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Hitch_nnw

Marnie reconsidered

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At this point I am taking Marnie out of the worst movies by our genius (on another thread I started), and indeed I'm regarding this as a must-see Hitchcock film. 

 

There are some horribly fake-looking scenes (and I don't think they are intentionally so), and I don't buy into the notion of Hedrin giving a consistently great performance--while yet admitting  that in many scenes it is great. 

 

This film is different, and it is disturbing, and it has Hitchcock touches, and it has a personal quality.  At the same time, I am not going to say that the value mainly lies in allowing us to psycho-analyze Hitchcock.  

 

Bottom line, the movie (on my second viewing ever) grabbed me, and allowed me to really think about two complex and rather twisted characters.

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I am going to agree with you. I hated this movie the first time I watched it but after seeing the love for this movie by our lecturers and the introduction on TCM I watched it finally for a second time and it's moved up my ranks. Not only that but I think Hedren's acting performance is much better than I originally thought. I guess time does change perceptions.

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Just wanted to raise this important question: does Mark really rape Marnie?  In much of what I've read on the film, the word "rape" is used as if it were an incontestable fact.  Perhaps because of censorship issues, much is left in doubt. Mark apologizes to Marnie after he tears off her gown.  He again seems tender here.  But soon after his face does look brutal.  

 

So does he momentarily turn into a monster, or does Marnie decide to succumb to his seduction?

 

 

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Just wanted to raise this important question: does Mark really rape Marnie?  In much of what I've read on the film, the word "rape" is used as if it were an incontestable fact.  Perhaps because of censorship issues, much is left in doubt. Mark apologizes to Marnie after he tears off her gown.  He again seems tender here.  But soon after his face does look brutal.  

 

So does he momentarily turn into a monster, or does Marnie decide to succumb to his seduction?

 

I don't think it's disputable. He's reading "Animals of the Seashore" beforehand (which he suggestively says is a subject he's "boning up to"); he storms into her room after she shuts the door to his advances, then he strips off her clothes after saying "we can't certainly have anything bothering you" and that he does "want to go to bed" and she screams "NO!" in his face.

 

That she shuts down and doesn't resist isn't proof of consent. She completely shuts down with a blank look on her face the whole time. That's very consistent with how many victims react. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/06/23/why-many-rape-victims-dont-fight-or-yell/?utm_term=.5b57a3a58848

 

Even on the jaundiced view that Marnie eventually consents mid-act, how can you explain that she attempts suicide the next morning? Plus, she's already told Mark  she's sexually repulsed by Mark and by all men. The only explanation, and partial at that, is that Marnie is crazy and **** up, needing rescue. Which just falls back into Mark's paternalism, and his view (maybe to some degree correct) that she could've ended up with someone far worse than Mark. But Mark is still a sexual blackmailer himself. He's forced Marnie into this situation--granted at some risk to himself--by forcing her to marry him and go on this cruise. The movie and its attitude has definitely dated. Back then, more emphasis on force and implying a duty to resist to prove rape were more commonplace. 

 

Ultimately, whether you think the movie from Hitchcock's POV is about an imperfect union, or it's about Mark's superiority and saving Marnie by recognizing the desires (including the sexual ones) that she doesn't yet recognize or see in herself, probably determines a lot about how people feel about this movie's moral outlook.

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OK, that all makes sense.

 

Some of what I've read about the film is that it's about "healing."  But that's a hard one to buy.  These characters seem far too messed up to be able to heal in any significant way.

 

  

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I always thought of "Marnie" as a guilty pleasure of mine. In many ways it is a cheesy film, well executed by a master director who knew what he was doing.

 

First, the idea that Marnie can successfully disguise herself by changing her hair color is akin to believing that King Lear effectuated a good disguise by rubbing dirt on his face. Second, Marnie only looks as she sees herself by being a blonde, with "too lighted up hair" as her mother notices. The fact that Hitchcock openly indulges one of his obsessions is a bit too self-indulgent.

 

Third, casting Sean Connery ( a truly amazing looking leading man, no complaints here) as a patrician Philadelphian is hilarious. I come from the part of Philadelphia where the film takes place and believe me, no one looked or spoke like Connery does in this film. Even Alan Napier, who is a lot more believable as a Main Line scion is stretching things. Philadelphians of that class look patrician but have very flat, nasal voices, not the distinguished British accent which Napier brings to his role. Maybe Hitchcock should have asked Grace Kelly what she sounded like before she eradicated her Philadelphia accent. (Louise Latham also sounds implausible as a Baltimoran. Their accents are even more nasal than Philadelphians' accents).

 

Fourth, the rear screen projection which is acceptable in the 30's and 40's is too passe in a 60's film, as is the painted backdrop of the Port of Baltimore at the end of Mrs Edgar's street. By this time, Hitchcock could have done some location filming, or had his production designer and a second unit director film these brief scenes to edit into his movie.

 

Fifth, the plot requires the suspension of disbelief to swallow. Among other things, who would believe Sean Connery didn't sleep with his girlfriend or at least try to before the honeymoon. At any rate, both Connery and Hedren are so psychologically mixed up as to be dysfunctional, who would want either one of them, no matter how good looking? As for Hedren's performance, I agreed with the Hitchcock expert who presented the film with Mankiewicz, when he said at times her portrayal made him want to avert his eyes. I thought, however, that my desire to look away was because her performance at times was cringeworthy, not excellent. I see Hedren as a heavy handed actress , who at times is too hammy, and at other times too plodding. I rarely think of her as giving a delicately wrought performance.

 

Somehow Hitchcock is so masterful at his art, that he manages to turn out an entertaining movie in spite of all of these and more problems.

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