HBO released a teaser this weekend for its forthcoming film The Girl, which finally takes iconic filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock to task for his sexual harassment of Tippi Hedren, his star of The Birds. Perplexingly, though, the teaser doesn’t even remotely hint at Hitchcock’s abuse.
Hedren, who is played by Sienna Miller in the film, described to the Television Critics Association press tour earlier this month the power imbalance with her former acting coach. As blogger Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress described, Hedren told the audience that she signed onto a seven-year contract with Hitchcock and initially benefited from his tutelage. She starred in his films The Birds and Marnie — but Hitchcock abruptly extinguished her film career when she refused his sexual advances. Given an ultimatum by the director to become his mistress or lose her career, Hedren chose her dignity.
The choice, while courageous, seriously impeded her professional life. Sexual harassment law did not exist; one wonders if Hitchcock’s bosses would even have defended the actress from the lecherous advances she sought to escape. As Hedren told, "Studios were the power. And I was at the end of that, and there was absolutely nothing I could do legally whatsoever. There were no laws about this kind of a situation. If this had happened today, I would be a very rich woman.” Instead she is only speaking about the harassment she endured years after Hitchcock’s death.