Tippi Hedren: The Birds-Marnie-Hitchcock-Activism

Mark trying to kiss Marnie on the bed

Mark trying to kiss Marnie on the bed

I watched Marnie again on Saturday, exceeding more than 100 times. It inspired me to pull out this post I starting writing just after I saw the made for TV film The Girl, about the relationship between Tippi Hedren and Alfred Hitchcock during the making of the films The Birds and Marnie. A superb depiction of Hitchcock as “a beast” and the torture Tippi Hedren had to endure. My next piece on films will my interpretation of The Girl and Alfred Hitchcock, himself, whom I watched through all the years with great admiration. After what I know now, my evaluation of Alfred Hitchcock outside of his directorial accomplishments has greatly changed.

Read on and discover Tippi Hedren and if you have never seen the films she made with Hitchcock, I would highly recommend that you either find them on DVD or Blu-Ray or find a site that streams them. They are both fantastic films that will grab a hold of your attention until the last reel finishes rolling.

A response to a comment made on my post: Alfred Hitchcock: Man or Beast.  [Watch For This Post On Expats In Very Near Future along with further posts connected to Tippi Hedren &/or Alfred Hitchcock – plus other Films & Reviews].

Mr. Hitchcock had an obsession with Tippi Hedren and pursued her endlessly and she rebuffed him. He retaliated by the cruelty he showed in his treatment of her during the shooting of the the film The Birds and Marnie. In The Birds, he taped over and over the birds attacking her in the scene in the phone booth, where he even has a fake bird come crashing through the phone booth’s glass walls, purposefully to terrorize.

Tippi Hedren Phone Booth in "The Birds"

Tippi Hedren Phone Booth in The Birds

Her nerves were shot already. This just caused her to be further traumatized. Then to add to this, the scene where Tippi’s character is caught up against the door of a room in the house which the birds have surrounded, he has this scene shot over and over for hours as the birds literally attack her, causing her injuries and to bleed. He refused to yell “cut.”

2 tippihedrenthebirds

During the filming of Marnie, all along still pursuing her sexually and feeling romantically toward her, even through her many rejections, he kept pushing himself on her and threatening her. When she told him she was going to quit, his verbal response was to tell her he will ruin her in the film industry. His directorial response was to use his power to traumatize her during several of the sexually questionable scenes.

Her character in Marnie witnesses something extremely traumatizing when she is a child but it is buried. A direct outcome from the blanked out memories is for Marnie to become a kleptomaniac and she hates the touch of any man. Sean Connery plays the male lead, Mark Rutland, who finds her character out and convinces her it would be in her best interest for her if she marry him.

Marnie and Mark at the Racetrack

Marnie and Mark at the Racetrack

Of course, his unconsummated marriage and his patience eventually lead to a scene where he cannot hold back any longer from wanting to be sexual with his wife.

Tippi Hedren in Marnie, She is in a state of trauma

Tippi Hedren in Marnie, She is in a state of trauma

This scene Hitchcock plays to the creep in himself and the scene ends up appearing real, if it is not so, that Sean Connery’s character, Mark, drops her robe to the floor, in one motion, and she is naked before him. He then forces himself on her. Which then leads to the next morning, an empty bed beside him. He rushes to the upper decks to find Marnie floating in the ship’s pool face down.

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The sex scene is created in such a way that leads you to see Hitchcock as a voyeuristic creep who relishes every moment that Tippi Hedren is suffering while doing the scene. Added to the scene is that Hitchcock takes his time before he says “cut.” Once again, long after it should have been said.

Marnie and Mark at dinner party

Marnie and Mark at dinner party

This makes me so angry that he treated Tippi in such a manner. In another instance, he throws himself on her while they are in the limo just before the premiere of The Birds. It was quite clear from the start that Tippi Hedren was not interested in Hitchcock in this manner and he kept forcing himself on her and everyone could see it happening including his wife, but would do nothing to stop him. He was too powerful.

Marnie changing hair color

Marnie changing hair color

I am a fan of Tippi Hedren’s for her portrait of the character of Marnie. I felt a connection with her from the first time I watched this film as a kid. It always captures me. It is a traumatic experience, but a release and satisfaction comes from the ending.

