As I work my way through Hitchcock’s filmography, I haven’t encountered one of his films that I’ve wanted to talk about more than Marnie. This is one of the few Hitchcock films with a female protagonist (brilliantly played by Tippi Hedren), and at first glance the character of Marnie seems like a militant feminist. How refreshing! Except it turns out her strong will and complete distaste for men is just another classic Hitchcock smoke screen.
Marnie the film has been described as a great expression of sexual and psychological distress, but the content feels a bit too mishandled for me to agree. Marnie does examine the effects of repression on the mind and the use of therapy/analysis as a method of understanding deviant behavior. Of course it’s all wrapped up in an exciting thriller for our enjoyment. I can’t speak for the source novel by Winston Graham, but I did add it to my “to read” shelve on Goodreads! Here’s to hoping it’s just as exciting.
The film, however, is much deeper than any other Hitchcock I’ve seen to date. It’s also the closest Hitchcock comes to discussing feminism and real women’s issues. Unfortunately, it’s more of a dismissal of feminism than anything. It also has an overtly misogynistic male lead in Sean Connery. He definitely rapes her.