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Alfred Hitchcock’s MARNIE is a suspenseful “Vertigo-Lite” exploration of how our past informs our present, fears and sexuality. If that sounds daring, it certainly was when it released in the summer of 1964.

Billed on the posters as a “suspenseful sex mystery” Tippi Hedren (who made her screen debut in Hitch’s previous film “The Birds”) stars as the title character, a compulsive liar and thief. Her marks are endless, but she meets her match in her latest target, Sean Connery as Mark Rutland.

Marnie signs on as a secretary, but after she gains access to the right keys and access, she always robs her employer and makes off with what she can.

But her latest firm’s owner, Mark, discovers her secret and prevents her from running away.

In a twisted and dangerous game of cat & mouse, Mark forces their relationship to the ultimate breaking point.

The early 1960’s setting is fascinating, spinning male/female dynamics that seem prehistoric by today’s standards.

Is Marnie in love with Mark?

What is his game or is he even playing one?

There are several famously great Hitchcock sequences to enjoy, including a thrilling fox hunt on the massive Rutland estate and the scene where Marnie executes her plan to rob Mark’s company.

Bernard Herrmann’s music score is excellent throughout, sparking great memories of his score for “Vertigo”, and all-time favorite.

Connery is great as Rutland, conveying all the power and macho attitude that Rutland wields as he attempts to “cure” Marnie. Hedren matches him, spewing desperate self-loathing as she’s forced to deal with her past.

Let’s just say you don’t want to spend any time in a red room during a thunderstorm with Marnie.

Hedren famously told a story about approaching Hitchcock early during shooting and saying, “She’s supposed to be frigid to Mark. Have you seen Sean?” to which Hitch replied, “Yes, my dear. It’s called acting”.

Widely panned at the time of its release by critics, it was a minor hit with audiences and has gone on to be praised in the 50+ years since as one of Hitchcock’s darkest, best films.

Nobody builds tension out of human behavior like Hitchcock’s camera accompanied by Herrmann’s music. MARNIE is a classic and gets an A.

Fans of TV’s “Batman”, watch for Alan Napier as Marnie’s first mark in the film. Napier starred as Alfred to Adam West’s caped crusader!

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