Marnie Edgar is a habitual liar and a thief who gets jobs as a secretary and after a few months robs the firms in question, usually of several thousand dollars. When she gets a job at Rutland's, she also catches the eye of the handsome owner, Mark Rutland. He prevents her from stealing and running off, as is her usual pattern, but also forces her to marry him. Their honeymoon is a disaster and she cannot stand to have a man touch her and on their return home, Mark has a private detective look into her past. When he has the details of what happened in her childhood to make her what she is, he arranges a confrontation with her mother realizing that reliving the terrible events that occurred in her childhood and bringing out those repressed memories is the only way to save her. Written by
Diane Baker has said that for the scene where she eavesdrops on Mark and Marnie talking outside of the house, Alfred Hitchcock came up to her, put his hands on her face, and physically manipulated it into having the expression he wanted for the scene. See more »
The shadow of the boom mic falls on the wall of Marnie's mother's kitchen while she makes Jessie's pie. See more »
Robbed! Cleaned out! $9,967! Precisely as I told you over the telephone. And that girl did it. Marion Holland. That's the girl. Marion Holland.
Can you describe her Mr. Strutt?
Certainly I can describe her: five-five, 110 pounds, size 8 dress, blue eyes, black wavy hair, even features, good teeth.
[detectives unable to restrain laughter]
Well what's so damn funny? There's been a grand larceny committed on these premises.
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Unusual Hitchcockwhere marriage is preferred over jail by a strong-willed woman
This is not the stuff that director Hitchcock is usually attracted to. Hitchcock was scared of jails. In this film, the lead female character prefers to be bridled by marriage rather than jail. It is an intriguing choice for a character who had earlier stated to her husband "You don't love me. I am something you have caught. Some kind of wild animal you have trapped." Aware of this, the young lady who has so far fooled a lot of rich men and escaped the law, prefers marriage to jail. She is smart, a woman who embezzles her employers to buy rich gifts for her mother, aware of modesty in dress (keeps pulling her skirt over her knees) and a convincing liar. Like "Notorious," the marriage is one of convenience, or so it appearsthe end of the film is open-ended.
For those who are not aware of it, Hitchcock fired the initial scriptwriter (a male), who honestly felt the rape of the wife by the husband was out character with male lead played by Sean Connery. The replaced scriptwriter (a lady) wrote the sequence which was used, in a suggestive way rather than a graphic way. Hitchcock loved to slip in sex even if it was out of character. Lesbianism is suggested by the husband's sister-in-law's remark "What a dish!" a remark one would associate from the opposite sex. (Hitchcock similarly played with homosexuality in "Rope"). A critical scene that could be mistaken for child molestation was probably an innocent gesture mistaken by the mother.
Hitchcock usually was attentive to visuals and sound. This is an unusual film where the director swings from one extreme of high sophistication to absolute stupidity. The opening shots of the woman walking away with the yellow handbag are stunning. The silent "cleaning" of the office safe, while a deaf woman cleans the office is simply outstanding. Yet the crass painting of a dock near Marnie's mother's house would make a school kid laugh out loud. Why would a woman who is scared of red wear red lipstick or not react when her husband's sister-in-law wears red at a party? Similarly, the shot of Marnie's hand not being able to pick up the money in the safe is an unconvincing shot, if ever there was one.
The film can be appreciated and be equally dismissed. The acting by all the main characters was good but Louise Latham performance (and make up!) needs to be singled out for praise. Kubrick seems to have copied Hitchcock's Marie's voice differentiation in the young child's voice in "The Shining." I am not surprised if people swing from liking the film to dismissing it and back again. It has great elements and bad elements as wellyet the bottom line is, it entertains!
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