The Girl

Released 2012



User Score: 49

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The Girl

Movie Summary

Julian Jarrold

The (alleged) story of Alfred Hitchcock and his relationship with his discovery, Tippi Hedren.

  • Television pornography.

    The decadence into which the BBC has fallen is clearly revealed by this TV movie, which purports to depict the relationship between film director Alfred Hitchcock and his discovery, Tippi Hedren, a model whom he turned into an actress for "The Birds", and to whom he gave the title role in his later masterpiece, "Marnie", in 1964. There was a time when the BBC would never have shown such a thing, much less put a great deal of money into it. (The film was co-produced with HBO and made mostly on location in South Africa). The film is not only offensive in its one-sided and unproven claims against a genius - namely, that Hedren was subjected to sexual harassment by Hitchcock throughout their relationship and that he spitefully ruined her career by not letting her act for other people whilst she was under exclusive contract - but also quite absurd in its depiction of professional film-makers at work. It even depicts the famous first shot of "Marnie" as being filmed on a studio soundstage, using special effects technology that did not exist in 1964 (or for some twenty more years), instead of on location, as is quite obvious from the film itself. This film uses as its basis the extremely dubious book "Spellbound By Beauty" by Donald Spoto, which, like his earlier biography of Hitchcock, has been savagely attacked for its inaccuracies by an enormous number of Hitchcock's colleagues. The script by Gwyneth Hughes is said to be based on interviews she did with people who had worked on the two films - but some of the interviewees have come forward to state, in very forceful terms, that their remarks were, in fact, entirely complimentary to Hitchcock and were ignored or distorted by Hughes. The whole thing is a shameful enterprise, thoroughly dirty and unscrupulous, as well as banal and badly-made. The BBC added to their sins by hypocritically showing a lot of fine Hitchcock movies over the holiday period when it was first shown in Britain. Incidentally, Sienna Miller doesn't look at all like the real Tippi Hedren (she looks more like Nina Van Pallandt) and seems far too old for the part, although she was younger playing the role than Hedren was in real life at the time of the story.moreless
Sienna Miller

Sienna Miller

Natalie 'Tippi' Hedren

Toby Jones

Toby Jones

Alfred Hitchcock

Imelda Staunton

Imelda Staunton

Alma Hitchcock

Penelope Wilton

Penelope Wilton

Peggy Robertson

Carl Beukes

Carl Beukes

James H. Brown

Conrad Kemp

Conrad Kemp

Evan Hunter

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • In the scene where the Hitchcocks ask Tippi to play the leading role in "The Birds" whilst lunching in a Hollywood restaurant, there are just the three of them. In reality, there was a fourth diner - Lew Wasserman, the head of Universal Studios.

    • It is clearly implied, during the scene where the phone-booth sequence in "The Birds" is being filmed, that the breaking glass of the phone booth is real glass, which would, of course, have been extremely dangerous to anyone inside. In reality, it was sugar-glass, the use of which was mandatory in film stunts.

    • Alfred Hitchcock is shown using the famous advertising slogan for "The Birds" - "The Birds Is Coming!" - in conversation with Tippi Hedren well in advance of the film's being shot. According to the screenwriter, Evan Hunter, Hitchcock only devised this slogan at the start of 1963, about three months before the film's opening and some time after the finish of shooting.

    • The injuries Tippi Hedren is shown as receiving in reality during the filming of the climactic bird attack sequence of "The Birds" are far more extensive than the ones her character is seen to receive in the film itself. According to Veronica Cartwright, who acted in the film, filming was not held up because of any injuries Hedren may have accidentally received, contrary to claims that it was closed down for a week.

    • The film contains a strong innuendo to the effect that Alfred Hitchcock dyed his thinning hair. He never did.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (5)

    • The American film critic and historian Tony Lee Moral, who has written books about both "The Birds" and "Marnie", giving detailed accounts of the production histories of both, has called for the BBC to withdraw from sale their DVD of this TV movie, claiming that its blatant inaccuracies constitute an insult to a great artist and to his surviving family.

    • In an early scene of this film, the character of Ray Berwick, the bird trainer for "The Birds", refers contemptuously to Alfred Hitchcock as "the old fool". The real Ray Berwick always spoke of Hitchcock with the greatest respect and later worked for him again on "Topaz" (1969).

    • One scene shows Tippi Hedren being screen-tested for "The Birds" by Hitchcock with the help of the actor Martin Balsam. The actual screen test appears on the DVD of the film and has also been made available on YouTube. It is nothing like the test depicted in "The Girl".

    • Rita Riggs, who worked with Edith Head on the costumes for both "The Birds" and "Marnie", and who is depicted as a character in "The Girl", has stated that, although she was interviewed as part of the alleged research for the film, her comments about Sir Alfred Hitchcock, which were without exception admiring, were ignored and that her stipulation that she would not "dish the dirt" about her former employer was disregarded.

    • At the beginning of this film, a caption tells us that the script is based partly on interviews with surviving members of the cast and crew of both "The Birds" and "Marnie". One of the interviewees was James H. Brown, the first assistant director on both films, who died in 2011 soon after being interviewed by Gwyneth Hughes, the scriptwriter. Brown assented to the interview only on the understanding that he would under no circumstances contribute to a negative portrait of Sir Alfred Hitchcock, whom he regarded as a great man as well as a great director. His widow has complained angrily that his entirely complimentary remarks were ignored by Hughes and that the portrait of Hitchcock in the film is a gross distortion and falsification of the truth.


    • Although director Julian Jarrold has made this film as a thorough character assassination of Sir Alfred Hitchcock, he is not above copying shots from famous Hitchcock films at several points during it - most obviousy when we see Tippi Hedren taking a shower, where the composition of the images clearly reminds us of "Psycho".

  • orswel USER EDITOR

    User Score: 49