Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars
It has been more than three decades since the great director Alfred Hitchcock died (April 29, 1980 to be precise). In that time his legend has grown to almost mythic status. Last year the master filmmaker was the subject of not one but two films: HBO’s “The Girl” and the feature film “Hitchcock,” which centered around the director, played by Anthony Hopkins, during the filming of “Psycho.” In 2002 author Tony Lee Moral released a book dealing with the director and his project after “The Birds,” the psychological thriller “Marnie.” This year Mr. Moral released a revised edition of the book and it is among the most in-depth and interesting “behind the scenes” books ever.
After the double-barreled success of “Psycho” and “The Birds,” Hitchcock set his sights on Winston Graham’s upcoming novel, “Marnie.” He envisioned it as a comeback vehicle for Grace Kelly, who had retired a few years earlier after marrying Prince Ranier of Monaco. However, the publicity surrounding Kelly’s comeback, plus the disapproval of the people of Monaco that their Princess would be playing such a character (Marnie is a thief) resulted in Kelly leaving the project.
In the fall of 1961, while watching “The Today Show” on television one morning, Hitchcock spotted a pretty blonde in a commercial for “Sego” and asked to meet with her. That actress was Tippi Hedren, who Hitchcock soon signed to a contract and cast in “The Birds.” Hitchcock often compared Hedren to Kelly in interviews and when Kelly became unavailable he offered the lead in “Marnie” to her. The rest is film history.
“Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Marnie'” is packed with the kind of inside information that film fans love. From the studios’ reservations about casting Sean Connery, who they were only familiar with from his appearances as James Bond to tidbits of Hitchcock’s directing shorthand (to add drama to a moment Hitchcock would tell his actors to give him “Dogs Feet” – – – Pawses (Pauses). It is inside info like this that gives the book life, so much so that you feel you are personally involved in the production.
An entertaining read from start to finish, I highly recommend “Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Marnie'” to any film fan curious in the art of motion picture making.