Tippi Hedren in film "Roar" with large attack cat

Tippi Hedren in film Roar with large attack cat

I, also, respect Ms. Hedren for her work with animals, wild and tame. This furthers my respect for her, her advocacy for the humane treatment of animals, my strongest of causes. I have loved animals for my entire life and could not live without them as companions and in their existence on Earth in the wild preferred but, also, in man made habitats that are humanely structured.

Melanie Griffith with her mom Tippi Hedren

Melanie Griffith with her mom Tippi Hedren

Her daughter Melanie Griffith stated of the film “Hitchcock,” that she hoped they portrayed him accurately, as the motherf@cker that he was.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie with Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery

You see why he has lost a great deal of any honour or good feelings that I had for him. He was well known for not having respect for actors and also known for his casting of blonds. I told my partner while watching The Girl that he better not have treated Julie Andrews like that when they made Torn Curtain.

10 hitchcock-with-tippi-marnieAlfred Hitchcock with Tippi Hedren in front of safe used in Marnie

If he tried I am sure that Paul Newman would have punched him out. Paul Newman said of Julie: “That she is the last of the great broads.” Not offensive in the manner to which I am sure he meant it.

What follows are more trailers & photographs from her film Marnie. Also, there are more photographs from The Birds. I felt for Marnie, Tippi Hedren should have been honoured by the Academy with no less than an Oscar Nomination for her brilliant portrayal of the character of Marnie. She was, also, brilliant as Melanie Daniels in The Birds.

"Marnie" Mark kissing Marnie during a storm

Marnie Mark kissing Marnie during a storm

Tippi Hedren gave an excellent performance as Marnie, a character I have watched over and over again. My film collection would, of course, have Marnie amongst all the other remarkable films made over the years. I am an obsessive cinephile who appreciates films from any era or language.

Marnie — Trailer

Tippi Hedren talks about the kiss scene from Marnie

"The Birds" Rod Taylor looking from some birds and meets Melanie Taylor played by Tippi Hedren

The Birds Rod Taylor looking for some love birds at the pet shop, meets Melanie Daniels played by Tippi Hedren

"The Birds" Rod Taylor  Jessica Tandy & Tippi Hedren

The Birds Rod Taylor Jessica Tandy & Tippi Hedren quietly trying to find an escape from the nightmare

Her next film after The Birds was the title role in Hitchcock’s masterpiece Marnie (1964) with Sean Connery, where she gave the performance of her life.

Tippi Hedren in "The Birds" at Pet Shop

Tippi Hedren in The Birds at pet shop

Though it took years before she won well-deserved admiration for her work, the film Marnie is now widely considered a classic. The professional relationship with Hitchcock ended with mutual bitterness and disappointment during the filming of Marnie.

"Marnie" Tippi Hedren in scene where there has been a tragic accident

Marnie Tippi Hedren in scene where there has been a tragic accident

Hedren on relationship with Hitchcock

Her performance as Melanie Daniels in The Birds (1963) is ranked #86 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.

Tippi Hedren found it touching when Sean Connery, her leading man from Marnie (1964), said on television that she was underrated while almost everyone in Hollywood was overrated.

Of all her films, Marnie (1964) continues to be her favorite film, because of the complex title character.


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Tippi Hedren: The Birds-Marnie-Hitchcock-Activism, 10.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

About the Author:

Words. Ideas. Visions. Sounds. Abstractions. Attract the Writer. Poet. Artist Inside of Me. Seeking Out the Unknown & Infinite Possibilities & Impossibilities. Living My Life Filled with Imagination & Creativity. Zen – j.kiley
  • Cher Duncombe

    Jennifer, this was interesting, intriguing and insightful. The back-story makes the watching of this film again a necessity. Your research gives us a lot to ponder and Tippi Hedren’s real-life drama probably exceeds her film persona.

    I love old films. There was a Sunday program when I was a teenager that was called Sunday Afternoon Matinée. The host was Harold V. Cohen and he gave insights, much as you have, during breaks. That made watching all the more interesting. I am pretty sure he was local to Pittsburgh but I never missed those Sunday afternoon showings. Now here you are, exploring classic films with an intensity not even Harold V. Cohen gave. This was extremely enjoyable, and I’m certain these Hitchcock films will now be on my streaming list. Great, great, article!

