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Alfred Hitchcock: The Shape of Suspense

Saturday, April 13, 2013
8:15 p.m. Marnie
Alfred Hitchcock (U.S., 1964)



Hitchcock claimed that what attracted him to Marnie was “the fetish idea. A man wants to go to bed with a thief because she is a thief.” Marnie (Tippi Hedren) is the last in a long line of Hitchcock’s cold blondes, except this one is literally frigid. Hitchcock exposes the masochism behind his hero Mark’s (Sean Connery) macho demeanor of always being in control, at the same time as he puts him in control of Marnie’s fate. In his portrayal of Mark’s love as both compassionate and tender and brutal and dominating, and by making Marnie both bitch and victim (like so many of Hitchcock’s characters, her trouble stems from a mother who loved her too much and not enough), Hitchcock is clearly using his characters to enact and abreact psychological situations that he knows a lot about. This makes the generally underrated Marnie a rich and fascinating film, a summation of themes and motifs familiar to students of his work.

—Marilyn Fabe

• Written by Jay Presson Allen, based on a novel by Winston Graham. Photographed by Robert Burks. With Tippi Hedren, Sean Connery, Diane Baker, Martin Gabel. (130 mins, Color, 35mm, From Universal)