“The Girl” and the Hitchcockian Horrors of Sexual Harassment

“Mr. Hitchcock requests your company in his hotel room over dinner.”.

HBO’s original film “The Girl” has premiered, and has garnered mixed reviews from critics, in part because they recoil from the film’s disturbing portrait of iconic director Alfred Hitchcock, played here by the great Toby Jones, who is almost as uncanny evoking Hitch as he was reincarnating Truman Capote in “Infamous.”  It tells the well-documented story of how Hitchcock chose newcomer Tippi Hedren as his latest blonde obsession (placing her in line behind Grace Kelly, Kim Novak, Ingrid Bergman, Janet Leigh and others) and then relentlessly pursued a sexual relationship with the actress during the filming of “The Birds” and “Marnie.” Hedren, not surprisingly, found him about as alluring a potential sex partner as Hermione would regard Dobby the house elf. Less so, probably. Unlike so many actresses subjected to that kind of extortion as their final obstacle to stardom, however, Hedren refused to submit.

The movie is the most powerful and harrowing, portrayal of sexual harassment I have ever seen, and whatever its fate as a dramatic work, “The Girl” has a future, if anyone’s paying attention, in workplace training sessions. Continue reading