Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Marnie (1964), the Hitchcock I hate: Or poor Bruce Dern and other musings

I watched Marnie for the first time last night. It was my last '60s Hitchcock. I have now finished with the '40s, the '50s, and the '60s. I have six to watch from the '30s, Frenzy and Family Plot, and a whole bunch of silents, but still. It's sad. I adore Sir Alfred. His films are some of my favorite things ever. I shudder to think of the day when there are no more Hitchcock films (it's like the day when there are no more Agatha's to read -- PLEASE NO!).

Of course, after shuddering, I'll probably just meander off and watch Shadow of a Doubt and Dial M For Murder simultaneously while chuckling gleefully and rubbing my hands together (I don't know why, I just will).

And, of course, I could watch The Lady Vanishes three times a week for the rest of my life and never regret my life choices.

Anyway, all of this is to say -- I love Sir Alfred. I LOVE ALL OF HIS OUTPUT. You're talking to the girl who is the co-president of the Jamaica Inn fanclub (co-president with Matthew, of course).

You're also talking to the girl who will declare the genius of the flashback in Stage Fright until the day she dies.

I love Sir Alfred and his life choices.

I do not love Marnie.

I hated nearly everything about it.

This is not for technical or film reasons or anything, because, honestly, Sir Alfred can do no wrong. ever. Ever. EVER.

It's just that I hated every single character.

I am not typically a hard-to-please film-goer. I'm the one who loves reprehensible, no-budget films because there's one almost-cool character (Girl in Lovers Lane, I'm trying hard not to look at you).

{Note: I'm also the person who recently, when on an 11 hour flight from London to San Francisco, decided to watch Wrath of the Titans (instead of a whole bunch of classic movies, including Lawrence of Arabia) -- because Liam Neeson was playing Zeus and, well, SAM WORTHINGTON (I love that guy, no matter you all say). So, perhaps, you definitely and absolutely shouldn't even continue you reading this.}

But, don't try to make me like a movie where everyone is a jerk. I just can't do it. You remember what happened last summer when I watched '60s Italian films, don't you? Well, if you don't -- I'll just tell you that it was NOT a pretty sight.

Marnie has no redeemable characters. The only likable one is Mariette Hartley and she's in the movie for exactly 2 minutes and 38 seconds. Those were a bright almost 3 minutes though.

I hate Marnie (not exclusively because she's played by the villain from The Birds, but that did factor into my decision).

I hate Mark. He was a serious jerk and nothing Sean Connery rambled on about in Scottish changed my mind.

I hate Lil. And, really, Diane Baker -- YOU ARE AWESOME. Why did you always play annoying characters (don't get me started on her role as "the future bride of the lonely doctor on the run").

I hate Marnie's mom.

I hate all the mean, assorted business people.

I really was just annoyed the whole movie.


Imagine my despair when Bruce Dern ended up being the creepiest, most awful character of all.

Poor Bruce Dern.

I know he's the best villain actor ever, but why can't he ever play a good guy? He's the "hero" in Silent Running, but even that involves him destroying things and killing innocent people.

{Note: I was the strange 15 year-old girl who got excited to see Bruce Dern in the credits of random '60s TV shows because that meant there was gonna be an awesome character with psycho eyes in the episode.}

 ^Psycho eyes were never the same after Bruce Dern got to them.

Oh well, I'm sure Bruce has a happy life. I mean, he gets to be an awesome, scary actor. And then, when he's bored of that, he puts on a wig and transforms in to the singer otherwise known as "Neil Young." (Please tell me that I'm not the only who person who, upon hearing "Cortez the Killer" for the first time, said out loud "When did Bruce Dern start recording?")


It is suffice to say that I really did not like Marnie, have no desire to ever see it again, and will probably in fact never even acknowledge it again. Topaz was stinkin' better than this. It really does grieve me to say this, because I have always been of the opinion that in the very rare instance that Sir Alfred does not make an absolutely perfect film -- there is still something of genius to love.

Even in Topaz, we had the awe-inducing shot of of the purple dress lady getting killed.

I'm struggling to find something in Marnie. I know there are people who consider it to be his last masterpiece. So please, people, enlighten me.

I mean, I really liked Diane Baker's haircut, but I just don't know if that counts.

