Just watched The Girl, the BBC film which tramples all over film director Alfred Hitchcock’s towering reputation. It found the master of suspense, played by Toby Jones, portrayed as a leering, impotent control freak bullying and sexually harassing his terrified leading lady Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller) during the filming of The Birds and Marnie in the early 1960s.
Was Hitch really the sexual predator shown in this production? Difficult and obsessive I can believe. Mean-minded and petulant over his refusal to release Hedren from her contract, perhaps. Hedren herself has spoken of his manipulative behaviour. But the level of abuse implied in this HBO co-production beggars belief.
The drama, written by Gwyneth Hughes, was supposedly based on claims made by The Birds assistant director Jim Brown who died last year but Brown’s widow has already told British journalists that her late husband admired and respected Hitchcock and regarded him as a genius. She doesn’t believe he would ever have sullied the director’s name with such lurid allegations. So was The Girl an eye-opening drama full of true revelations or just another piece of cheap sensationalism?