My Thoughts On… Marnie

Just a quick reminder that My Thoughts On… posts may contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film in question, it may be best to move on!

Synopsis

Mark marries Marnie although she is a habitual thief and has serious psychological problems, and tries to help her confront and resolve them. (via IMDb)

What I Liked

  • I’m a big fan of young Sean Connery; something I discovered when I watched Goldfinger for the first time last year. I always assumed that I didn’t like him, but there’s no doubt that he has the whole smouldering thing going on. He was already Bond by the time he made Marnie, and I think you can see that in the confidence he has.
  • To begin with, I liked the character of Mark; I liked the way he looked at Marnie. I always enjoy a male character being intrigued by a woman, so I enjoyed watching Mark realise that Marnie was a thief, and then falling in love with her. My feelings on him totally changed halfway through the film, and never recovered (more on that below).
  • The scene in which Marnie steals from the safe is fantastic, and pure Hitchcock. There is complete silence and he splits the screen with the wall of the office, to show Marnie on one side, assuming she is alone as she takes the money, and an office cleaner on the other. Hitchcock creates the perfect level of tension as Marnie fails to realise that the cleaner is making her way to where she is, and when she does realise, and tried to creep out, it becomes obvious that the cleaner is deaf, and can’t hear her anyway. It’s a great scene!
  • I really enjoyed the conclusion of the story. It didn’t feel quite as much like a traditional Hitchcock conclusion; there was no chase or death! But I enjoyed it all the same, it was good to get the answers to the questions that had been set up throughout the rest of the film.
  • I always love looking out for the Hitchcock cameo, though I have to confess to usually looking it up before I start watching, because I don’t want to miss it! It comes really early in Marnie, and it is very obvious!

What I Didn’t Like

  • After Mark marries Marnie (he forces her to do so, telling her he knows she is a thief and will report her if she doesn’t marry him), she refuses to sleep with him. She isn’t sure why, but she has some intimacy issues and can’t bear for men to be near her. The reason for this is a plot point and becomes clear at the end of the film, but suffice to say, it should be enough for Mark, who seems to understand that she has probably suffered a trauma at some point. He is also surely aware that he has forced her into this situation, so shouldn’t be terribly surprised that she isn’t entirely comfortable with him. He does accept it at first, but eventually he gets tired of waiting for her to come round and rapes her. So obviously, any amount of admiration I had for the character of Mark has been completely dispelled by this point; not only has he essentially blackmailed Marnie into marrying him, he has now raped her. But the film doesn’t take the same view. He’s not a villain, despite the fact that she tries to drown herself after the rape. Everything largely goes back to normal, and he is just shown as the caring husband who is trying to help his wife work through these serious issues that she has. Never mind that her issues are obviously compounded by the fact that her husband has now raped her. I watched a documentary about the film afterwards, and the original screenwriter, Evan Hunter, said that he had some issues with the rape scene, particularly that he felt it would be difficult for the audience to regain any sympathy they had for Mark. Hitchcock didn’t agree, and Hunter was replaced by a female writer, Jay Presson Allen, who disagreed, and wrote the rape as Hitchcock wanted. Obviously I completely agree with the original writer; I can’t muster up any positive feelings for Mark after he has raped Marnie.

That’s the longest thing I’ve ever written for something I didn’t like about a film! It completely tempers my feelings on the film; it’s a good film, and I really enjoyed it, but I can’t get past the rape and the subsequent dismissal of it. I understand that it was made in a different era, when many people believed it wasn’t rape if it was sex between a man and his wife. But the very fact that the original screenwriter flagged it up as something to be concerned about proves that people did know better than that.

3 Comments on My Thoughts On… Marnie

  1. shazzarob
    October 11, 2013 at 9:09 am (4 years ago)

    I agree. I enjoyed the film…..but that part made me feel pretty uncomfortable. Have you watched the tv film The Girl? Its about the making of The Birds and Marnie and stars Toby Jones as Hitchcock and Sienna Miller ( actually very good in this) as Tippi Hedren. Hitchcock according to this film treated Tippi pretty badly when she rejected his advances and he made it difficult in the industry for her to make any more high profile movies. x

    Reply
    • Janey
      October 13, 2013 at 9:09 pm (4 years ago)

      I haven’t seen it, but I have heard all the rumours about Hitchcock. By all accounts he wasn’t a very nice man! But he was a sublime filmmaker, and it’s a shame that he made the odd misstep like this one.

      Reply

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