The Trouble with Marnie (2000) - transcript
Transcript for the documentary "The Trouble with Marnie", based on the subtitle track from a DVD.
The following people appear in the transcript:
- Alfred Hitchcock - archive footage
- Joseph Stefano
- Patricia Hitchcock
- Ernest Lehman
- Jay Presson Allen
- Tippi Hedren
- Hilton A. Green
- Louise Latham
- Diane Baker
- Peter Bogdanovich
- Robin Wood
- Robert Boyle
- Howard Smit
- Steven C Smith
Alfred Hitchcock (archive footage)
How do you do? I am Alfred Hitchcock, and I would like to tell you about my latest motion picture, Marnie. One might call Marnie a sex mystery. That is, if one used such words.
Right after Psycho, Hitchcock called me saying he was buying a book because Grace Kelly wanted to return to the screen with him, make a movie with him. He was very pleased with this and wanted very much to work with her again. And he had bought a book called Marnie by Winston Graham, a British writer, a very good writer.
My mother and father were very close friends of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier. And when my father found this story, Marnie, they went over, and they talked to Grace, and she loved the story and really was prepared to come back.
He had told her a little about it, and she liked what she heard. So, we sat down for several weeks and just talked about how we would make a movie of this. And then I went home and wrote the outline, which was a very extended, very detailed outline with dialogue in it. And I felt that Marnie herself was a devastating character... in her inability to keep from stealing things. She felt what she wanted was hers. And I felt that she was a strange, unlikeable woman... by which I mean men might not like her, but they could fall in love with her. And I felt that the thrill of the movie was the triangle. In the book Marnie and in my treatment of it, there were two men in love with Marnie. These men worked in the same firm and were rivals in a work sense as well as in a romantic sense of wanting Marnie. And I think that that may have been what attracted Hitchcock in the first place. He liked that. It's in Notorious. It's in a lot of his movies. You'd see a woman torn between two men, or two men ready to kill each other over a woman, and that's what we got in Marnie. And I liked that very much. In the movie... final movie version that I saw, I don't know how it got to that, but there were no longer two men, it was one man, and the other male character had been changed to a female character... that Diane Baker played and played beautifully. But when I saw the movie, I was surprised that this was now a woman, and, uh, I didn't understand why, and I still don't.
Marnie had in its book and in my treatment a psychiatrist who was treating Marnie... not because Marnie wanted to be treated, but because her husband insisted on it. And that, to me, was very exciting... because I was in analysis myself, and I liked writing scenes between a patient and a doctor. And I talked a lot with Hitch about being in analysis. He was very curious about it.
I felt that the psychiatrist was cut from the movie so that the character of Mark would be a big enough character to attract a major star. And when that happened, I felt that it was not only taking a character away from us, the audience, but it was also giving a character more than that character could carry. I guess it worked in a strange way, mainly because of the intensity of Sean Connery playing the part.
And it may have made for some dynamic scenes, but I think it robbed the movie of something that I would have liked. I would have had a hard time taking that out.
About the time that I was finishing the outline, I had a meeting with him, and he said, "Ms. Kelly has changed her mind." And I could see that he was very angry about this, and, uh, I'm not sure that he would ever forgive her for that.
Unfortunately, what happened in between the time she agreed and between, you know, it was ready to go, they were having large problems in Monaco. And Rainier finally didn't think it was a good time for her to be gone, and that's why she didn't do it.
He was very, very disappointed, and I tried to suggest other actresses. I said, you know, I could name ten right now who could play Marnie. And he said, "No." It was over. So, I went away and did other stuff, and he went on and did The Birds. And then by the time he had done The Birds and decided that Tippi Hedren could do Marnie, I had created a television show -- The Outer Limits. I was producing it and not available.
After I wrote The Birds, Hitch sent me Marnie. I thought it was good. I thought it was a good novel. A good thriller. Not a mystery, but a thriller. A good one. A lot of suspense in it. I thought I could do something good with it.
There's a scene in the book and in the movie when the Mark Rutland character is on his honeymoon with Marnie, who is frigid. And he is approaching her to make love to her, and she backs away and is cowering and trembling and really shaking in fear, and he rapes her.
The first conversation we had about it, I said there's a scene that bothers me in the book, Hitch, and we ought to talk about it because I don't like it. And he said, "Which scene is that?" I said, "Where he rapes her on their honeymoon night." He says, "Oh, don't worry about that. We'll talk about that later."
