It's been a busy few days for the late Alfred Hitchcock, even though the director has been dead for nearly 32 years. Earlier in the week, Hitchcock’s Vertigo displaced Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane from the top of the Sight and Sound Top 10 movies of all time poll. But that high is leading into a crushing new low, courtesy of an iconic Hitchcock leading lady.
Tippi Hedren, who starred in the classic Hitchcock horrors The Birds and Marnie, bad-mouthed the famed director during a panel discussion sponsored by HBO (via TheWrap). Describing Hitch as “sad,” Hedren went on to say:
"We are dealing with a brain here that was an unusual genius, and evil, and deviant, almost to the point of dangerous, because of the effect that he could have on people that were totally unsuspecting."
The panel was being held on behalf of The Girl, director Julian Jarrold’s recounting of the time spent on the set of The Birds, with Sienna Miller playing Hedren and Toby Jones cast as the Master of Suspense. The movie makes all sorts of accusations, claiming Hitchcock forced a kiss on Hedren in the back seat of a car and made work conditions hazardous by forcing her to work with live birds for days on end. Hedren, 82, claims, “He ruined my career but he didn't ruin my life. If this had happened today i would be a very rich woman.”
Miller, for her part, added, “I think it's a very different world for women in film today than it was for women then.”
Hedren choosing to come forward with these claims and accusations now is unseemly, her timing makes it appear as fodder to help promote an HBO production. Hitchcock, of course, isn’t able to defend himself, and while Hedren talks of joyous times they spent on set together, that isn’t what’s going to create headlines. Judge for yourself when HBO airs The Girl later this year.