Marnie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This DVD offered a noticeable improvement over the 2000 release.
Sharpness appeared good within the limitations of the photographic style. Most of the softness looked intentional. Hitchcock used a lot of focus for close-ups, so those often seemed a bit murky. Other shots were consistently crisp and well-defined, though; the softness was only a problem with close-ups.
Jagged edges weren’t an issue, and only a little shimmering occurred. I noticed no signs of edge enhancement. The print itself showed light grain at times but was largely free from other defects. Occasional examples of specks and grit appeared, but these were minor, especially compared to the dirtier 2000 transfer.
Colors appeared muted for the most part but looked generally accurate. I rarely viewed any bright or bold hues, but what I saw seemed acceptable. I think Hitchcock kept the palette subdued to make reds stand out more prominently, and this worked. Some nice yellows and greens emerged as well. Black levels were deep and rich - especially as seen through Connery's dark suits - and shadow detail appeared perfectly fine, with appropriately dense images.
With better definition, stronger colors and fewer print flaws, the 2005 Marine was a significant improvement over the 2000 transfer. While that one earned a “C” for picture, this one merited a “B”, and I flip-flopped between that grade and a “B+”. This was an eminently satisfying image given the restrictions of the source material.
I also thought the film's monaural soundtrack offered improvements over the audio heard on the prior DVD. Despite some awkwardly dubbed lines, dialogue sounded fairly natural and full. The lines remained clear and intelligible at all times. Bernard Herrmann's score appeared crisp and bright, and effects were similarly accurately defined.
When compared to the old DVD, bass seemed better. Low-end wasn’t terrific, but the track showed pretty decent bass when necessary. The track lacked distortion or any form of flaws such as tape hiss or crackling. For a film from 1964, the audio for Marnie sounded good.
As we head to the extras, we open with a terrific documentary called The Trouble With Marnie. This piece runs for 58 minutes and 20 seconds and incorporates the usual melange of contemporary interviews with surviving participants and liberal helpings of film clips and production shots. It also presents a nice selection of script pages and memos as well. In the former category we find cast members “Tippi” Hedren, Diane Baker, and Louise Latham, rejected screenwriters Joseph Stefano and Evan Hunter, final screenwriter Jay Presson Allen, daughter Pat Hitchcock O'Connell, production designer Robert Boyle, makeup artist Howard Smit, unit manager Hilton Green, Hitchcock historian Robin Wood, Bernard Herrman biographer Steven C. Smith, and Hitchcock fan/filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich.
This is a fine piece that succinctly and entertainingly summarizes the production of Marnie. The participants offer a lot of great information and anecdotes, and they all appear candid about the film and are not afraid to criticize it. I found it most valuable to hear from screenwriters Stefano and Hunter, since their work got left behind, but the entire program includes a lot of strong material. Frankly, I enjoyed the documentary more than I liked the film itself.
The Marnie Archives presents a collection of movie posters plus production and publicity stills. Unlike the usual "stillframe" pieces, this one presents the material in a running nine-minute video montage that features Herrmann's score along with the images. It's a nice series of stills that deserves a look.
Marnie's theatrical trailer appears. Like many other Hitchcock previews, this four minute and 45 second clip is quite entertaining and amusing. Hitchcock's ads were always much more clever and witty than others, and this one's no exception. Finally, the DVD includes some decent text production notes that provide a few additional details about the creation of the film. The 2005 DVD drops “Cast and Crew” biographies from the original release.
Marnie offers a mildly provocative experience but doesn't live up to the standards Hitchcock established in prior films. As for the DVD, the picture and sound are quite good, and the small set of extras comes with one terrific documentary.
Note that this version of Marnie originally appeared only as part of the 15-DVD Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection. This massive release also includes Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, Rope, Rear Window, The Trouble With Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, The Birds, Torn Curtain, Psycho, Topaz, Frenzy, Family Plot, and a disc of bonus materials.
However, a separate release of this Marnie DVD hit the shelves on February 7, 2006. This release is clearly worth an upgrade for fans of the flick, as it provides improved picture and sound. I think the Masterpiece Collection is a terrific bargain for what you get, but if you don’t want/need the other DVDs, grab the single-disc Marnie.