I felt it not heroic of the lead character to rape his wife when he sees there's something wrong here with the woman. You know, she's not being coy or girlish. You know, she's terrified. And I felt this was wrong dramatically. And I also felt that I would have a hell of a time recovering him from this scene. You know, it's hard to recover a character once he does this. I knew every woman in the audience would hate him... Sean Connery or whoever... Rock Hudson. They'd hate him if he raped this woman. And he disagreed with me entirely. He totally disagreed when we finally got this out in the open. And I went home, and I wrote the script, and I got to that scene, and I wrote a good rape scene. Then I wrote the scene the way I thought it should go. He does not rape her. He's understanding. And I put my scene in the body of the script on white pages, and I did the rape scene outside the script on yellow pages. And I sent the script plus the alternate scene to Hitch. I said, "I think when you've read this, you'll understand why I did it this way, and you'll understand that this is the better way to go." And I got fired a couple days later.
Jay Presson Allen
The rape scene is interesting because, I must say, uh, he wanted a rape scene, and I wrote a rape scene. I don't... I don't remember any consternation whatsoever. Years and years later, when I meet Evan Hunter, and he says that his relationship with Hitch on that project broke up over that rape scene, I was... I was kind of astonished at my lack of sensitivity. It just... It just didn't make that much difference to me. It was a scene.
She said, "You bought your ticket back to New York... The minute... the minute you gave that talk to him. You had... You bought your ticket back to New York." She said, "The only reason he wanted to do that movie was for that scene."
Jay Presson Allen
When you talk about a rape scene, I think of somebody grabbing somebody... a stranger in a park and forcing them and blah, blah, blah, blah. This was a... just, uh, a trying marital situation. I don't think... I did not define it as rape, and Hitch never used the word "rape" with me. I guess he'd learned his lesson when he had the hoo-ha with Evan.
Evan was very disturbed because he said his thought was, "How do you redeem this character after a scene like that?" How you redeem it is through the actor's charisma. They're not stars for nothin', you know. And, um, you forgive them, that's all. Never... It never entered my mind that there would be any problem after that.
At that time, I didn't have a career. I had written one play that had been optioned. They had a very difficult time casting it, and it had never really got done. I wrote a second play, which was The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and because of some problems in the producer's personal life, it didn't get on as soon as we had thought it would. Actually, it was... it was done in London first because of this. But as a result, that play sat around for a while, and during that time, Hitch, who had access to agents' offices, of course, read it and called me and asked me if I wanted to make a movie, which was, um, out of such left field, because in those days, every kid who graduated from school didn't want to make a movie. And I was trying to make a Broadway career. I don't think I would have gone out there if it had been anybody but Hitch.
All during the time that we were filming The Birds, I was aware that Marnie was being written by Jay Presson Allen, and, uh, Grace Kelly was going to play the part. And I remember doing the scene with Rod Taylor up on the hill. It was during that scene that I was told that I was going to do Marnie.
Reading the novel by Winston Graham was very enlightening because the thought processes in Marnie's head were so incredible, and she was so devious. She was such a complicated, sad, tragic woman. Hitchcock was the sole reason that I could have done that character... was that the discussions that we had. I sat with him and with Jay Presson Allen when they were writing, and often and we would talk about the character. And basically, that's how Hitch was directing... was all just doing conversations about the characters... so that by the time you got onto the set, it was all pretty well defined.
This is Mark coming down the stairs of his family home outside Philadelphia. He is a thoughtful man... dark and brooding.
Jay Presson Allen
How Sean got the part was very funny. We had been talking about leading men and who... who in the world it was going to be. And Hitch said that he had heard that there was an English actor doing a James Bond thing. They were making a movie about Fleming's James Bond. And he had heard that this guy was very attractive, very sexy, very attractive. And he said he could get some footage. They'd let him see some footage. And so I said, "Swell."
So, we went into the screening room, and we had footage of Sean. Now, he was supposed to be playing a Philadelphia, mainline American guy, an upper-class, Philadelphia guy. And here was Sean with his intense Glaswegian accent. But he was so appealing that when it was over, we looked at each other, and Hitch imitated... some... some line that he had had, in this terrible accent. And he laughed and I laughed, and we said, let's do it. Let's just go with him. And gosh, there was never a moment's regret. That goes without saying.
