form of social security cards, easily available in a hidden compartment of her compact. She has a compartmentalized life, with a suitcase stuffed into an anonymous locker, the key to which is kicked down the drain, which recall Bruno’s desperate, and edge-of-the-seat suspenseful attempts to recover the key in Strangers on a Train.

 

I did not initially catch the resemblance of the hair dye down the drain to the blood down the drain in Psycho, creating a play on the plot expectations for Marnie, and think that is a terrific insight and argument for the evolution of these techniques and increasingly complex and mature characters in the films, which can only be seen when they are watched in chronological sequence, not to mention the fantastic mind that can retain these bits and use them over and over in new and meaningful ways.

 

I love the lush tones of the Hermann score as Marnie tosses back her newly blonde hair and together with the close-up of her newborn self.

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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.

 

 As a character, Marnie is revealed to be a thief - all the money bundles in her handbag; deceptive - changing her hair color; and, kind of nonchalant about changing identities.   I'm guessing we will have these character traits explained or, at a minimum, explored further in the movie. She is mysterious.  Also, I noticed that while the musical score is kind of smooth and romantic, we don't see any man in this opening.  (Did everyone else notice the name, Marian Holland among the social security cards? Shades of Marion Crane in Psycho.)

 

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

 

The music is very romantic, at the outset, with mysterious overtones.  Then, it starts to swell as Marnie changes her persona and washes the dye out of her hair.  I loved that part.  She could have just had a wig (which she is obviously wearing) which she removes, or, cuts long hair short (ala Jason Bourne), but it's a great shot as the music swells and she flips her head back with her now blonde hair flying back.  (I could see a similarity between this scene and the scene in The Fugitive where Harrison Ford dyes his hair and the dye is all over the sink and his arms.)  

 

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 looks directly at the camera.  I thought he was calling attention to the woman who had just walked past, with the bellman overloaded with packages.  Hitchcock has a sort of smirk or something on his face - like he's inviting us in on his huge joke.  That's what I took away from the brief glimpse we have of Hitchcock in this cameo.

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1.) We come to know that Marnie is a con-woman. Here are the facts: she removes her dyed black hair and she was revealed as a blonde woman, she possess many Identity Cards which she may use, she had with her the embezzled pack of money which means that she had stolen it, she has various attires in her suitcase. Not only that, she is a well- organised lady who keeps all her things in order and that is a good quality even though she is involved in a bad business.

 

2.) Yes, The music composition by Bernard Hermann has a classical touch. Maybe, it was to show the woman with class act. Only to be revealed that she's a con-artist.

 

3.) Here, Mr.Hitchcock was shown as seeing the young raven haired woman who goes along with her luggage. Then, he looks at the camera. He must be trying to tell us that this whole film is about her.

 

https://68.media.tumblr.com/90963a0498e1038972b4d04621bc4316/tumblr_nsqblqt6q21qdm4tlo2_500.gif

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