“No Spring for Marnie” marks the second and final collaboration between Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren. Years later, the filmmaker returned to what he felt was wrong with his film.
No spring for Marniea terrifying psychological drama
No spring for Marnie may be the work ofAlfred Hitchcock the most complex to address today, because often misunderstood. The story is that of Marnie (Tippi Hedren), a kleptomaniac young woman who, with each new job, robs her employers before fleeing. It is this characteristic of the character which then attracts Mark RutlandSean Connery. The latter decides to hire her and then only waits for one thing, that she steals him in turn. After which the man gets control over her since he offers her a choice: that she marry him or he will denounce her to the police.
Once again, Hitchcock confronts us with problematic characters whose actions go against morality. And that is the strength of the filmmaker who manages despite this to make his dramatic stories fascinating. We thus find in Mark something of the character embodied by James Stewart in Vertigo (1959), also guilty by his desire for a woman. In No spring for MarnieHitchcock goes even further since he stages Marnie’s rape by Mark right after their marriage. The mistake would be to think that the director sees it as a romantic act. This is obviously not the case. There is much more terror here than romance.
In reality, with this film, Hitchcock puts the spectator in front of neurotic characters. There is no real hero, since even the “heroine” is a thief. On the other hand, everything makes sense when Hitchcock tilts the feature film into another genre. No longer the classic thriller, but the psychological drama. It does indeed its second part a psychoanalysis of Marnie looking back on his past.
Alfred Hitchcock’s Regrets
Originally, Hitchcock loved from this story (based on Winston Graham’s novel)”the idea of showing fetishistic love“, as he mentions in his conversations with François Truffaut. Mark’s fetish for thieves. However, between his intentions and the final result, everything could not be done as the filmmaker wanted. On several elements, he had real regrets, starting with this representation of fetishism.
Unfortunately, this fetishistic love hasn’t been rendered as well on screen as Jimmy Stewart’s for Kim Novak in Vertigo. To put it bluntly, it would have had to show Sean Connery surprising the thief in front of the safe and wanting to jump on her and rape her.
Hitchcock had also imagined using the procedure of the interior monologue, as for his film Murder (1930). Thanks to this, he would have made the spectator hear Mark’s character wish to catch Marnie in the act, to be able to own it.
I would have gotten a double thriller. We would have always filmed Marnie from Mark’s point of view and we would have shown his satisfaction when he sees the girl committing her theft. (…) Then he would have followed Marnie the thief, would have caught her pretending to have found her trace and he would have seized her by playing the outraged man. But you can’t really represent these things on the screen, because the public would refuse them, they would say: Ah no, not that!
Sean Connery unconvincing, Tippi Hedren harassed
Another problem with No spring for Marniethe obligation for Alfred Hitchcock to make your story stick in a limited time. If François Truffaut felt that the film would have been better balanced if it had lasted three hoursHitchcock had rightly revealed that he had been forced to simplify everything about psychoanalysis. And this is felt, for him, on the secondary characters.
What I really hate about Marnie are the supporting characters. (…) I had the impression that I did not know these people, these characters.
Finally, the casting of the film was not spared. Already Sean Connery, who according to the filmmaker was not not elegant enough to play convincingly”a Philadelphia gentleman“. Concerning Tippi Hedren, the situation is more complicated. Because, originally, Hitchcock had tried to make No spring for Marnie Grace Kelly’s comeback – then Princess of Monaco. But it would seem that the idea of having her play a thief did not greatly appeal to the principality.
The project No spring for Marnie has therefore been paused and Hitchcock got…