Sean Connery had just come out of Dr. No, and that's who he chose. And when I heard about it I said, "Hitch, how could you do this?" I mean, here... You know, the Marnie character... is totally against all men. I mean, screams if one of them comes near her. I mean, I don't care how much of a man-hater you are, or how negatively you feel about men, you take one look at Sean Connery, and I mean, oh, come on, Hitch. "How am I going... How am I going to do this part?" He said, "It's called acting, my dear." Which was great. That was the answer.
Hilton A Green
Sean was just absolutely marvellous to work with. One of the nicest people I have ever worked with. And his relationship with Mr. Hitchcock was marvellous. Absolutely no problems at all. A real pro in every respect. The only thing he liked to do and would like to get away and get was his golf. He would always want to get out and have a round of golf, which I admired him for.
Jay Presson Allen
Louise Latham, who played the mother, was a good friend of mine from school. We were in boarding school together in Dallas, Texas, and we had stayed friends through the years. She had become an actress rather late along... She'd had a couple of marriages first, and then she came to New York to be an actress, and she was very good. I directed her in, I think, The Little Foxes in school, at school. I knew she could act, and she had done several things. Nothing big when this came up. We were talking about the mother and who would play it, and I said, well, I knew somebody that I thought could do both the younger woman -- the flashback -- and the older woman. She was fun to work with, and I thought he would like her. So he said, "Roll her around." So I called her and asked her if she'd like to have a shot at this. She was very excited.
I had ordered a cab to go to Universal to meet with him, and, of course, the cab was late. And I thought, "Well, this is it." You know, I've ruined this whole opportunity because of a bad cab. And, um, so when I got to his little... he had a special little house, studio, on the lot... he had left, but the secretary said, "If you'll run out there, he may still be in the car." So, I ran out, and they were about to pull away. And I knocked on the window, and I said, "It's me, Mr. Hitchcock. And he said, "Oh, very good." He opened the door, got in the car, he said, "I'm going over to the studio." And we talked on the way about the script and about the character. It was quite brief, really, and he said, "Yes, I think you'll do nicely in the part." I think he had intended probably an older person... because almost the first thing he said... this has been a while, many years ago, you know... and he looked at me and he said, "Oh, you're younger than I thought." And I believe I replied something like, "Oh, I can be very old." So, it tickled him.
I was so shocked when I got a call from my agent saying that Mr. Alfred Hitchcock has asked you to be in his movie. I said, "Oh, can I read the script?" "No. There will be no script coming. You have to accept the part with no knowledge of what you're going to play." Except this is a film called Marnie, and it's starring Tippi Hedren, and I don't know that they for sure had Sean Connery yet or not, but it was a thrill. I mean, I was so shocked.
I did feel very strongly when I first met Mr. Hitchcock and his wife that I was being groomed, because after I had been asked to do the part, I was invited to his home over in Brentwood on the golf course. And, Alma... We were in the kitchen seated around this... We just stayed in the kitchen as she was making quiche. I'll never forget. I remember Alma bringing a picture in a magazine out and showing it to me of Grace Kelly and the resemblance that they felt that I had to Grace Kelly. I don't know what I was supposed to do about it, but that was his reaction to me.
Hilton A Green
I had been Mr. Hitchcock's assistant, and I had moved up since then to an office position with MCA, so I wasn't on the set anymore. But I was the unit production manager on Marnie. Mr. Hitchcock wanted me to be, and I wanted to work with him.
I remember very clearly that we were supposed to start shooting on a Monday. And that Friday, President Kennedy was assassinated. And, um, it threw... there was a national holiday of mourning on Monday, so we had to push back shooting. I'll never forget that. I'll always remember Marnie because of that. They say, "Where were you on that day?" Well, we were getting ready to start Marnie.
There are so many scenes in Marnie that are really quite fascinating. And the way Hitch directed it, it was... it was very poignant and very, very frightening. And certainly gave the character, um, a great deal... It opens the character to everybody of what she was like.
It was such a challenge because you wonder why that particular, terrible relationship... What happened? What was the background? What caused all this pain and anger? And so I tried to investigate that character. The whys... Why that kind of cruelty? Why she couldn't touch her daughter. Why the coldness, the fear, the defensiveness?
Because part of her loved Marnie, but her own past... She'd had to destroy almost everything of her past to survive, to live with herself, that she wasn't connected to anything anymore. And I think any kind of isolation puts a person on the spot in a very uncomfortable way. And I always felt that about this woman.
Jay Presson Allen
Well, the business about the character that Sean plays... the studying of animal behavior... that's me because that's what I do. And can be made germane in his attempts to deal with her, dealing with something that he has to regard basically as a wounded animal.