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  • Cher, Thank you so much for reading my piece on Tippi Hedren. If it weren’t for Hitchcock, who knows what other brilliant performances & roles Ms. Hedren would have given to us to enjoy. Her brilliance & depth of emotions & sensitivity shine in “Marnie” and in “The Birds.” You can believe she is in a fight for her life in “The Birds” and is terrified and wants to be loved in “Marnie” but doesn’t know how, nor has any understanding why she is the way she is inside.

    Both these films are compelling in different ways. Both characters, Melanie Daniels and Marnie Taylor, are so completely different. Different backgrounds economically, but both without the love and cherishing anyone needs in life, they are both sorely lacking. One came from wealth and was lost, one felt wealth was the answer and she couldn’t be found, even by herself. Neither understood who they were, not really.

    I love your Sunday Afternoon Matinée, where someone shares special treats about the film, the stars, the background of what happened while making the film. Sometimes, those stories can outshine what is occurring on screen, but more so, they do add spice and insight, enough so you see a deepness that wasn’t there before. It makes it more personal. Like you know a secret no one shared before now. I, also, enjoy that kind of inside dimension.

    I do hope you see Marnie and The Birds again, especially Marnie. I am hooked on this role & Tippi Hedren’s portrayal. After knowing what I have written, it also added more intensity to the film.

    Have you ever felt such a familiarity with something creative, a film, a book, a song, or a painting. There is something special about it, that just listening, watching, reading, or looking at it makes you feel like you slip into the inside of it. It gives you a comfortable feeling. Even though Marnie is a disturbing film in its excellence, for me it is like I feel apart of it. Every moment carries a depth, an edge, something is about to happen. Marnie does this to me. I feel like it is part of my life. Other creative art, and Marnie is very much film art, cause this reaction in me, also.

    I just want to tell you a special thank you Cher, for being such a positive influence. You get what I do. And you encourage me with your words to keep growing. Thank you. 🙂 Jk

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  • I’ve always knows that Hitchcock as a monster and this made me watch more of his films as the mood always unsettling. The downside of genius is sometimes perversion.

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  • I totally agree with your comment Baxter. Thank you for reading my film review and drawing my attention to what you saw in Hitchcock long before it ever occurred to me he had such traits inside of him of perversion & forcing himself on an actress that obviously rejected his unwanted lusting for her. I had heard statements made that Hitchcock treated his actors like cattle but the sexual perversity never surfaced or I just didn’t want to notice.

    His subject matter was always just a shade off but that was what brought out the voyeur in the audience. It was like looking through that hole in the wall Hitchcock himself did. But we were free to sit in a theatre or our own living rooms and watch what he created in an open setting. It fascinated & sometimes freaked us out. It goes beyond looking at something tragic. It use to be an automobile accident but with techno gadgets & cameras everywhere we now get to see some of the most perverse images in live action repeated incessantly everywhere, to be observed at our convenience.

    I would love to discuss the last line of your comment: “The downside of genius is sometimes perversion.” It is a curious statement. An interesting topic to discuss.

    Thank you Baxter. You have planted a puzzle in my mind, I will have to think about more closely.

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  • Jennifer I should also add that if not for the films he created, he would not have anything ‘good’ to channel his darkness. I think the ‘greatness’ of the mind is like a spectrum. It has all shades. It has intensity for animalistic passion. The word here is ‘capable.’ I am glad you’re able to see where I was coming from 🙂

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  • An intriguing point of view, a way of sublimating your propensity to act out internal behaviors through art rather then in one’s treatment of others, animal and human. Is the genius artist filled to overflowing with a higher need for an outlet or rather b/c of the artistic outlet, does not act out quite so much in the rest of their life? In the case of Alfred Hitchcock, a la Poe, he was brave enough to express a side of life that was just left of sideways, the non-acceptable world in real life but on the screen, more can be expressed.

    I agree with this theory. When we write, what we express finds a means of being heard. If it is of a nature most would not want to admit to feeling or does not acknowledge this in their nature, finds an outlet to work it out in a mostly acceptable creative artistic form. In the writing or painting etc, the artist finds an outlet.

    On the other side, those who see the films or images, also, who read the books, those who express alternative expressions that most who do not admit to, are able to view the art in the books or films, who are the go-between, that enables society to release their propensities through the artist’s expressions.

    It is the rest with whom we need to worry.

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