Condemned as being a "disappointing" and "unworthy" Alfred Hitchcock effort at the time of its release, Marnie has since grown in stature; it is still considered a lesser Hitchcock, but a fascinating one. Tippi Hedren plays Marnie, a compulsive thief who cannot stand to be touched by any man. She also goes bonkers over the sight of the color red. Her new boss, Mark Rutland (Sean Connery) is intrigued by Marnie -- to such an extent that he blackmails her into marriage when he stumbles onto her breaking into his safe. Rutland is in his own way as "sick" as his wife because of his fetishist desire to cohabit with a thief. After innumerable plot twists and turns, Marnie is "cured" by a facile but mesmerizing flashback sequence involving her ex-hooker mother (Louise Latham). Among the critical carps aimed at Marnie was the complaint that the studio-bound sets -- particularly the waterfront locale where the film ends -- were tacky and artificial; curiously, this seeming "carelessness" adds to the queasy, off-setting mood that Hitchcock endeavored to sustain. Even when the direction seems to falter, the film is buoyed by the driving musical score of Bernard Herrmann (his last for Hitchcock). Among the supporting actors in Marnie are Mariette Hartley as a secretary and Bruce Dern as a sailor; twelve years later, Dern would star in Hitchcock's final film, Family Plot.~Hal Erickson
Marnie was the first great non-Bond film from Sir Sean Connery since he began playing his career-defining role as 007. This was also Hitchcock's followup to his classic The Birds, with the same leading lady, Tippi Hedren.
Sadly, the film didn't gather much acclaim upon its original 1964 release. One reason being that it is not a suspense shocker like The Birds or Psycho. Another being that Sir Sean is quite far from the Bond role (the film was sandwiched between From Russia With Love & Goldfinger). Indeed his character, one Mark Rutland, is an upperclass businessman who becomes quite self-serving when he blackmails his employee (the title character, played by Hedren) into marrying him in the hopes of understanding the psychosis which drives her to steal.
By 1964, Hitchcock's name had become synonymous with suspense and, while the moment Marnie steals from Rutland may put the viewer on edge, the picture itself is more of a character study involving the plotting between the two principals keeping the details of their marriage a secret from everyone including the sister of Rutland's late wife, who's smitten with him herself.
Some scenes (mostly those in between Rutland & Marnie's confrontations) slow the pace of the movie somewhat. However, both Connery & Hedren do fine work, but the best part of the film is the music from frequent HItchcock collaborator Bernard Herrmann, which is possibly the most romantic musical score for any movie.
In recent years, though, this film has gained a more positive reputation. Although Hedren didn't obtain any high profile roles following this, it is seen as one of the first indications that Sir Sean's acting talent was not limited to playing James Bond.