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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

‘Marnie’ breaks from the Hitchcock mold


Every fan of older movies is familiar with Alfred Hitchcock. With movies such as "Vertigo," "Rear Window," "North by Northwest" and so many others, Hitchcock proved to be a true master of suspense.

But every filmmaker, no matter how talented, has made a few duds along the way. Stanley Kubrick gave us "Eyes Wide Shut." Steven Spielberg gave us "Always." The Coen Brothers gave us "The Ladykillers." The list goes on.

And Hitchcock gave us "Marnie."

Made in 1964, "Marnie" was Hitchcock's adaptation of a novel by Winston Graham. And it is, behind the performance by Tippi Hedren, supported by Sean Connery (in one of his non-James Bond roles), at best a curiosity. Here's how IMDB describes the film: "Mark (Connery) marries Marnie although she is a habitual thief and has serious psychological problems, and tries to help her confront and resolve them."

Here's what critic Eugene Archer wrote about "Marnie" in the New York Times: "At once a fascinating study of a sexual relationship and the master's most disappointing film in years."

Some critics have revised their opinion of the film over the years. But even more impressive is the fact that the film (and its source novel) inspired an opera, composed by Nico Muhly (libretto by Nicholas Wright). First performed by the English National Opera in 2017, it was then put on by the Metropolitan Opera just last month.

And now you'll have an opportunity to see this operatic version of "Marnie," directed by Michael Mayer and performed by mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard and baritone Christopher Maltman. The three-hour-17-minute opera will screen at 9:55 a.m. on Saturday, then repeat at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday at both Regal Cinemas theaters at Northtown Mall and Coeur d'Alene's Riverstone Stadium.

Alex Ross in The New Yorker calls the production "an absorbing, ambiguous, and haunting entertainment."

Doesn't sound disappointing at all.

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