‘You Freud, me Jane?’

‘If you tell my Momma about me, I’ll kill you.’

‘We don’t talk smart about the Bible in this house, missy.’

‘Why don’t you love me, Momma? I’ve always wondered why you don’t.’

‘… always pulling her skirt down over her knees as if they were some sort of national treasure…!’

Ah, now this is the stuff. This has long been one of my favourite Hitchcock movies, although it never seems to receive as much attention as, say, PSYCHO or THE BIRDS. It’s every bit as good, though.

It’s a sort of psycho-sexual thriller rather than an outright horror (Hitchcock himself went to great lengths to bill it as a sex mystery, no doubt to give it some extra clout at the box-office), and I have great memories of watching it in the middle of the night during Christmases past, the usual time for the screening of old Hitchcock movies on television, both now and then.

I love the story of how Hitchcock’s first choice for the plum role of Marnie, Princess Grace of Monaco, was discouraged from taking the role by her new subjects in the principality of Monaco.

Apparently, they didn’t want their new Princess playing ‘a sexually disturbed thief’ who gets raped into the bargain. Well, I suppose that that wouldn’t have been too good for the old squeaky clean image, haha.

Some people do maintain, though, that Grace Kelly and Cary Grant would have been better choices for the roles of Marnie and her adversary/husband Mark Rutland than Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery. I disagree.

Tippi Hedren was the perfect choice, and she more than justified any faith placed in her. And would Cary Grant have been able to rape his screen bride in the same shockingly decisive way that Sean Connery does it? I don’t know.

I know Cary Grant had his more serious roles- SUSPICION, for one- and I’m not for one moment implying that he was only suited to frothier, lighter, less heavyweight roles, but I just don’t see him as Mark Rutland.

Marnie Edgar is a fascinating character, probably one of Hitchcock’s most complex. Norman Bates in PSYCHO is another prime example of how the great director had a profound understanding of how a person’s childhood can basically f**k them up twelve ways till Sunday, as it were.

Norman, of course, had perfectly acceptable reasons, deeply rooted in his upbringing, for why he grew up into a mother-fixated, sexually deviant transvestite killer. In MARNIE, Hitchcock is delving once more into the end products of a messed-up childhood.

Marnie is probably a slightly more sympathetic character than Norman, though, because she’s stunningly beautiful and doesn’t actually kill anyone…! Let’s go ahead anyway and have a look at the plot of this excellent film.

Marnie is a thief and a compulsive liar and a woman who’s so afraid of men that it’s made her sexually frigid. Long story short, she ends up being unwillingly married to rich, handsome and highly eligible widower Mark Rutland, played by Sean 007 Connery.

Mark is wise to Marnie’s tricks as a kleptomaniacal con-woman with more aliases than Homer Simpson’s fugitive mother Mona in hit animated comedy THE SIMPSONS. Remember Muddy Mae Suggins?

Anyway, Mark is deeply infatuated with the gorgeously blonde Marnie and is endlessly fascinated by her seemingly screwed-up mental condition. I’ve never liked the way he ‘studies’ her as if she’s a butterfly pinned to a bit of card, even when she’s in the midst of the most terrible distress. How about actually helping her there, bud, or is that too radical…?

Fancying himself as something of an armchair psychologist, he’s determined to get to the bottom of Marnie’s terrible fear of men and, incidentally, her seeming over-reaction to the colour red. Some of his methods are highly suspect, to say the least, and could have damaged Marnie irreparably.

Forcing a woman who’s afraid of men to submit to his sexual attentions would probably have disastrous consequences in real life, but this is a film. Maybe he thought a good ride was all she needed to loosen her up a bit. Highly suspect, as I said.

I’ll never forget the time I saw Sean Connery doing a television interview in which he was asked if he ‘minded’ his character in MARNIE having to ‘rape’ the gorgeous blonde Tippi Hedren. Cue a giant cheesy grin and a slow but emphatic shake of his handsome head…! The saucy little devil.

