Pat McDonald on “Hitchcock” and “The Girl”

Anthony Hopkins stars in Sacha Gervasi’s “Hitchcock.” Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

When Tippi Hedren attended a recent TCM-sponsored screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 masterwork, “The Birds,” at the Music Box Theatre, I was surprised by just how candidly she opened up about her troubled, complicated relationship with the Master of Suspense. As detailed in her interviews with film scholar Donald Spoto, Hedren told the Chicago audience how Hitch had become obsessed with her and how he was willing to block her opportunities in show business if she refused to comply with his desires. When I asked Hedren about her relationship with Hitchcock’s devoted, oft-enigmatic wife, Alma, the actress recounted a chilling story that was later depicted in Julian Jarrold’s “The Girl” (broadcast on HBO). Alma approached Hedren and said, “I’m so sorry you have to go through this,” thus indicating that she was well aware of the off-screen harassment but was powerless (or merely unwilling) to stop it.

Sacha Gervasi’s “Hitchcock,” which opened in theaters this Thanksgiving, presents a much more softened and sentimentalized version of the Master and his wife, and functions as a more breezily entertaining (yet equally shallow) portrait of the towering genius. Film critic Pat McDonald, my fellow colleague at HollywoodChicago.com, joins me on this podcast for an in-depth dissection of the two Hitchcock biopics, as well as our own thoughts regarding the legendary director’s timeless work.

The program was produced at Columbia College Chicago. Technical producer was Rebecca Nystedt. An Indie Outlook production.

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