Creepy stuff offscreen as Hitchcock had eye for the birds

Sienna Miller may have portrayed a perfect parallel to Tippi Hedren with her luminous blonde hair and piercing blue eyes; but past the looks the main concern of Miller was to uncover the truth about Hedren’s cruel sexual harassment at the hands of one of the greatest directors of all time – Alfred Hitchcock.

Hitchcock, who died in 1980, was the “master of suspense”. He directed some of the greatest thrillers including Psycho, Rear Window and Vertigo.

Most of his films are renowned for including a ‘‘Hitchock blonde’’. But until now no one really investigated Hitchcock’s uncompromising and rigid desire of using blondes in his movies.

The new BBC drama The Girl gives an insight into how Hitchcock (Toby Jones) began stalking Hedren and his ‘‘obsession’’ with her.

Hitchcock discovered Hedren on a television commercial and demanded his team “find me the girl”. She would be given the lead role in the classic The Birds (1963).

The drama chronicles their relationship from the start of his obsession, his tyrannic and sadistic behaviour and his ultimate desire to sexually possess her.

Hedren has only recently been fairly open about her experiences but The Girl gives more detail. Hitchcock frequently makes sexual comments, chooses her wardrobe and, at the peak of his obsession during the filming of Marnie (1964), he attempts to blackmail her into sleeping with him.

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Toby Jones gave an equally outstanding performance, completely mastering Hitchcock’s cockney accent and iconic look.

Although The Girl shows Hitchcock as a bullying, borderline sadist and impotent deviant this should not in any way taint the quality of his work. He was a truly gifted director who was always pushing the boundaries of cinema and his films will remain timeless classics.

But what The Girl displays is that even someone with as much success and achievement as Hitchcock, can be tragically faltered and emotionally corrupt.

The Girl will be aired later this year.

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