Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Girl

(UK, 2012)

Every movie buff knows that Alfred Hitchcock was notorious for treating his “icy blonde” stars badly, and Tippi Hedren worst of all. At some point during the filming of Marnie she was so pissed off at him that she called him a fat pig, and from then on he never spoke to her. He would talk to someone nearby: “Please tell Miss Hedren …”

This is based on a book where she told details she had never revealed before. It is pretty devastating. Some don’t believe it. Kim Novak said he was always the perfect gentleman. But at least some of it is documented, such as when he grabbed her and kissed her violently in the back seat of a car. It was witnessed. And people on the set of that film and the previous one, The Birds, have spoken of the ways he had of beating her down. So I’m afraid most of this is probably true. I see no reason why she would want to tarnish his reputation so badly. Because some of the things shown here are very bad indeed. It’s hard to watch, actually. I have to keep reminding myself of one of my Prime Directives: The artist is not the art. A real bastard can be a great artist, and Hitchcock was. Toby Jones does a good job here. He’s got the voice down perfectly, and the walk, but I thought they should have given him a bigger paunch. Sienna Miller plays Tippi very well.