Die Screaming, Marianne

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Die Screaming, Marianne
Die Screaming Marianne DVD cover.jpg
Cover of a 2006 DVD release
Directed byPete Walker
Produced byPete Walker
Written byMurray Smith
StarringSusan George
Barry Evans
Chris Sandford
Judy Huxtable
Leo Genn
Music byCyril Ornadel
CinematographyNorman Langley
Edited byTristam Cones
Production
company
Pete Walker Film Productions
Release date
  • 13 August 1971 (1971-08-13)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish

Die Screaming, Marianne (also Die, Beautiful Marianne) is a 1971 British low-budget film by minor cult director Pete Walker.[1][2] Although Walker's films were mostly in the horror or sexploitation genres, this is a straight thriller, with mild horror undertones.[3][4][5]

Plot[edit]

Marianne, a nightclub dancer, is on the run from her father, a retired corrupt judge who lives in a villa in Portugal with Marianne's half-sister Hildegarde. On her 21st birthday, Marianne will receive her mother's inheritance, which is tied up in a Swiss bank account and includes legal papers incriminating her father. The Judge and Hildegarde seek the account number from Marianne so that they can access and dispose of this evidence.

While evading The Judge's henchmen, Marianne encounters Sebastian, who seduces her and persuades her to marry him. On the wedding day, Marianne suddenly suspects Sebastian's motives and sabotages the ceremony by tricking the registry office into thinking that she is really marrying Eli Frome, Sebastian's best man, and putting Eli's name on the marriage certificate instead of Sebastian's. Marianne leaves Sebastian and she and Eli become romantically involved. Sebastian, who is actually Hildegarde's lover, travels to Portugal and informs The Judge of Marianne's marriage to Eli. The Judge promises Sebastian a large amount of money if he can bring Marianne to Portugal.

Eli is abducted by two of The Judge's men but gets away after stabbing one of them in the chest. Sebastian returns and Marianne, wanting to make peace with her father, willingly flies to Portugal with Sebastian and Eli. At the villa, a deadly game of cat-and-mouse ensues as Sebastian and Hildegarde attempt to torture the account number out of Marianne by locking her in an overheated sauna. Not wanting Marianne hurt, The Judge drives away to get help but is killed when he loses control of his car (whose brakes Sebastian has sabotaged) and plunges off a cliff, crashing into the rocks below.

Marianne breaks out of the sauna and evades Sebastian and Hildegarde. Sebastian kills Eli and then, with Hildegarde, lures Marianne to an abandoned nunnery. Marianne fights both of them off and Sebastian, giving chase, is seriously injured when he falls through a weakened floor into an old cellar. Leaving Sebastian to die, Hildegarde returns to the villa only to be strangled by Rodriguez, The Judge's loyal manservant. Rodriguez and a tearful Marianne wait for the police to arrive.

Cast[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Andrew Dowler of the Toronto Now writes that Die Screaming, Marianne begins well but "founders in an exposition quagmire until the not-particularly-shocking climax".[6] Gary A. Smith sums up the film as a "fairly cheesy affair" despite "some effective sequences".[7]

Ian Jane of DVD Talk praises Susan George's performance and regards the film as a well-paced "decent little thriller, even if there are a few too many loose ends for its own good".[8] Troy Howarth praises the film's dark humour and describes some of its set pieces as "marvellous" but concludes that it "ultimately strains under the weight of its own excess" and ends up being "less than the sum of its parts". He regards the film as exposition-heavy and over-long, arguing that it "suffers from Walker's tendency toward over-stuffing his movies with incident".[9]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "DIE SCREAMING MARIANNE - British Board of Film Classification".
  2. ^ "Die Screaming Marianne | BFI | BFI". Explore.bfi.org.uk. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Die Screaming, Marianne Review". Movies.tvguide.com. Retrieved 4 March 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Die Screaming, Marianne (1970) - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  5. ^ Becker, Tom (28 December 2012). "DVD Verdict Review - The Pete Walker Collection (Blu-ray)". DVD Verdict. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Dowler, Andrew (30 January 2014). "House of Whipcord, The Comeback and Die Screaming, Marianne". nowtoronto.com. Retrieved 3 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Smith, Gary A. (2015). Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976. McFarland & Company. p. 79. ISBN 9781476605302.
  8. ^ Jane, Ian (13 June 2006). "Die Screaming, Marianne". DVD Talk. Archived from the original on 14 January 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Howarth, Troy (2019). So Deadly, So Perverse: Giallo-Style Films From Around the World. So Deadly, So Perverse. 3. Baltimore, Maryland: Midnight Marquee Press. ISBN 9781644300572.