Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Even though this 1964 Alfred Hitchcock classic isn't very cultish (it has two major Hollywood stars and a famous director) it's very deserving of a mention due to it's endless values. This post is also dedicated to my good friend Dave at, who has a major crush on Tippi Hedren. I highly recommend that everyone visit his site because he's a brilliant artist. In fact you can view his now famous painting of Blanche and Jane from the film "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?" right here on Cultarama! This one's for you Dave! Marnie (Tippi Hedren) is a woman of many faces, she's a calculated thief, a compulsive liar and professional chameleon when it comes to changing identities. Why, you ask? Let's find out. Marnie (under an assumed name) has been a loyal book keeper for the company she works for. Out of the blue, she steals $10,000 from her employer, dyes her hair from black to blonde and stashes the money in a train station locker and throws away the key. Marnie goes to see her mother who is loving to other children but acts like Marnie has some kind of disease. In fact she doesn't seem to feel much love for Marnie at all. Another mystery surrounding this already beyond mysterious woman is that she can't stand the color red. When she sees red, she completely freaks out. Marnie changes her hair from blonde to brown (her hair must've felt like straw after all that dying) and goes on to find another job as a book keeper. Her new employer Mark Rutland (Sean Connery) recognizes her from her previous job, but hires her anyway, without any references, knowing she's a criminal, basically just to figure her out. She is of course the loyal employee, observing everything, mostly the practices surrounding the safe, until the day comes when she again robs her employer blind. Since Rutland knew she was a thief, he managed to catch her red handed. Rather than calling the police, he blackmails her into marrying him. He may have fallen in love with her, but she was far from in love with him. In fact, she pretty much hates his guts. She hates being married to him and is utterly repulsed by his "husbandly advances". It's not really his fault though, Marnie hates all men, pretty much equally. Their honeymoon is predictably miserable. Mark starts to notice that Marnie is having nightmares about her mother. He studies her dreams and also discovers that she's been sending money to a mother that he never knew existed. Anyway, some jerk that recognizes Marnie from one of her other identities won't get off her ass no matter how many times she tells him that he's mistaken. He eventually confronts her husband who already knows she's a hardened criminal. Marnie breaks into her husbands safe and is again caught in the act. Knowing that there's some mysterious issue with her mother, he drags her kleptomaniac butt over to mom's house so he can finally figure out what's going on. Oh yeah, along with men and the color red, Marnie also hates storms, knocking sounds and men in white suits. Anyway, Mark confronts Mom only to discover that mom was a war whore. Prostituting herself to sailors (men in white suits) to support Marnie. During a weird childhood regression, Marnie tells the story of the night that changed her life and the circumstances that made her the way she is. One stormy night one of moms tricks knocks on the door (the hated knocking sound) comes in to be serviced by mom, Marnie is afraid of the storm that night. The trick comforts Marnie from the storm, but soon tries to molest her. Mom freaks out and in trying to protect her daughter from the trick (Bruce Dern cameo) gets beaten all to hell. To protect her mother from the trick, Marnie grabs a fireplace poker and beats the trick to death, resulting in lots of blood, hence the hatred of the color red. Marnies actions that night were never revealed because Mom told the police that she killed the trick in self defense. Willing to turn herself in (20 years later?) she is afraid of being sent to prison. She confesses to her husband that she would rather be with him than go to jail (who wouldn't?) Being married to Sean Connery vs. prison. Bet that was a hard decision on her part. The money being stolen and stashed at the beginning was just a false lead, very much like many other other Hitchcock films. She steals thousands of dollars without spending a dime (well, maybe a little on hair dye) simply because she's a kleptomaniac. Great movie, keeps you guessing till the end, extremely engaging. There is also a rumor that Tippi Hedren and Alfred Hitchcock had a major falling out during the filming of "Marnie". Alfred made some unwelcome romantic advances toward Tippi who was already engaged to someone else. When she refused his advances he made a very rude sexual slur towards her and she called him a fat @#%&*, thus ending their friendship.

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