Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Marnie (1964)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Marnie (1964)

In Alfred Hitchcock's psychological thriller - a tale of sexual perversity and obsession - and a 'sex mystery' with the questioning tagline: "Would his touch end Marnie's unnatural fears or start them again?"

  • the opening title credits - a slide-show of 19 cards, revealed as pages turning from the right of the screen to the left
  • an initial set of four brief sequences cleverly and economically introduced clues to the main character's identity and appearance: (1) the camera trailed behind a dark-haired woman with a yellow plastic-leather handbag (under her arm), who was carrying one suitcase while walking down an empty, outdoor train station platform, (2) the witnessing of the theft of $10,000 from an office safe - discovered empty - by tax consultant Sidney Strutt (Martin Gabel), who yelled out: "Robbed! Cleaned out! $9,967!" - presumably taken by his pretty female employee Marion Holland - who had not provided references, (3) again, a rear view of the alleged female thief walking down a hotel corridor (with a bellhop carrying lots of packages of recent purchases of clothing) and into a room; she packed up two bags of luggage (one to discard evidence of her old identity, and one with her new clothes and possessions), and replaced her old Social Security ID card (Marion Holland) with a new and different fake Social Security card (Margaret Edgar); she washed the black dye from her hair in the sink, and revealed her natural blonde hair with a closeup of her face - memorably seen for the first time - as she tossed her hair back, and (4) she deposited her old suitcase in a transportation storage locker and discarded the key down a drain
Yellow Plastic-Leather Handbag
Theft of $10K from Sidney Strutt's Safe
Fake IDs
Marnie Washing Black Hair Dye Out
  • in a few short moments, the title character Margaret 'Marnie' Edgar (Tippi Hedren) had been introduced as a blonde con artist, liar and compulsive thief (kleptomaniac); it revealed a behavioral pattern that she had established for herself
  • the second main character -- wealthy widower and playboy Mark Rutland (Sean Connery), was the owner of a Philadelphia publishing firm where Marnie was hired as a typist; during her romantic involvement with Mark (in part as a challenge in order to try and understand her puzzling nature), Marnie was experiencing nightmares, severe panic attacks (occurring during a thunderstorm), and a phobic fear of the color red; even though Mark had discovered Marnie's embezzlement of funds, he strangely blackmailed her into marrying him
  • in a much-debated rape scene, Marnie's newly-wed husband was with her during their honeymoon cruise to Fiji; he kissed her, ripped off her nightgown (the silky garment fell to her feet), embraced her, laid on top of her on the bed and took her (his face filling the entire screen); the sexually-frigid Marnie stared upward in a frozen, paralyzed catatonic state - completely lacking any passion or emotion, but then the scene cut away to a porthole
Marnie's Nightmarish Flashback to Childhood Murder
  • the sequence of the traumatically-recalled nightmarish flashback - Marnie's recollection when she described the source of her deep-seated problems - an incident that began to purge her problem; as a young 5 year-old (Melody Thomas Scott), she had witnessed her 20 year-old prostitute mother Bernice Edgar (Louise Latham) attacked by sex partner and pedophile sailor (Bruce Dern); the client had begun to kiss and molest young Marnie ("Make him go, Mama. I-I don't like him to kiss me. Make him go, Mama!"), and Bernice had tried to protect her daughter; when her mother screamed out: "Marnie, help me," young Marnie defensively delivered a blow to his head with a fireplace poker ("I hit him, I hit him with a stick, I hurt him") - and murdered him ("There, there now"), and crimson blood ran down the white T-shirt of the mortally-wounded seaman; Marnie's mother was the one who took the blame and stood trial for the self-defense murder
  • these events were revealed to be the source of all of Marnie's phobias, prudishness, recurring nightmares and fear of the colors red and white - she was desperate for love, but couldn't allow a man to be intimately close to her; she had subconsciously attempted to 'repay' (with monetary gifts) her mother for standing up for her, although she had almost entirely erased the memory of the killing; mentally-ill, cheating, lying and disturbed Marnie had secretly feared that she wasn't loved, and would never be loved or have children, so she compensated by stealing and cramming robbed goods into her purse or suitcases (a Freudian symbol of her empty womb)
  • while comforting Marnie, her mother also confessed how Marnie had been conceived at the age of 15, after having sex with a boy named Billy in exchange for his basketball sweater; she steadfastly vowed her love for Marnie by adopting her
  • in the conclusion, Mark provided assurances when he spoke to Marnie to convince her to think more highly of herself, and not regard herself as a cheat, a liar and a thief: "Marnie, it's time to have a little compassion for yourself. When a child, a child of any age, Marnie, can't get love, well, it takes what it can get, any way it can get it. It's not so hard to understand"; he also vowed to help defend her, told her that she wouldn't go to jail, and that they would work out their mutual marital problems

Much-Debated Rape Scene with Husband Mark Rutland (Sean Connery)

Start of Nightmarish Flashback

Aftermath of Revelations

Reconciling with Mark


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