It’s been a bit of a weird day for pop culture. Started the day with a few episodes of ice-skating anime series Yuri!!! On Ice, played some Overwatch and then settled in to see the second of the two films that Tippi Hedren made with Alfred Hitchcock. So yes, I’ve been a bit all over the place.
Speaking of all over the place, let’s look at Marnie. What a fantastically meaty lead role for an actress this was. I can imagine that there were many women in Hollywood in the early 1960s who would have wanted a complex role like this psychologically mixed-up thief. I can see how Princess Grace of Monaco might have been advised against taking this role, which is a pity as I can only imagine how great she could have been.
This is not me disparaging Tippi Hedren at all, it’s just one of those great ‘what if’ scenarios. The fact of the matter is that Hedren is fantastic in this rather melodramatic Hitchcock character. Not only is she a thief that cannot stand being touched by men, but also has a severe phobia of thunderstorms and the colour red. That latter one must be rather debilitating if you are ever standing at a road crossing.
There are times where this film does feel over the top. The use of scarlet filters whenever Marnie feels afraid is overdone. It’s cool when it happens the first three times, but then you just start anticipating it whenever a red item appears onscreen.
Also, there’s the rape scene. When I saw a young and handsome Sean Connery come in as the male lead of this film I did not expect him to rape Marnie. It isn’t violent. It isn’t graphic. However, the way Marnie just goes catatonic in order to deal with what is about to happen to her is equally as disturbing.
Sean Connery’s character of Mark is… not as complex as Marnie, but not exactly straightforward. Throughout the film you cannot quite confirm whether he actually loves her or if, much like his South American cat, just wants to housebreak her as if she were some wild curiosity. 2 hours later and I still wasn’t sure.
In the end, whilst this is a good film there are too many niggles that prevent this from becoming a great movie. When you have a back catalogue as high quality as Hitchcock then this movie isn’t good enough to crack the Top 10 of his that I have seen. Still, a fun romp though.