Alfred Hitchcock has a soft spot for blondes. Tippi Hedren was a blonde. HBO’s The Girl explores their onscreen and off-screen relationship. Here we find Hitchcock at the height of his directorial power and Hedren without any power at all as she starts her acting career.
The Girl is the story of an obsessed older man and a repulsed younger woman. When Tippi spurns Alfie’s advances, he gets his revenge by forcing her to spend days shooting dangerous scenes with live birds. He later makes her strip for the camera. Since this all happened fifty years ago, everyone on the set advises Tippi to just close her eyes and think of England. But Tippi refuses to let Hitchcock have his way with her.
I’m not a huge fan of Hitchcock’s, but I have seen Rear Window and The Birds as well as a few others. I have to admit that I have somehow missed Marnie, which along with The Birds, starred Tippi Hedren. We mostly watch Hitch and Tippi making the Birds and witness Hitch’s clumsy advances and constant recital of crude limericks. His wife Alma makes a few appearances, and she was the one that suggested Tippi to Alfred in the first place. It seems that Alfred isn’t all that interested in sex, he’s more into simple domination. At one point Hitchcock tells Tippi that he only did these things to make a better film. Tippi soon has enough and would rather quit acting than go on working with Hitchcock.
Since Alfred Hitchcock has been dead for over twenty years, he is in no position to confirm or deny this portrayal of him as a closet sadist and all around nasty fellow. Most of the assaults take place when Hitchcock and Hedren are alone, which conveniently leaves no witnesses. Even after months of pushing him away, she still finds herself sharing drinks with Hitchcock or off in some dark corner with him away from the countless hordes working on the film.
In the end it’s a psychological attack where Hitchcock creates his ideal actress and nearly destroys his ideal woman. A young actress willing to do anything to keep her job and a film director that’s a control freak? This is news? The Girl was an interesting movie and I liked it, but I’m not exactly sure how close to the truth it was.