Friday, June 6, 2014

1964 - MARNIE, Hitchcock loses the light.

Marnie is a Hitchcock film that has it's defenders but I wonder if these defenders have actually watched this film recently.  It's very bad.  Exactly what Hitchcock ever saw in this story completely escapes me.  Hitchcock had been critical of Spellbound a film that he felt had a lot of psychological mumble jumble.  However Marnie has as much pseudo psychological garbage in it as Spellbound.

If there is any insight to be gained in Marnie, it's mostly watching Hitchcock load the film up with loving closeups of the actor Tippi Hedren.  She is carefully photographed in about every conceivable way and clothed and gowned to the "nines".  It's been well documented that Hitchcock had an almost pathetic infatuation with Hedren.  The problem with Tippi Hedren was that she couldn't act her way out of a paper bag.  At least Spellbound for all its issues had Ingrid Bergman an actual performer.  About the only one who survives this mess is Sean Connery who at least turns in a real performance.

The other major problem with Marnie was the terrible script that Hitchcock put together with the writer Jay Presson Allen.  Hitchcock always claimed he was a visual director but almost every actor in this film yaks away in scene after scene.  Marnie would probably have worked better as a stage play than a film.

Marnie marks the end of Hitchcock's association with Bernard Herrmann.  Hermann wrote a pretty melodramatic score for the film.  Apparently Herrmann felt that Tippi Hedren was completely miscast in the film and tried to boost the film with a lot of over the top music.  Hitchcock was supposedly not pleased with Herrmann's score.

Hitchcock's previous film The Birds had it's issues but at least it was an interesting film.  Marnie marks the beginning of Hitchcock's very depressing decline.

130 minutes

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