‘Die Screaming, Marianne’ is a difficult film to categorise in many ways but, at heart, it’s a good old fashioned Victorian melodrama, albeit one with mod accoutrements and a heroine who works as a go go dancer.
Susan George plays Marianne ‘Hips’ MacDonald, a troubled dollybird on the run from secrets and a weird family set up (Mum is dead; half-sister hates her; Father likes his daughters a little too much). Poor Marianne believes the only thing she has going for her is her lithe body and, as a result, she freely donates it to interested parties on a regular basis. When things become complicated, she moves on, packing her pathetic little bag, slipping on her Dr, Scholl’s and moving on like a pouting, bra-less Littlest Hobo. To be honest, to use the parlance of the period, she's a bit of a drag, man.
Her main issue is that she has the account number of a Swiss safety deposit box in which her late mother stored a number of incriminating documents about her father and, Dad, a defrocked (or whatever) Judge wants them back. Her half-sister, Hildegard (played by super skinny Judy Huxtable, soon to become Mrs. Peter Cook) just wants Maz dead, especially as she is due to inherit a lot of money on her imminent 21st birthday, money that will go to Hildegard if little Marianne is out of the way.
The film bobs along nicely for a while but, in the end, becomes a bit frenzied and confusing, albeit in an extremely languid way. I have heard that the shoot was complicated by bad behaviour from the young leads and this led to beleagured director Peter Walker having to rip several pages out of the script just to keep to schedule. That’s a shame, because although I enjoy random stabbings, car crashes, people (well, Chris Sandford, an actor I find detestable) falling down a hole and being left to die and, in particular, attempted murder by super hot sauna, ‘Die Screaming…’ never lives up to the promise of its credit sequence where Marianne, clad only in a spangly bikini and a few chains, frugs like a funky puppet to Cyril Ordanel’s groovy theme tune. If it did, we might have had something halfway decent, but it doesn't, and that's all there is it to it, I'm afraid.