After watching “Hitchcock” not long ago I was inspired to watch another Alfred Hitchcock mystery movie. I found “Marnie” (1964) on my DVR and was surprised to realize I’ve never watched it from beginning to end — though I know I’ve seen parts, some more than once.
Marnie (played by Tippi Hedron) is a beautiful young woman who’s tried, apparently her whole life, to find a way to get her heartless mother to love her. Now that she’s an adult, Marnie gets secretarial jobs based primarily on her looks and a good story, and she uses her position to steal cash from her employer, only to disappear with a new identity and different hair color to a different city and another employer.
But then she appears at Rutland’s, where owner Mark Rutland (Sean Connery) recognizes her and knows she stole from a previous employer, the self-righteous Sidney Strutt. Mark is intrigued and allows Marnie to be hired, keeping an eye on her, suspecting what she’s got planned. He soon has the leverage he needs to convince, or coerce, Marnie to marry him, but their utterly disastrous honeymoon leads him to believe that, far from being a lark, Marnie’s behavior is based on something dreadful from her past.
The rest of the movie details Mark’s investigation into what happened, in spite of both the conniving efforts of his sister-in-law Lil (Diane Baker) to upend the marriage and Marnie’s insistence on being left alone. The last thing she wants is the only thing he wants: she must confront her demons.
“Marnie” is more psychological (Mark even reads a stack of psychology books) and less suspenseful than many other Hitchcock films, and it’s long, probably too long at more than 2 hours — possibly why I’d never seen the whole thing in one sitting. But if you’re in the mood for a Hitchcock mystery and have already seen all the best-remembered ones (think “North by Northwest,” “Rear Window,” “Vertigo“), “Marnie” is a good alternative.