EDIT: Actually, I just remembered something brilliant. That opening scene, before we see Marnie's face. I LOVED THAT. That was pure Hitchcock and pure awesome

Anyway, if you're a fan of Marnie, let me know why! If you hate it as much as me, please validate my opinion! And, if you were once a 15 year-old girl who got excited to see Bruce Dern's name in the credits -- PLEASE BE MY BEST FRIEND!



My Hideaway said...

I love Hitchcock, but I have to say Marnie is not my fav either.

Oh and Frenzy is the one that I can never watch again! For whatever reason, I found it really disturbing and I had nightmares. So, just a word of caution if you haven't seen it yet. Normally, I don't have that kind of reaction to Hitchcock movies and most of them I watch over and over, if that puts it into perspective. I'm sure people will disagree with me, but I'm curious to see what you think after you see it.

Oh and just found this blog because Kate (scathingly brilliant) tweeted the link!

Susannah said...

I'm not a fan of Marnie either, for all the reasons you outlined.

Frenzy, on the other hand, is a brilliant but very nasty late Hitchcock. I'd give Family Plot a wide berth: it looks like a third-rate 70s TV movie, redeemed only by a whole lot of Bruce Dern...

Millie said...

Yeah. I've heard that Frenzy is awful. Thanks for the warning!

Well, after I see it, I'm sure I'll come here and ramble about it longer than is ever considered "okay." haha

YAY! Well, it's nice to meet you! :-D

Millie said...

Susannah: Okay. I really have to see Family Plot. I knew Bruce Dern had a large role in it. But a third-rate '70s TV movie? DONE. I NEED to see it now! haha

Natalie said...

I awarded you the Leibster Blog Award. Details here:

doctor bugenhagen said...

i remember the color red was blatant at the end. and there was some freudian hocus pocus? all in all asked too much of the viewer

bruce dern excells in a performance in "that championship season" - he's pathetic in the role, if you can imagine that

that cortez the killer thing - hey, that's pretty funny - i can't believe i sat through a whole album side to get to that part..but i guess it was the pot

Elisabeth said...

The eternal question: Did Bruce Dern ever play a good guy?

Even though I've only seen him as the most evil of evil villains, I can't help thinking he'd be good at comedy. (I have younger siblings who do wonderful vocal imitations, and they can crack me up with a comical Bruce Dern.)

And incidentally, regarding your previous post—whenever I think of Hamlet, it makes me want to begin humming the Toreador Song, since I still remember the Skipper singing, "Neither a borrower nor a lender be..." Hamlet seems particularly susceptible to parody. Nowadays, though, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the Virginian episode "First To Thine Own Self" (another villainous Bruce Dern!).

April Heather said...

So happy to have found your sweet blog (via Scathingly Brilliant too!) Ok-I am a HUGE Hitchcock fan. I can honestly say I've watched Rear Window 50 times-its my all time fav movie. I also must say I completely agree about Marnie. Never liked it. the other commenters have said.....Frenzy-eek. I watched it and was so completely unnerved. Something about the way Hitchcock films the violence just is so upsetting! It stuck with me for days-terrifying. LOVE LOVE connecting with fellow Hitchcock-ians! xo

Anonymous said...

I know I'm horrible and super late to the party. (I actually stopped by the blog because I have FEELINGS about Palm Springs Weekend and wanted to reread your post.)

BUT. Marnie was my introduction to Sean Connery. And yes, his character was completely horrible, but I liked Mr. Connery anyhow. (I've yet to see him in a non-evil role. AND I STILL LIKE HIM.)


Hamlette said...

I keep avoiding Marnie because I don't like movies about mean people either. I may just pretend it doesn't exist.

Have you ever seen "Support Your Local Sheriff" -- my favorite Bruce Dern role, and one of my favorite (and most-quoted) movies ever. He's technically a bad guy in it, but a weirdly lovable one. Also has, among others, Henry Morgan, who is, as always, divine. See it, if you haven't. Oh! Also, Jack Elam plays a good guy in it!

Millie said...

Hamlette: Support Your Local Sheriff is one of my ALL-TIME favorite movies. And yes, Bruce Dern is brilliant (I absolutely love the scene with the red paint). And well, everyone is brilliant.


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