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Marnie (1964)

Thriller Rated NR

By 1964, it had become habit to psychoanalyze Alfred Hitchcock’s movies. So with Marine he seems to have decided to beat everyone to the punch. This is a crazed and lurid character portrait that spends most of its time psychoanalyzing itself. Tippi Hedren, having barely survived The Birds, stars as a serial thief who uses her looks to get hired at various businesses, bilks them out of money and then disappears beneath a fresh dose of hair dye. She eventually gets caught by her latest target, a publishing company heir (Sean Connery) who decides to take her under his wing and counsel her rather than call the police. Rape, suicide attempts and Hedren riding bareback ensue. As in The Birds, Hedren largely relies on hysterics, while Connery is so witting and charming he seems to have picked up where Cary Grant left off. At least, that is, until a grisly “seduction” scene on a cruise. (When a woman says, “I cannot bear to be handled,” it means no.) As the movie winds towards its queasy climax – an explicit, extended flashback to Marnie’s youth – we discover the source of these “Sexual Aberrations of the Criminal Female,” to borrow the title of a book Connery is seen reading at one point. This being Hitchcock, it unsurprisingly has to do with Marnie’s mother (Louise Latham), who at one point utters what could be one of the director’s mottos: “Too blonde hair always looks like a woman is trying to attract a man.