Marnie has always been controversial, seen by some critics as crude, by others as profound. The recent TV movie The Girl stirs things up further through its sensationalised account of Hitchcock’s relationship with its star: he forces his attentions on Hedren rather as Mark Rutland forces himself on his reluctant new bride.
Hitchcock’s own cameo appearance early in Marnie is especially artful, aligning him precisely with the position both of spectator and of Mark as they look at the figure of the fascinating woman: he certainly knew all about the politics of gender and the male gaze, and the potential of cinema to play out the fantasies of both creator and audience.
Whatever ‘really happened’, The Girl can only ever be a footnote to Marnie, and to that profound dimension of Hitchcock’s work as it exists on screen.
This event is part of The Genius of Alfred Hitchcock: Part Four, the final part of our complete retrospective of Hitchcock’s 52 surviving films (March 2nd – 31st).