Mark in Marnie... the Sean Connery... is a little bit like, in a more serious way, but he picks up some of the same aspects that Grace Kelly had in To Catch A Thief... in the sense that he is actually titillated... by the fact that she is a thief. That turns him on a bit, just as it turned Grace Kelly on... that Cary Grant was probably the cat burglar. So, Sean Connery's trying to help her, but he's also kind of turned on by her being this thief.
Many people ask me about the kiss in Marnie. Because I think it's one of the sexiest kisses in all of movie history. Everybody says, "Oh, wow, it was so marvellous." Well, it's so close. And our faces are just... I mean, it's so close. It was just unbelievable. And, uh, people would ask, "What was that like? What was it like?" I said, "Yeah, it was just great." The camera was a foot and a half away. The lights were right here. I mean, what do you mean, how sexy was it? It wasn't. It was simply technical. It was totally technical.
There's a sense, and I don't mean this in any derogatory way, there's a sense in which Hitchcock's is the most artificial form of cinema that's ever been invented. He talks in interviews uh, repeatedly about his ideal of pure cinema. And he means by this putting together, often tiny fragments of film, in order to create effects. I'm always amazed, seeing Marnie again and again, at the extreme level of virtuosity that Hitchcock had reached when he got to this point when he made this film.
Sequence after sequence seems almost a miracle of pure cinema. In the timing of the editing... the whole complex of editing, camera movements, camera position, acting, gesture, expression, the way in which a head is turned slightly in one direction or another. The command of this pure cinema is extraordinary, but it is a very artificial form of filmmaking in a sense.
Jay Presson Allen
I've known these people, and Hitch really has not. And I was on the set or around when they were getting his car, the car that he was going to drive, which was a big, fancy car. And I said, "Oh, Hitch, he would never drive that kind of a car." He'd have a pickup truck. And I said what he's doing is not believable. And Hitch said, "Well, for the American public, the pickup truck is not believable." And, of course, he was right at that time... with what passed for reality in movies in those days.
And the father, I thought the costume was hilarious, the clothes that the father wore. Nobody wears clothes like that except in movies. But Hitch was very insistent that for the public to believe in a kind of American aristocracy, they had to be kind of fake British, and that's what... So this Glaswegian... this working-class Glaswegian and his fake English father were doing these fraudulent American aristocrats. But, um, that was then.
Hitchcock wanted in the film something that would reflect back to what happened to Marnie... to make her like this. And, of course, it was the blood on the white shirt that she completely abolished from her memory. Every time she saw red, you know, it would be appalling to her, repulsive to her, abhorrent to her. And, um, you know, he did it with anything red... whether it was red flowers, whether it was the red on the jockey's suit.
Nothing Hitchcock did in his pictures was haphazard or just doesn't matter: everything counted. Because it was all visual, and the color is a huge element in that. Hitchcock worked very carefully. When he had color in his movies, he didn't just pick a color. It was all very carefully done, and he worked with all of his people very carefully, with Edith Head or whoever was doing the costumes and with the sets.
Every Hitchcock picture was a challenge, because he set all of these problems. Like, the girl's aberration. We tried to minimize the main color of the film and kind of neutralized color... until we would accentuate it in her vision of red.
I think you have to think of Hitchcock himself as being someone who had maybe all the phobias known to man. He had tremendous fears, which we all have, but I think in Hitchcock's case, they were accentuated to the extent that he could put them up on the screen. And the difference between this and some filmmakers is he put these feelings as if the audience is feeling them then. So that it wasn't objective. It was all very subjective, so that what was happening on the screen, the audience felt they were a part of it. And I think that was the whole Hitchcock touch.
Hilton A Green
Mr. Hitchcock, on all his films, would take basic sequences that were involved and would always storyboard them right to every shot. And on Marnie, of course, all the hunting scenes, the scene, uh, where the horse falls, and the robbery in the office. Bob Boyle, who was the production designer on it, carefully laid out with a sketch artist these scenes for him.
Jay Presson Allen
I think Hitch was eternally bored during the actual shooting of film, because he storyboarded everything to such an extent that the creative work was done before he sat down to shoot anything. Then it was just, you know, riding herd on the actors pretty much.
Hilton A Green
The scene of the robbery in the office is classic Hitchcock, and he designed it as such, and the touches were all Hitchcock. It's Mr. Hitchcock at his best bringing out suspense. And that's what made him such a great director... taking an ordinary sequence and making the audience on the edge of their seat.
