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Mental Illness: Major Films   no photo.
TitleMarnie (1964)
Alternative/Original Title
DisabilityLimb Mental Kleptomania
CountryUSA
Length130
GenreThriller
Rating4
DirectorAlfred Hitchcock
CastSean Connery Tippi Hendren Diane Baker Martin Gabel Bruce Dern
NotesA young woman, Marnie, (Hedren) travels from city to city and job to job in each stealing from her employer. In Philadelphia she works for Mark (Connery) who by accident already knows that she stole in her previous job. But he is fascinated by her and when he catches her stealing from his firm he doesn't call the police he asks her to marry him. He soon realises she is mentally ill in some way. His idea for a cure for her frigidity is to rape her. Eventually Mark traces the root of her illness to a childhood incident when she killed a sailor who attacked her mother. Her mother was disabled for life after he broke her leg. Personally I think the psycho-analytic reasoning behind the story is a load of tosh. While this is still an interesting film had Hitchcock been at his best the absurdities wouldn't have mattered (as the psycho-analysis at the end of Psycho isn't important to enjoying the film). The 'painted' exteriors may have a purpose in focussing on Marnie's mindset but they jar. The acting of Marnie by Tippie Hedren is simply too limited to convey much about the character. The mystery isn't interesting enough and the psychology dubious. And I think the whole film is suspect while I'm not able to expand on this. The loss of a writer during filming, the tension between Hitchcock and Hedren (he wanted Grace Kelly but she was then a princess) don't help. Then it appears after the film Hitchcock had a parting of the ways with some of his regular collaborators. Yet one can admit the film is a failure only by Hitchcock's own standards and there was worse to come after this film. It's an immensely interesting film but we're more than aware of how Hitchcock is manipulating us. N.b. During the scene when Marnie is stealing from the office the cleaning woman doesn't hear her dropped shoe because she is deaf. Plenty of criticism on Hitchcock at the excellent MacGuffin site http://www.labyrinth.net.au/~muffin/

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