Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Details of Alfred Hitchcock's Obsession "Exposed"

Alfred Hitchcock -- like many Hollywood directors who worked with beautiful women -- tended to become infatuated with his leading ladies. It seems he fell especially hard for 'Tippi' Hedren, with whom he worked on The Birds and Marnie. As time went by, his crush morphed into an out-and-out obsession -- one that Hedren finally put a stop to once and for all.

Details of that final confrontation have been kept secret, leading to much speculation among Hitchcock aficionados. A new book by Donald Spoto, Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and his Leading Ladies, finally reveals what actually happened. I don't yet have a copy, but a recent article in the London Daily Express gives out a few tantalizing morsels. (It's available in the U.K., but not yet the U.S.; reportedly there will be two different versions -- one for British readers and another for Americans).

Describing a scene that has until now remained known only two those who were present, Hedren said, “[Hitchcock] stared at me and simply said, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, that from this time on, he expected me to make myself sexually available and accessible to him – however and whenever and wherever he wanted.... That was the moment, after almost three years of trying to cope, when I finally had enough – that was the limit, that was the end.”

If you read Spoto, you'd think Hedren was the director's Waterloo. Says Spoto, “Considering the films he made and the leading ladies who came after Tippi, it is clear he lost all interest in his women, his actors, his stories – indeed, in movies.”

While the lurid details of Hitch's fumbling advances on this young actresss are intriguing 44 years after the fact, I find it hard to buy Spoto's summation of the effect her rebuff had on his art. I'll check back in tomorrow and tell you why.

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The Nerdy Bird said...

Yikes! So creepy.

Speaking of Tippi, have you seen this yet? I love it!

Joel Gunz said...

Ha! A friend just sent this to me the other day. Don't tell anyone, but I want to do a Barbie version of The Birds. This should make it easier!