johnlink ranks MARNIE (1964)

Some more Hitchcock! Unlike the two previous entires from the past month, this is a Hitchcock flick which I have not seen before. But it stars a mid-Bond-era Sean Connery and Tippi Hedren. Been meaning to see this for awhile! SOME SPOILERS BELOW

I watched MARNIE (1964) on 2.12.12. It was my first viewing of the film.

What an odd, odd, odd film this is! While Hitchcock was certainly never afraid to delve into the psychological aspects of criminality, I’m not aware of a film in which he so directly addresses it. Connery is the mouth-piece of science as a banker who moonlights as a zoologist interested in animal behavior. When he comes across an obviously disturbed woman he identifies as a pathological liar and a thief (Hedren, naturally), he begins to circle her like a hunter. He traps her in her game, catches her in her lies, forces her to marry him, rapes her on their ‘Honeymoon’ (yep, you read that right), barely saves her after she tries to commit suicide (she makes a joke out of it when she fails) and ultimately, in the third act, saves her humanity. What?! Really, that previous sentence is absolutely what happens in this movie.

I’m not sure what I think of that. On the one hand, the animality inherent in humanity is on display here (that is evident when Hedren says about a horse in a seductive voice, ‘if he is going to bite anyone I hope he bites me’). Connery represents that animality as much as he tries to stay above it, to only comment on it. In many films, he would be the villain. In this film, for some reason, it makes him the hero. Man, if I were a feminist I would fucking hate this movie.

Which isn’t to say that it is ‘bad’. I mean the acting is quite good, save for a moment or two of Hedren’s screaming moments (I’ve always thought that one of Hitchcock’s weaknesses was directing women in times of panic for their character). The film has ideas, has a point of view. That instantly places it above 50 percent of 21st century films. I just don’t particularly dig the point of view.

It’s really the rape which doesn’t work for me. I can forgive characters who make major mistakes. I can forgive terrible people in the movies whom I would probably hold a grudge against my entire life if they did the same thing in the real world. It’s part of the escapism. However, this movie never justifies the rape other than to assume that it was the man’s right to have sex on their honeymoon, and the woman was menatally disturbed anyway. I really mean that. The film never tries to justify it beyond that.

Also, when the genesis 0f Hedren’s mania is revealed, it is surprisingly tame compared to the rest of the events of this movie. I wonder what this film would be like if remade. I’m sure Sean Connery wouldn’t rape someone and go on being the hero.

Cinematically this is one of Hitchcock’s finest hours. Thematically, it is one of his worst. That is what makes this film so hard to rank. Since cinematics and theme are the two aspects which determine my ‘film’ score, how do I rectify those two things?

I guess I could have bigger problems in life like, you know, getting raped.






~ by johnlink00 on February 13, 2012.

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