As usual, Hitchcock says that the audience is always rooting for the leading character, even if they're doing something wrong. In this case, she's stealing, and yet, you're afraid she's going to get caught. So he increases the tension by having somebody cleaning the floor.
As far as she's concerned, there's nobody around, and she's tiptoeing out. The audience sees the cleaning lady coming with her mop and watching her sweep, you know, mop the floor, and they're both getting almost side to side. And then Marnie notices her, and she puts her shoes in her pockets, and she's tiptoeing out. And the audience also sees the shoe slipping out of the coat pocket. So the audience is thinking, "Oh, my God, the cleaning lady's there, "and the shoe is slipping out, the cleaning lady's going to hear the shoe. She's going to call. This could be horrendous." And the shoe falls, and Marnie looks at the cleaning lady, and she doesn't move.
Then, of course, it's funny because she's deaf. But that's kind of a Hitchcockian joke, too. You know, I can just see him saying, "Yeah, she'll be deaf."
But that's one of those wonderful stories about the suspense that Hitchcock provided for us. And he, you know, he used to make graphs of the movies of when he'd pick everybody up and then drop them. He'd pick them up and drop them. There'd be a whole sequence of scenes of where he would make a graph of how he was going to entertain us.
One of the wonderful things about Hitchcock's work, when you get to know him, is all the inside jokes, the way he plays with the audience, the way he amuses himself, too. There's an enormous amount of humor in Hitchcock.
I remember one moment when he was talking to an actress. I think it was Mrs. Strutt. He said off-camera, "I want you to smile as if you had a mouthful of broken china." And I've never forgotten that statement. An immediate image comes to mind that, you know, you don't really want to smile... if you know you've got a mouthful of broken china. But, yet, you've still got a smile.
He didn't talk about motivation. He expected all that to be there, and you'd work that out. I remember him coming up to me in the window shot, when I'm looking out the window down into the front of the house, and he wanted a certain look. And just simply made... fixed my face with his hands exactly how he wanted me to look. He put his hands there, and he simply shaped my face. He didn't want to tell me what to be thinking. He didn't really want any thinking, but I understood, we're making a movie. And if he can get what he wants exactly as he wants it by moving my face in a certain way, or placing it in the light in a certain way, then that's it. No one knows when they see the movie how it came about. Except that it was right for the moment.
Hilton A Green
In the preparation of Marnie, we looked at one of Mr. Hitchcock's other films, Notorious, beforehand. Bob Burks and everything, and there was a shot where... it was a very famous shot of a crane shot down a staircase from high above, keep moving, moving, moving in on Ingrid Bergman and, uh, Claude Rains, which kept going and going right into her hand, and in her hand was the key to the basement wine cellar. And in Marnie, we had a similar, not exact, but a similar occasion of using that type of shot, where the party's going on, and he wanted the same feeling of coming in, coming in, coming in, and ending on a close shot of the character of Strutt, who had seen Marnie earlier and remembered the robbery in the office.
The actual movement of the camera creates a suspense in the audience 'cause you know it's going somewhere. So, it's like, "Where is he going? Where is he going? Where is he going?" And it ends up on a close-up of Strutt, and the audience says, "Oh, my God."
I asked Hitch about that in Notorious, and he said it was a way of saying, you know, "Here's this party, and all these things are going on, and the whole crux of the matter is in the hand, a small object in the hand." And in this case, you could say the same thing. It's this, "Where is it going?" Well, what could unmask her is this fellow that comes in the door. Again, it's visual storytelling. It's involving the audience, in both cases, kind of unconsciously.
One of the most important moments in the film for me, as an actress learning from a director, was when Hitch taught me this concept of contrast. We were then in another room after where I'm chatting with people, and Strutt is now going to show signs that Marnie may be somebody that he recognizes.
So Hitch said, "The best way to make this work is I want you to be smiling first." Because when I rehearsed it, I was just talking normally as you would to people. I didn't think, well, be laughing or talking with joy or smiling. So he said, "I want you to smile, and then your face drains of all humor, and then you're serious. "Because," he said, "if you don't, you will be talking seriously to somebody, and the minute that you see something that is really deep and heavy and serious, you will border on horror, and your face will take on a grotesqueness of which it will not be good for the film. It's not good for your character. It's not good. It takes on another life." So, I realized at that moment he was absolutely right. So, I've used that throughout all my career.
