Monday, May 8, 2017

TODAY'S NUGGET: Marnie (1964) - Conned by a Pretty Girl

[Quick Summary: Thief, liar, and embezzler Marnie is caught in a criminal act by wealthy Mark, who falls for her and tries to unravel her frozen emotional past.]

Two Thoughts:

1) PROTAGONIST-ANTAGONIST SWITCHEROO

I want to complain today.* I am irritated.

This is Marnie's story. It is about HER fear of men, desire, and intimacy.

So why does it feel like the protagonist (Marnie) switch to the antagonist in the second half? And antagonist (Mark) becomes the protagonist?

After a little cooling off, I did see that this is a tough adaption.

It is not easy making this character's internal life apparent in the external world.

Marnie is so self-protective, so self-absorbed in her own pain that she doesn't pay much attention to anyone, much less men.   

She has no real motivation to break out of that cocoon...so Mark has to do it.

Though I don't like it, I can see why the writer did it this way.

2) CONNED BY A PRETTY GIRL: Establishing her M.O.

Marnie is pretty, which is why she gets jobs that she is not qualified to have.

In the amusing scene below, we see how she used her looks to con one male owner:

ex. "MED. SHOT - STRUTT AND DETECTIVES

STRUTT (fairly screaming): No damn it! That's Miss Croft! I told you people over the phone! Marion Holland! She's the one! Marion Holland!

One DETECTIVE takes a notebook out as his partner crosses the foreground toward the safe.

DETECTIVE: Can you describe her, Mr. Strutt?

STRUTT: Certainly I can describe her! (his little eyes narrow in bittersweet memory) Five foot five. One hundred and ten pounds. Size eight dress. Blue eyes. Black hair...wavy. Even features. Good teeth...

As he writes the DETECTIVE begins to grin.

STRUTT: What's so damn funny? There's been a grand larceny committed on these premises!

DETECTIVE (straightens his face): Yes sir. You were saying... (reads from notes) 'Black hair, wavy...even features, good teeth...' She was in your employ four months? .... What were her references, Sir?

There is a pause during which the CAMERA MOVES gently forward to include a

CLOSE-UP OF STRUTT ONLY

STRUTT (this one really hurts): Well...as a matter of fact...her...uh...yes, I believe...(lamely)...she had references, I'm sure.

CLOSE-UP - MISS CROFT

MISS CROFT (blandly): Oh, Mr. Strutt, don't you remember? She didn't have any references at all!

CLOSE SHOT - STRUTT AND THE DETECTIVES

STRUTT stiffens with indignation at this betrayal. The DETECTIVES remain tactfully deadpan.

STRUTT (clears his throat): Well...uh...she worked the copying and adding machines...no confidential duties, you know.

He looks off suddenly."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Sometimes solutions are downright inelegant and clunky.

On the other hand, it was elegant to expose Strutt's embarrassing mishaps and showcase Marnie's clever con....

Marnie (1964)(shooting draft, 10/29/63)by Jay Presson Allen
From the novel by Winston Graham

*My first complaint: This script is LONG (201 pgs.)

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