Marnie (1964)

Genres - Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Romantic Mystery, Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Jul 22, 1964 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Marnie could never be confused with prime Alfred Hitchcock, but it's a much better film than its tarnished reputation would lead one to believe. Modern audiences will likely find its psychological undercurrents a bit basic -- and therefore find the ending somewhat pat, predictable, and artificial -- but it somehow works nonetheless. There are some technical aspects -- the artificial locales of some sequences, the "red" motif -- that may seem primitive (although it's arguable that Hitchcock wanted just this kind of distancing effect to unsettle the audience as the characters themselves are unsettled). But Marnie has a basically intriguing story, and Jay Presson Allen's screenplay skillfully sets out its plot and fills out its characters so that they live and breathe. Hitchcock, of course, knows how to take advantage of the screenplay's strengths, tossing in surprising angles and building suspense through simple, but skillful, juxtapositions and tight editing. Tippi Hedren displays unexpected depth in the title role, Sean Connery is appropriately tough and tender, as called for, and there's a real sexual tension between them. Of the supporting cast, Diane Baker is alluring and dangerous and Louise Latham effectively chilling as the mother. Bernard Herrmann's score, pulsing with danger and passion, is a definite plus.