The scenes with Marnie’s mother in Marnie’s childhood home would all make you sympathise solely with poor Marnie. Louise Latham does an excellent job of portraying the messed-up woman whose overwhelming fear of her daughter growing up slutty actually turns said daughter into a psychological ticking time-bomb who can’t bear to be touched by anyone at all, ever. Nice work there, Momma…!

Diane Baker plays the minxy sister-in-law Lil Mainwaring to perfection. What a nosey, spiteful little bitch! She’s just dying of jealousy because Mark loves Marnie and not her.

Clearly she was hoping she’d take her dead sister’s place in Mark’s bed and Mark’s life, not to mention Mark’s chequebook, but it ain’t gonna happen. That being the case, she’s going to stir up as much trouble for Marnie as she can, just as if poor Marnie didn’t already have enough problems to be going on with.

If you’re a horsey person, there’s a lot of equine action in the film for you to oooh-and-aaaah over, plus a very sad animal scene that will probably leave you traumatised for life, haha. Remember Marge and Lisa Simpson in THE SIMPSONS settling down for a girlie afternoon of doing each others’ nails and watching the saddest pony movies Marge could find in their local video store? Great fun altogether…! 

I love all the views of the terraced street on the docks where Marnie’s childhood home in Baltimore is situated. The giant ship looks like a beautiful old painting. Apparently some of Hitch’s crew advised him that the ship looked fake and that they could fix it right up for him, but he refused, and I’m glad he did.

I mentioned earlier that, these days, Hitchcock’s films are only screened on Irish television around midnight at Christmas, after the main evening’s programming has ended.

Before I acquired the DVD, I therefore only usually got to see those iconic closing scenes with the ship in the harbour at around two or three in the morning, through a bleary-eyed fog of exhaustion in which everything on the screen looked surreal. Best way to watch the film really, for me. Happy days.   

I love Hitchcock’s rather mischievous cameo, without which his films wouldn’t be the same, in a deserted hotel corridor. I love all the marvellous early ‘Sixties glamour and Tippi Hedren’s shining blonde hair and perfect voice and face and I love also the similarities to PSYCHO. Both heroines are on the run from their old bosses, after all, with a goodly amount of said boss’s dosh secreted away in a suitcase.

Those poor girls. One of them comes to a bad end. The other might just have a shot at a half-decent life. We’ll have to wait and see if it all pans out for poor dear Marnie, won’t we, dear readers? We’ll just have to wait and see


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.


lodger scarf





This fog-wreathed silent movie has the distinction of being the first real thriller ever directed by a certain Alfred Hitchcock, and the distinction also of being a bloody good film as well.

It already bears some of the future hallmarks of the great man’s directing and, in fact, it’s a jolly polished product for a first-timer. Not many thriller directors could have achieved such perfection on a first try.

Thirty-eight years have elapsed since Jack The Ripper held the city of London to ransom in the infamous ‘Autumn of Terror’ in 1888, and here now we have Alfred Hitchcock presenting us with this spooky tale in which a serial killer of women murders an attractive blonde female every Tuesday, regular as clockwork. Well, it’s good to be regular, lol. There’s a whole branch of the pharmaceutical industry devoted to that very end, after all. (Excuse the pun…!)

This is probably one of the first ever films to make reference to Jack The Ripper or be based on him. The man who savagely slaughtered Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Kelly in the Autumn of Terror in 1888 gave rise to an absolute plethora of books, films, magazine articles and word-of-mouth stories all detailing his horrific crimes for the reading public who, seemingly, couldn’t get enough of him. We could be looking here at one of the first few films based on his infamous career of butchery and hate.

Funny too, that Alfred Hitchcock should begin his illustrious career almost mythologising blondes, when we all know now that he had a big thing for them in his later works. Kim Novak, Tippi Hedren, Eva Marie Saint, Grace Kelly, even Doris Day, all gorgeous glamorous ice-cool blondes to set the pulses racing and the temperatures soaring. Someone had a definite fetish, heh-heh-heh.