We did a scene with... I did with Tippi... that had to do with my relationship with Mark and my anger with her. It was a real put-down. It was one of those last-moment dialogue scenes that was... It had an impact. It was a clarification of where we stood, and it was very strong. And I always wondered why they... Hitch cut that scene out. Because I always felt that in the film, as good as it was, I always wondered why my character didn't round out with a kind of a period, that it came to an end, a natural resolve. Maybe, who knows? Maybe our acting wasn't what it should have been. Maybe he thought that this wasn't finally in the final cut appropriate.
We made the film all on the lot at Universal Studios. I never went back to do any of the location filming in Middleburg, Virginia, where they shot the horse riding scenes. We did all of my part here.
Jay Presson Allen
I found the location for that. It's down there where my husband came from, down around Middleburg, Virginia, and found all the locations for that. And it was fun. I think everybody had a good time with that.
The scenes dealing with Forio were very exciting to me because I really loved that horse. I had worked with him for about three months before we started filming Marnie, so I knew Forio very, very well. He was a big, big horse- 17 ½ hands high. Beautiful. Just a really wonderful animal.
Hilton A Green
Mr. Hitchcock had heard of a mechanical horse for Tippi to ride in the hunting scene. He hated the phony everything of a mechanical horse, but he had heard that Disney had a real good one, so he asked me to go over and test it and look at it. And I... Going over to Disney, the lot and the back lot, and they were demonstrating it. And a man came up behind me, and it was Mr. Disney. And I was... He knew that I was there for Mr. Hitchcock, and he was very interested. He admired Mr. Hitchcock deeply, and he wanted this to work... because he wanted to help Mr. H. in whatever he could. And we did rent that mechanical horse, but we only used the mechanical horse for extreme close shots of Tippi, and to get the motion and everything.
Mr. Hitchcock wanted a real horse, and he liked to do things on the stage, so he said, "Well, let's get a treadmill, and we'll put the horses on the treadmill." Everybody looked at him and said, "A horse on a treadmill? That's not only dangerous, but you can't do that." He said, "Have you ever tried it?" "Well, no." He said, "Well, then, let's try it."
Well, we did. We brought in trainers, and we went to MGM, I believe, and got the largest treadmill in the business, and we brought it over here and started training. Doggone if it didn't work perfect. The horses got on there, and they were walking on a treadmill. And we did do a lot of the so-called dolly shots against a process screen and horses on treadmill.
They, at one point, thought, for my safety, they would put a harness on me. And, you know, with some sort of a, you know, a lead that would go up to something up in the... above me that would... if the horse did fall, that I would be lifted up. And, you know, they tried that for a while, but it didn't work. But those were scary times.
The fall was totally special effect. They had me on a crane where they lift me up, and I was... I was almost tied to it. And so and I was turned over for the fall. But it was totally special effects and brilliantly done.
Hilton A Green
Mr. Hitchcock liked to make "movies"... quote, unquote. He liked to tell the story through the camera lens with gimmicks and things like that. He loved to work on a soundstage. He did not like exterior locations. He liked process. He liked matte shots. But as Hollywood was changing and it went out on to... Well, television really was the cause of it, because you could sit in your room, and you would be in London, you would be in Paris, you'd be in Tokyo, you'd see the real things. You really couldn't cheat the audiences anymore in making them believe that the soundstage was the streets of Paris, so to speak. Whereas you could before because people hadn't seen it. Now, we were just in that transition, and Hitchcock still did not want to go out and shoot practical locations.
One of the big things that he wanted on Marnie was the street in Baltimore, the waterfront street where Mother lived. He wanted a big ship, a big freighter at the end, tied up at the end. And he didn't want to go to Balt... We talked about going to Baltimore and shooting it. At least, shooting... No, he didn't want to do that. He said, "We'll paint it." So, we got the best artists in and painted this backdrop of the street. I always felt it didn't look right. I told him so at the time, and he said, "No, it's fine."
It didn't work out too well. As a matter of fact, after we saw it in the dailies, Bob Burks and I went to him and said we could fix it, and we could have. It was lacking in texture. But Hitchcock said, "No, I think it's all right." Later, he agreed that it didn't look too good.
Hilton A Green
People, uh, well, they ridiculed it, I think, if that's a good word. I've heard things, "Well, it's old-fashioned now," and "What's he trying to do?" But I think he had more in mind on Marnie. He made a movie in the style that Hollywood, you know, was based on originally.
