- Alternate Character Interpretation:
- Marnie's dislike of men and utter terror of being intimate with Mark have led to some people suggesting she might be a repressed lesbian. She has quite a bit of Foe Yay with Lil to back it up.
- The man that Marnie murdered as a child for assaulting her mother. The way the scene is shot makes it look possible that the sailor just meant to calm Marnie down when she was frightened by the thunderstorm, and a drunk Bernice mistook him for attempting to molest her. Notably in the flashback, Bernice is the one who first starts hitting him and he doesn't hit back until she's been doing it for quite a while. So what Marnie perceived as him attacking her mother could have been self-defence or some combination of both.
- Broken Base: Easily Alfred Hitchcock's most divisive film. It's either a brilliant examination of psychosexual themes that was ahead of its time, or an overripe Freud Was Right melodrama with Tippi Hedren doing a bad Grace Kelly impression.
- Ear Worm: "Call for the doctor, call for the nurse. Call for the lady with the alligator purse" - Tippi Hedren made a habit out of doing scenes with catchy nursery rhymes in the background (see also "Risselty Rosselty" in The Birds).
- Fridge Logic: The house that Marnie stops at when trying to Mercy Kill her horse doesn't have a phone. After Marnie's done the deed, Mark gets a call from Lil about it. So where did Lil phone from? Did she run around the area trying to find another house with a phone when it would be more practical to follow Marnie back to the house?
- Les Yay: Sometimes you get the impression that Lil wants to have Marnie to herself. It's even noticeable the very first time Lil sees "Mary Taylor" waiting to get interviewed for the job at Rutland, and asks "Who's the dish?"
- Harsher in Hindsight: Mark goes to great efforts to track Marnie down and make her his. The entire portion of this film is very awkward to watch when you learn that it's also a reflection of how Tippi Hedren was treated during the making of it. Hitchcock hired people to follow her, micromanage every aspect of her life and eventually told her to make herself available sexually to him. When she refused, he responded by ruining her career.
- He Really Can Act:
- Jerkass Woobie:
- Marnie is basically a Sociopath, but she's so screwed-up and gets so helpless when she encounters her various psychological triggers, you feel sorry for her.
- Her mother becomes one after you learn about her Dark Secret.
- Mark gets a little bit of a pass for his treatment of Marnie because he's clearly lonely and still in pain over the loss of his wife.
- The screen flashing red and Marnie's subsequent freakouts at these triggers are incredibly on the nose and un-subtle. They're up there with the infamous nightmare sequence from Vertigo.
- Most of Diane Baker's performance as Lil is ridiculously extreme. Of special note is her over-the-top attitude when she claims her hand is too sore to write.
- Narm Charm: Marnie slipping back into a southern accent while remembering her childhood trauma. It's a little silly but still works in the context of the scene.
- Poor Man's Substitute: As in The Birds, Tippi Hedren was the last of Hictchcock's attempts to find a substitute for Grace Kelly.
- Retroactive Recognition:
- Special Effects Failure: The sky and the ship in the background of the exterior shots in Baltimore are very obviously a painting. Even Hitchcock later admitted that it looked fake.
- Trapped by Mountain Lions:
- Marnie is forced to go on a fox hunting trip for no apparent reason in the third act. Strut and Mark aren't there, so she has no reason to go there, especially when she knows that the sight of blood could trigger. Of course it does and it sets up a contrived moment where her horse gets injured jumping over a wall and has to be put down.
- Lil's dislike of Marnie ultimately goes nowhere. All it amounts to is discovering that Marnie's mother is still alive and inviting Strut to a dinner party, which forces Marnie to admit to Mark that she's robbed other people. While these do affect the plot, both could have happened without Lil's help and she disappears in the third act - so her subplot is never given a decent payoff.
- Unintentionally Sympathetic: The sailor that Marnie murdered to rescue her mother. It's not clear what he did to make Bernice start attacking him, but he seems to take a while before he finally fights back, making it look like Bernice jumped to a conclusion and he was merely defending himself. What's more is that Marnie killed him while he was defenceless.
- Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Mark hasn't aged well as a protagonist, particularly his obsession with tracking Marnie down and trapping her in a marriage with him. While on the honeymoon, despite Marnie begging to be let go, he actually rapes her and is never punished by the narrative for it.
- Values Dissonance: Mark rapes Marnie on their 'honeymoon', invoking the Marital Rape Licence and never gets any comeuppance for this - and Marnie even seems to fall for him for real in the end!
- Vindicated by History: Opened to mixed reviews and decent-but-not-outstanding box office in 1964. Now it's often considered Hitchcock's last great film (with The Birds and Frenzy as the main challengers for that title).
YMMV / Marnie