Anyway, off we pop now back to London in the ‘Twenties, as fog-wreathed, dark and mysterious a city as it was in Saucy Jack’s time. A bevy of beautiful blondes are being done to death every week by a madman calling himself ‘The Avenger,’ leading blondes to wear dark wigs as a means of protecting themselves from the marauding murdering maniac.

We go now to the Buntings’ house. Ma and Pa Bunting, a traditional middle-aged English couple, have rooms to let. Pa Bunting sits at the kitchen table reading the newspaper in his shirt-sleeves while Ma Bunting cooks up the vittles.

Now meet Daisy Bunting, their ravishing blonde (yes, blonde!) daughter who works as a model or mannequin for a nearby fashion-house. She’s a thoroughly modern Millie, is Daisy, with her ‘golden curls’ cut short in the style of the time and her legs, shown off to perfection, encased in the hose and high-heeled shoes that were all the rage amongst the young women of the day. Long skirts and dresses were out. Showing off yer shapely pins was in, in in…!

She’s a proper little flapper, this one, with her smart little cloche hats hugging her neat little head, and of course she has a suitor. The Boyfriend is a tall strapping capable fellow, a police detective no less, and one who’s investigating the ‘Avenger’ murders to boot.

Daisy and The Boyfriend rub along together just fine, and no doubt the Buntings are thrilled skinny that a chap with such a good pensionable job is taking an interest in their Daisy, an interest which might very easily lead to matrimony. After all, doesn’t The Boyfriend himself remark to the Buntings:

‘As soon as I’ve put a rope around the Avenger’s neck, I’ll put a ring on Daisy’s finger!’

However, along comes the titular ‘Lodger’ to set the cat royally among the pigeons. One dark foggy night, Mrs. Bunting opens the door to a tall dark-haired young gentleman with a scarf wound round his face. He’s come about the room to let. As he’s willing to pay a month in advance, Mrs. Bunting is more than happy at first to accommodate the handsome stranger.

He’s a queer duck though, is this one. For a kick-off, he asks Mrs. Bunting to take away the pictures in his room, which are all of golden-haired young women. Hmmm. Very odd indeed, wouldn’t you say?

He’s certainly a bit of a rum cove and no mistake. When he meets the golden-haired Daisy, however, he demonstrates no such aversion to blonde females. The pair are instantly attracted to each other.

The Lodger, with his air of mystery and his chalk-white face painted to resemble a chorus girl’s, complete with Clara Bow lippie, is utterly enchanted by Daisy, much to The Boyfriend’s disgust.

How dare this poncy fly-by-night swoop down and take Daisy away from him? How dare he buy her an expensive dress from the fashion-house where she models? Such a gesture smacks rudely of an intimacy which disturbs The Boyfriend no end.

The Buntings are none too pleased either, especially when The Lodger’s mysterious nightly comings and goings seem to coincide with the movements of The Avenger, who’s continued to commit his ghastly murders even while we’ve all been caught up in the super-exciting love triangle between Daisy, The Boyfriend and The Lodger.

The Buntings and The Boyfriend all come to the same dreadful conclusion. If The Lodger is The Avenger, who signs his killings with his chosen moniker so we know whodunnit, then isn’t Daisy’s life in the most appalling danger? And hasn’t she this very night gone off into the fog with The Lodger without so much as a by-your-leave to the Buntings or The Boyfriend…?

The scenes near the end, that are not quite the end, resemble the grim finale of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA from 1925. I’ll say no more than that. The foggy gaslit streets of London deserve a credit all their own, and Alfred Hitchcock an even bigger credit for managing to make his debut thriller so marvellously, gothically atmospheric.

There’s a twist in the film- you know Uncle Alfred’s a big fan of a twist in the tale/tail- and to think that he made this film nearly a hundred years ago boggles the mind. I love that something so completely perfect and perfectly complete was made so long ago. It’s a must-see for Hitchcock fans. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

You can contact Sandra at: