A few nights ago I decided to watch HBO’s “The Girl” on demand. (This is not to be confused with HBO’s “Girls” although that would be easy to do.) I don’t write about movies often; I feel so much more at home with books. So be nice.
“The Girl” is the story of the Tippi Hedren / Hitchcock years. I am by no means a Hitchcock-buff, but the summary is that Hedren began as a model that Hitchcock spotted in a commercial and decided to make into a star through his films “The Birds” and “Marnie”. He became completely obsessed with her, and upon her repeated and certain rebuffs to his advances, he ruined her career.
The movie illustrates a twisted back and forth where Hitchcock punishes Hedren in peculiar way for resisting him. The most egregious of abuses and distrubing of scenes was in filming “The Birds” Hitchcock told Hedren she would be attacked by mechanical birds in close quarters, when in reality, she was subjected to five days of shooting with real birds, take after take, cut and scrape after nip and scratch.
But she never gave in. And she made two films with him – “The Birds” and “Marnie” and he refused to let her out of her contract. She wouldn’t work with him, and she contractually couldn’t work with anyone else, but she never gave in.
There is a “Chat” with the real Tippi Hedren and the cast of the movie available on HBO. Tippi wraps it up with a line that defined her resistance to a powerful Hollywood man and remains true in a world where it still requires great and certain effort to strive for the highroad and moral grounding because some things in the world never change.
“There’s a very, very good message in “The Girl” – can you really look at yourself in the mirror and be proud? That’s what you want to do. Always.”
You go, Tippi. You go girl.