Film / Marnie

A 1964 Psychological Thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery. It was adapted from the 1961 novel of the same name by Winston Graham.

Marnie Edgar (Hedren) is a young woman with a number of quirks. She has an unnatural fear and mistrust of men, thunderstorms, and the color red. More importantly, she suffers from kleptomania. Her latest victim is her employer Sidney Strutt (Martin Gabel). She disappears with the contents of his safe. She later applies for a job to the company of publisher Mark Rutland (Connery).

Mark happens to be an acquaintance of Strutt and easily recognizes Marnie, but is intrigued by her and decides to hire her. When the inevitable theft does happen, Mark tracks her down. He blackmails Marnie into marrying him, otherwise she'd be arrested and land in jail. He waits until their honeymoon cruise to have sex with her. She is at best frigid. Her frigidity and open hostility to her blackmailer husband inspires him to perform Marital Rape. Marnie does not enjoy the experience and attempts to commit suicide.

Mark rescues her and decides to get to the bottom of her psychological problems by helping Marnie remember the traumatic childhood experience which caused said problems. By the end, a cured Marnie resolves to make her marriage work.

Marnie is considered the last film of a significant era in Hitchcock's career. It was his last use of a "Hitchcock blonde" as a main character. It was the last time he worked with Robert Burks (director of photography), Bernard Herrmann (music composer) and George Tomasini (editor). All three had been key members of Hitchcock's film crews since the 1950s. Tomasini died in 1964, Burks in 1968. Herrmann survived to 1975. But by 1966, Hitchcock felt his music was becoming outdated and some of his music themes too reminiscent of each other (the fact that Hermann went on to compose the iconic score for Taxi Driver before his death undermines this a little). He had Herrmann fired. With all these elements missing, Hitchcock's later films had a rather different feel to them.


  • Altar the Speed: Mark insists on marrying Marnie within a month of finding her she can't get away.
  • Character Title: Marnie, short for Margaret.
  • Daughter of a Whore: In the film, Marnie's mother was a prostitute.
  • Dress Hits Floor: Used sinisterly when Mark rips Marnie's nightgown off.
  • Driven to Suicide: Marnie attempts suicide after Mark rapes her, but is rescued. And, fortunately, gets better.
  • Dating Catwoman: The movie is about a rich publishing executive falling in love with the woman who tried to rob him and reforming her in his own way. Marnie flat out calls Mark Rutland for being crazy for trying to do this. But he insists that he's in love with her.
  • Dutch Angle: When Marnie is startled by a branch crashing through the window during a thunderstorm.
  • Fear of Thunder: One of the many phobias that Marnie suffers from.
  • Meaningful Name: The name of Marnie's favorite horse is "Forio". "Phorion" is Greek for "stolen goods", an appropriate name given Marnie's behavior.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping}}: Sean Connery has a Scottish accent in some scenes, particularly when Mark and Marnie go to Bernice's house. He has an American accent most of the time though. Mark comes from an old established Pennsylvania family.
  • Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: Marnie, as a result of an overly-strict upbringing, and hidden childhood trauma.
  • Playing Gertrude: Louise Latham, who played Tippi Hedren's mother is in reality only 8 years older.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: The camera lingers on Marnie's stony expression during the sex scene.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The quote that Mark says to Lil is of Ralph Waldo Emerson, "When Duty whispers low, Thou must, The youth replies, I can!" but he replaces "the" with "then" which is why Lil says he misquoted.
    • Hitchcock put Edgar Allan Poe references throughout this film. Marnie's last name is Edgar. In the novel, Marnie's last name is Elmer. Unlike the film, the novel takes place in England. Like Poe's characters, Marnie Edgar is subject to Psychological terror. The film takes place in New York (Strutt's office), Virginia (Garrod's Stables) and Philadelphia (Rutland Publishing and Wickwind). These are the three places that Poe lived throughout the better part of his life. The film's climactic scene takes place at Marnie's mother's home in Baltimore, the city where Poe died under mysterious circumstances in 1849. Tippi Hedren played Marnie. Both Hedren and Poe were born on January 19. In the novel, Marnie's mother's name is Edith Elmer. In the film, Alfred Hitchcock changed Marnie's mother's name to Bernice Edgar. "Berenice" was a short story written by Poe. In a 1960 article called "Why I Am Afraid of the Dark", Hitchcock noted this information - "'s because I liked Edgar Allan Poe's stories so much that I began to make suspense films."
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Marnie accidentally killed one of her mother's clients as a child.
  • Vertigo Effect: A rare and very effective indoor example, when Marnie's flashback begins, by the man who invented it no less.