I'm getting a little tired of reading on the message board that Tippi Hedren "needed the money." I guess I'm unclear as to how she's cashed in on this story. Did she write the book? The screenplay? She gets a "thanks" in the credits. I have a thanks on a film's credit and I didn't get a cent. If she acted as a consultant, I doubt for a TV movie it would help her wildlife preserve much.
Hitchcock fans know several things: filming "The Birds" was a miserable experience for Hedren; Alfred Hitchcock was a brilliant, complicated man who probably had some sexual hangups; and Alfred Hitchcock had fallen for other leading ladies. However, those leading ladies remained friends with him (Bergman and Kelly) so one wonders if the way he is depicted in this film is correct. If someone tried to ram his tongue down my throat or recited dirty limericks to me or asked me to touch him, I'd have gone running.
The screenplay was criticized by one of the people who worked on the film and was interviewed, so you already know it's sensationalized.
In this version, Hitchcock falls for Tippi Hedren and makes her life a living hell after she rejects him. I have no idea if this happened or not. Toby Jones has again proved his gifts as a mimic - his Hitchcock is perfection, just as his Capote was. Sienna Miller is beautiful and strangely resembles Janet Leigh in this film! She did a good job playing a vapid actress.
The problem with the film is that it's skewed toward Hedren instead of telling a story in a balanced manner. The second problem is that even at 90 minutes it's too long with scene after scene of Tippi sighing over her bad treatment or someone commiserating with her over her bad treatment and scene after scene of Hitchcock staring at her and then plotting another way to torture her.
I had the pleasure of transcribing interviews that Donald Spoto did on his important book on Alfred Hitchcock, The Dark Side of Genius. I can testify that he worked for years on this book and left no stone unturned. I remember one part of the book, where Hitchcock is through with Hedren as an actress, saying, "She did the unimaginable -- she mentioned my WEIGHT." They didn't get along, that's evident. Hitchcock here is presented as a sicko whack job. Were that the case, he wouldn't have had so many people -- so many women -- working with him over and over again, which they did.
I suggest to people that if they want to know the whole story that they read Spoto's two books, Spellbound, about Hitchcock and his leading ladies, and The Dark Side of Genius. He is given to psychobabble but believe me, it's more interesting material than this. And if any of this is in his writing, you can believe it.
We are to believe in this movie that Hitchcock was hurtful and insulting to everyone, that he tortured, threw himself at, and belittled Tippi Hedren to such an extent that she made a second film with him. Yeah, that's what I would have done.
I'm guessing there might be a little more to this story that would possibly not present Ms. Hedren in the best light. I admire her very much for her work on her wildlife preserve, and in interviews, she always comes across as a lovely woman. That doesn't mean she is as shown in this film.
Hitchcock had his demons. Somehow Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, Teresa Wright, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, and Barbara Harris got through it. Granted, they didn't have birds attacking them. They did, however, admire the genius behind the films.