He remained all his life very influenced by German Expressionism, which was really his first exciting experience of film. He's always said how excited he was by it. He worked in German studios at first in the silent period, very early on when he started making films. He saw Fritz Lang's German silent movies. He was enormously influenced by that. And Marnie is basically an Expressionist film in many ways. Things like scarlet suffusions over the screen, back projection and backdrops, artificial-looking thunderstorms. These are Expressionist devices, and one has to accept them. If one doesn't accept them, then one doesn't understand and can't possibly like Hitchcock.
With Sean, he really drove the scene, and he's such a marvellous presence. Such a wonderful, warm actor. You could meet him and work together in a really wonderful way. I loved working with him because he gave off so much to respond to.
He creates this tremendous feeling of disorientation, which is what the character was feeling, by moving the camera back, then zooming forward, which will create a kind of disorientation. You don't know which way you're going.
Bob Burks designed that lens. It was a big thing, in which it held the foreground, but let the background recede. He did that in Vertigo, when he had Jimmy Stewart looking down. He had it kind of fall away.
One of the wonderful things about the makeup in that movie was that one could work with somebody like Howard Smit, who was really unusual. He was a marvellous makeup man and so patient and would experiment till it was just right. And, uh, it was a great treat for me coming in and having the opportunity to work with somebody like that. For the makeup, we probably spent three hours a morning.
We had quite a span of years to show with Louise Latham. For the younger character, I had to use every method that I could use to make her as young as I could possibly make her by pulling up all of the wrinkles out of the skin, if any. Pulling back, making her look very, very young. And then, for the older character, do away with that and do the complete aging job to give her as much age without it looking like, at all, makeup.
It was very funny because I had been in this pitiful makeup for so long, and then I went back into makeup when the flashbacks were to be shot, and they made me up to look as glamorous as possible, and young and relaxed and vital and sexy. As I walked on the set, the cameraman... that marvellous cameraman whispered to the A.D., "Who is that?" And I went over and told Hitch that, and it tickled him so. He laughed so that his own cameraman didn't detect immediately the different human being. It was the same person being different.
Hilton A Green
Bruce Dern, you know, he had worked in a lot of the television shows, which a lot of big star actors had worked at one time or another in their beginning. But I'm sure Mr. Hitchcock remembered him from some of those parts and was the reason he was hired as the sailor.
In the flashbacks, that was the first time there was really a good deal of coverage, because he covered it from so many angles and special shots of faces and Bruce's face and the little girl's face, and the leg and skin, and it took a lot of time, that scene did, because of the lighting. It was very jagged, fragmented. It was very interesting how it all came together. Then he would put it all together in a kind of puzzle.
Bruce Dern, who played the sailor, uh, when we had to show that he had been beaten to death, I had to use blood. And I'll never forget he had a white T-shirt on, and I started out with blood coming out of the head where he had been beaten, down onto the T-shirt, and Mr. Hitchcock kept saying, "More blood, more blood, and more blood." I think I used close to a gallon of blood before that was over. And I've got to tell you, of all the shows I've done over a period of 60 years in the industry doing makeup, I don't think I've ever used blood to that extent.
The way Hitch worked was so brilliant because he would take things out of his past, things that he had noticed about somebody else, and lock them in his memory, and then apply them to movies later.
At the end of Marnie, where Louise Latham and I have just gone through this hideous thing of going into our past, and all of this was very draining on everybody. Finally, Louise Latham and I just sit and look at each other. And Hitch drew that from two fighters who had fought to the point where they were so exhausted, they just sat and looked at each other. It was just things that he would pull out of, you know, the memory bank. The computer in his head was fascinating.
This is a wonderful monologue, I remember thinking, because the truth was out. She could finally relax and remember it. And the pain was still there, but she didn't have to hide. The barriers were down, and she could tell, she could relive and in that way exorcise some of the horror and the pain. Because to be able to speak about anything to the person you've been nearest to is sort of cleansing.
Hilton A Green
I remember having a discussion on censorship, which in those days were much, much stricter. Not even any comparison of what we're doing today. But in the scene where Mother is talking about how she got pregnant with Marnie and wanting a letterman's jacket from this boy, and in return she allowed herself to become pregnant. And there was a lot of discussion, "Would the censors allow that line?" And Hitchcock was always... not to be too risque, but he was always on the edge of many things, such as we were in Psycho with nudity and that sort of thing in that day. But he always wanted to be on the edge. He always wanted to push it a little further, a little further.
