Die Screaming Marianne Film Details
Overview: After their parents divorce, one daughter lives with her mother in England while the other lives with her father in Portugal. After the untimely death of her mother, the one daughter stands…
Tagline: Death bars the gate to her 21st birthday.
Review: It’s hard not to have a soft spot for Pete Walker. He was an impresario of British sleaze, genuinely making sexploitation and low budget horror films, and gleefully mixing the two. “Die Screaming Marianne” is an outlier in his filmography. Despite the title, it’s not a horror film, and there’s no sex or nudity. It’s more like a crime thriller, and Walker was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a thriller director. The titular Marianne is played by the ravishing Susan George, an actress so effortlessly sexy you don’t even mind that she doesn’t get naked, even in a subpar film like this. She is also probably the best actress Walker ever worked with. Marianne’s mother died when she was a tried and inexplicably bequeathed to her a large sum of money and proof that her father, a crooked judge, is a crooked judge. Her older sister in after her for her money, and her father wants the proof – though what it could be I can only guess. Marianne escapes from her creepy family and goes on the run. She has a truly chance meeting with an utterly uncharismatic, birdlike ’70s hairdo sporting creep, who almost runs over her in his convertible. After a few harsh words, she decides to come with him, and a few scenes later, they are married. The creep has an undue interest in the certificate that says they are really married, hinting that he is obviously involved with Marianne’s sinister family, and yet when he looks at the certificate, he finds she has instead been married off to the much more preposessing Eli, played by Barry Evans, an actor best known for failing to snatch the sexploitation actor crown from Robin Askwith. If you aren’t yet getting the feeling that the movie’s plot was made up on the spot, consider this: if the creep was in on the conspiracy from the beginning, why was his original meeting with Marianne so obviously by chance? They could have at least made it look somewhat staged. He couldn’t have possibly met her that way on purpose, and yet the movie later seems to think he did. Eli is a much better fit than the creepy ’70s throwback fossil, and he and Marianne seem to get along, but pretty soon two large men pose as police officers and pluck him off the street and take him to a dingy back room that looks like part of an adult book store. They sit him down, offer him a cigarette, and one leaves while the other leisurely appears to consider different murder weapons. He takes a gun and screws and unscrews a silencer, and then wraps a length of cord around his hands the way murderers do. Seeing this, and given a fantastic opportunity to escape, Eli does so. He does, admittedly, have to fight off one of the guys on the way out, with a little pocket knife. Remember what I said about the movie feeling made up along the way? If those two men were going to kill Eli, why did they take him into the room before they had even decided what weapon they were going to use? If they had a gun and a silencer, why would they even consider a length of cord? Eventually, Marianne and Eli decide to go back to her family in Portugal. Why isn’t really explained, but Susan George is such a great actress you can actually believe this decision, which, truth be told, is probably another example of idiotic plotting on behalf of the screenwriter. Scenes in the movie often seem to end out of nowhere. There is a scene where the judge talks to a man, and the man suddenly makes choking noises and slides out of the frame. Scene over. I guess he died. Was he killed? By who? The judge? They didn’t even seem to touch each other. The ending also comes out of nowhere, but it actually manages to be sad, mostly due to the amazing presence that is Susan George, and the fact that she and Barry Evans (RIP) had real chemistry. Come to think of it, all the actors in “Die Screaming Marianne” are better than the flimsy material deserved. Their presence, together with the ridiculousness of the movie’s plot, staging and editing, kept me watching, and kept me entertained.
Country: UK, Portugal
Duration: 101 min
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
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