Monday, June 13, 2005

The trouble with Marnie.

I think the contrarian in me wanted to like Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie. I knew going in that Marnie was a critical divider, with one camp claiming it as the final Hitch masterpiece and the other camp claiming it the film that started the Maestro's downward spiral. Having just watched--and worshipped--The Birds (especially 'Tippi' Hedren's perfect Hitchcockian ice princess routine), I was ready to champion the underloved Marnie.
Alas, it was not meant to be.
There's immense promise in the film (for Christ's sake it's a Hitchcock picture), but it's all so... flat and unfun and, er, frigid. The psychiatirc spiel at the end of Psycho was bad enough, but Sean Connery's bedside analysis of Tippi was enough for me to rethink Tom Cruise's comparitively nuanced beliefs on "the Nazi science."
What hurts most about my dislike for Marnie, is that I'm now on the cinephile outs-- specificially with critic Robin Wood. According to Ms. Wood: "If you don't like Marnie, you don't like Hitchcock. If you don't love Marnie, you don't love cinema."
But how does that square with Martin Scorsese's assertion that "[I]f you don't like the films of Sam Fuller, then you just don't like cinema"? I lurve Mr. Fuller's Pickup on South Street. Am I back in good graces? Doesn't a Scorsese trump a Wood?
Oh but then there's Armond. Leave it to Armond to throw a wrench into things: "Any reviewer who pans [Mission to Mars] does not understand movies, let alone like them." Well, I guess, since I'm not a bona fide "reviewer," I'm safe. That was a close one.


At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Uncle Ernie said...

Marine went over your head, huh? Brilliant, Tippi and Hitch at their best. HItch's last great film, The Birds was all right but it's not in the same league, hell it's not on the same planet as Marnie. As for you being a critic, my advice is not to quit your day timer!

At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Marnie" is extraordinary. Seriously, if you can't appreciate a film this beautiful and haunting, there isn't much hope for you. At all.

At 3:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Minor point: actually, it's Mr. Robin Wood -- not Ms. You can read some of his essay on Marnie here.

Also, didn't Armond White say that same thing about The Fury? I wouldn't put too much stock in those "you don't understand cinema unless ..." statements. In my experience, they're usually cases of a critic overzealously beating their drum, not to mention ... well, you know.


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