Steven C Smith
The collaboration between Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock was, I think, the most complementary between a composer and a director in the history of film. In the case of Marnie, I don't think either man knew at the time that it was going to prove to be their last successful collaboration.
Part of the reason it turned out to be their last collaboration was that there... there began to be a difference of opinion among some parties and Herrmann, who was a very tough collaborator at times... someone who really believed in doing things the way he felt they should be done. It is said that the studio wished to have a more commercially exploitable score than the kind that Bernard Herrmann had traditionally produced. Bernard Herrmann's career had not produced a single successful record, like Dimitri Tiomkin's song "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling" for High Noon. Or, in fact, for Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much. The famous song "Que Sera Sera" was written not by Bernard Herrmann, although he provided that film's score.
So, Hitchcock apparently wished to have music that was romantic, and potentially something that could result in a melody that would be commercially exploitable away from the film. And Bernard Herrmann seems to have responded to this request by writing this theme for Marnie that is a full-blooded, romantic statement. In fact, it was arranged as a pop song, and it was subsequently recorded by Nat King Cole and did absolutely nothing, so that simply was not Herrmann's forte. But he did provide a score that serves the film tremendously well.
One of Herrmann's own favorite sequences in the film was the hunt. It's a fascinating sequence because of the way the music evolves and takes the viewer through the sequence. It starts in a fairly conventional fashion, which are the horns stating this kind of theme for a traditional hunt. But as the sequence continues, the music, just as the film does, becomes much more intense and personal to Marnie's story. And, in fact, her music begins to take over the sequence. Herrmann has taken us from this jolly adventure into this kind of tormented devil's ride that ends in the death of this creature that she loves so much.
On occasion, Bernard Herrmann would take advantage of the final sequence of the film to comment musically in a fashion that might not always have been as clearly stated visually. In the case of Marnie, it's interesting to look at that final sequence, because the story ends somewhat ambiguously with this woman clearly still having to work through some of the demons that have haunted her throughout her life. But it is Herrmann who gives us... that gives us the clearest statement at the end of some hope.
Hilton A Green
Marnie really was the last feature Mr. Hitchcock did with a few of his feature crew, not because he didn't want them, but because Bob Burks, his cameraman that did numerous great movies with him, died tragically in a fire not too long after that. And George Tomasini, his editor, who was absolutely one of the most marvellous people you'd ever want to know and a fine editor, died shortly after Marnie... of, I believe, a heart attack. And Bernard Herrmann, although he did do a picture after Marnie -- Torn Curtain -- but it was replaced. This was his last score for Mr. Hitchcock. So, Marnie was the end of an era, so to speak, of Mr. Hitchcock's feature crew, sadly, because they were great, great talents, all of them, and great individuals.
I thought Marnie was one of his most interesting films of that later period. The picture was criticized at the time. It was not highly thought of. I don't think it did very well. But that was typical of the way people treated Hitchcock at that time. He was never taken very seriously. It really wasn't until after Truffaut's book that the establishment in America started to change rather quickly. You know, if a French cultural icon suddenly says this guy is good, everyone says, "Really? Hitchcock?" You know, but after the Truffaut book, and he only had about three films left to make after that book came out, then he was taken more seriously, and by the end of the '70s, you know, he was a cultural icon. But Marnie was just another kind of lesser Hitchcock at that time. The whole psychological aspect of it people made fun of. I think it's one of the most interesting things about it.
I think the audiences didn't like him being psychological. Whereas The Birds and Rear Window, they were all right there, you know. I don't really think that the audiences liked seeing him get into that. I think they liked, you know, more of the suspense and less of the character.
Hilton A Green
I think they were expecting that there would be another great romance, such as the Grant-Kelly romances. The love story never came to pass. It never material... I mean, Sean Connery... good-looking. I think the audience wanted a great relationship, as you look back at other Hitchcock films where you had these great love affairs along with the Hitchcock suspense. Marnie was different, and, uh, I think that disappointed the audience, but you know, Hitchcock was in many ways on a lot of his films, ahead of his audiences at the time in what he was trying to convey.
I think over the years, people go back and look at that, and they accept Marnie much more today than they did at the time of the release. You don't get the transition stage we were in at the time we made it. So I think today, it's accepted much more as a good movie than it was when it came out.
I would say myself, and this may sound provocative and even arrogant, but if you don't like Marnie, you don't really like Hitchcock. I would go further than that and say if you don't love Marnie, you don't really love cinema.