Marnie (1964)
Universal Home Video
Cast: Sean Connery, Tippi Hedren, Diane Baker, Martin Gabel
Extras: Documentary, Photo Gallery, Theatrical Trailer, Production Notes, Biographies

In their "Alfred Hitchcock Collection", Universal is regularly releasing restored films of the masterful director, combined with insightful supplements that add depth to these gems that made movie history. The most recent release in the series is "Marnie," the 1964 thriller that features Tippi Hedren as the title star opposite of Sean Connery in a spellbinding roller coaster ride through the depths of one woman’s psyche.

Marnie (Tippi Hedren) is a pathological thief and a compulsive liar. She takes on jobs at companies using fake references and false names, works there for a little while until she has the trust of her co-workers, and then empties the company safe before disappearing into thin air. Usually she sends some of the money to support her disabled mother and uses the rest for her own living. Eventually she takes on another job to repeat the routine.

One day she applies for a job at Rutland’s unaware of the fact that Mark Rutland (Sean Connery) is a friend of a businessman she robbed in an earlier heist. Mark is making a move on Marnie and soon the two are entangled in an affair and even proposes marriage. Emotionally unable to enter into a real relationship, Marnie once again uses the occasion to empty the company safe and escapes. But soon thereafter, Mark finds her. Desperately in love iwth the young woman he decides to help her instead of handing her over to the authorities. He covers all the traces, replaces the money and tries to work with Marnie to overcome her troubles. But to being with all that, Marnie will have to open up to him, something that she is incapable of doing despite Mark’s repeated attempts to prove his sincere love for her.

"Marnie" is a slowly developing film that is steadily building its suspense. Hitchcock’s brilliant timing makes the film enticing and surprising every step of the way. The character development that is constantly evolving and revealing new facets of every character in the story, is the film’s strongest asset as it solidly builds the drama surrounding these figures. Hitchcock’s cinematic sense however puts the icing on the cake with interesting camera angles, beautifully composed shots with intricate lighting setups and his trademark editing style. "Marnie" is one of Hitchcock’s most mesmerizing psychological films that combines a great number of elements and blends the to a mixture that is simply spellbinding. "Marnie" is Hitchock at his most sophisticated.

As expected, Universal Home video has created a good-looking version of the film for release on this DVD. Nicely restored and very clean, the film is presented in its original 1.85:1 <$PS,widescreen> aspect ratio in a transfer that is <$16x9,enhanced for 16x9> television sets. Highly detailed, the transfer restores a very faithful representation of the movie. However, the film’s age is evident in the graininess of the image at times, although it fortunately never becomes distracting. The transfer is generally sharp and restores every bit of detail from the film print. Colors are vividly reproduced on this DVD with absolutely natural looking fleshtones and the original silky color-theme throughout the movie. The blacks in the film are solid without losing detail while the highlights always appear balanced and faithful. The entire presentation of the film on this DVD has a very film-like quality.

The DVD contains a cleaned up mono soundtrack in English and French. Throughout the presentation it is noticeable how clean and free of distortion the entire track is. Background noise is completely eliminated while leaving most of the high ends of the track fully intact. The result is a track with very good clarity and understandability. Nonetheless, the film’s age is noticeable in the limited frequency response of the audio. Without bass extension, the track always appears a bit harsh with an overemphasis in the mid-range.
The film features a very atmospheric score by Bernard Herrmann. As in his previous collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, the score is hauntingly beautiful and aggressive at times. Making use of the full musical vocabulary, the score is an impressive piece of drama by itself that vastly enhances the overall experience and atmosphere of the entire film. The tension and suspense it scores right into the picture is incredible and another textbook score by Herrmann that every aficionado of film scores should study.

"Marnie" contains a newly done documentary called "The Trouble with Marnie." Featuring new interviews with cast and crew members, as well as Alfred Hitchcock’s daughter, the documentary unravels the events surrounding the movie. From the initial plans to create a powerful follow-up to "Psycho" to the final release of the movie, the documentary covers a lot of ground in an interesting and entertaining way. It analyzes the movie as well as the character in front and behind the camera, making this 1-hour documentary a great addition to the release.

A well composed photo gallery with many still from the set, as well as promotional photos can also be found on this disc, as well as the movie’s original theatrical trailer, production notes and cast and crew biographies.

"Marnie" is one of the more subtle thrillers made by Alfred Hitchcock. It is more of a psychological drama and thriller. In that, it is somewhat comparable to "Rebecca" although not nearly as sinister in its tone. On the other hand the conflict Marnie is fighting out within herself is as powerful as anything else and the viewer is constantly trying to figure out what happened to her, and what she will do next. Universal’s beautiful presentation of the movie on this DVD makes it another must-have for Hitchcock fans, and for fans of the genre in general.