Alfred Hitchcock in the 50s
The Master of Suspense
Alfred Hitchcock was born in England 1899, he had two siblings and lived a sheltered life, that was not entirely happy. In the early part of the 20th century obesity was not the norm, and young Alfred did not fit in with his trim peers. Sometime in 1919 Hitchcock began to write short stories that were published in a British newspaper. His stories were popular and contained Hitchcock's unique flavor of suspense, murder and comedy. Hitch quickly graduated to making silent movies in the early 20s and met his wife, Alma Reville,around this same time. His first "talkie" was titled Blackmail, and featured his first cameo appearance. It was released in 1929 and featured the exquisite blond, Anny Ondra. The first of Hitchcocks glorious blonds.
Ever since he produced his first talkie, Alfred Hitchcock was rapidly gaining popularity and audiences were delighting in trying to spot him in his cameo appearances and out guess his wit.
Hitchcock on amazon
Alfred Hitchcock is best remembered as the brilliant director with the dry sense of humor whose name was well known in Britain and Hollywood since 1929. By the mid 1950s Alfred Hitchcock was at his creative best, having years of experience behind him, a solid reputation, and the adulation and admiration of the public.
Hitchcock is responsible for classics such as Rope, Strangers On A Train, Psycho and of course, The Birds. He is also remembered by those who worked with him, for obsessing over his female stars, and particularly the "icy blonds."
Grace Kelly had made Dial M for Murder and Rear Window for "Hitch" and some close friends of the director have said that he and Grace Kelly had an affair. At any rate, all of those who were around Hitchcock in the mid 50's to the early 60's agree that he was strongly attracted to her and made attempts to be around her as often as possible. He was not the notorious lothario, but rather, the shy boy who just had to be involved with his ideal beauty however possible
When Grace suddenly took off and married Prince Rainer, Alfred would make sarcastic remarks whenever Grace was mentioned. He would grumble "Princess Disgrace", and ramble jealous nonsense about her Prince not letting her out to play. Hitch continued to pursue Grace for film projects after she was married, but without success. He even tried to wrangle Grace Kelly back to play the lead role in Marnie before giving the part to Tippi Hedren.
When Tippi Hedren first met Alfred Hitchcock she had very little acting experience and was eager to learn and work hard in order to have a solid career in Hollywood. The Birds, was her first movie and Tippi was willing to do what ever the Master said to gain respect as an actress. Tippi was tied down, while live birds were tied to her body and pecked at her ferociously, and was actually seriously injured when one of the birds madly pecked her too close to her eye. But, being a new actress and wanting to please Mr. Hitchcock, Tippi was eager to do what the master wished, and wanted to gain his respect. For one week Tippi was pummeled with crows and sea gulls. Finally she broke down and caused production to be halted for a few days.
Hitchcock had a history of brutalizing women on screen, resulting in their bowing out of his films. Audrey Hepburn was all set to make a movie No Bail For the Judge, that "Hitch" had prepared especially for her. Before the filming had gotten very far along, the graphic and hard chore rape scene disgusted Audrey to the point of bowing out from filming all together just as Vera Miles had done a few years earlier when Alfred had her set to film Vertigo. "Hitch's" scenes were becoming way too creepy for Vera to continue.
But this time it was serious for Hitchcock. He had regularly been attracted to his blond actresses, but since Hedren was so eager to do as he pleased, Hitch became especially controlling of her. Tippi was a romantic obsession for Hitch, and would be the only blond to suffer the consequences of arousing the vicious and powerful side of the Master of Suspense, She would carry the scars for life.
Their next film would be Marnie, and Hitchcock had now grown very possessive of his protégé, trying to get Hedren drunk by giving her martini's in between takes. This relationship lasted for some time, and Tippi was profiting from it. She had the adulation of her director, who was very generous, giving both Tippi and her daughter gifts. But, Hitchcock was becoming desperate and wanted something in return. Hedren told her boss that she intended to marry her agent, and "Hitch" finally propositioned his star. When his advances were refused, he threatened to ruin her career.
From that time on, he would not speak to her directly on the set. He would say to his assistants "Tell that girl to speak her lines clearer." Tippi Hedren swears that Alfred Hitchcock was true to his word and did indeed ruin her career by keeping her under contract for years, which kept her from capitalizing on her success in her previous movies and making several more. She was in limbo until the contract finally expired.
Tippi believes that Hitchcock ruined her career, but, many point to the fact that he had given her major parts on his movies, turning her into a star. That side of the coin states that if Tippi were a great actress she would have maneuvered publicity in her own right and carried on with her life, rather than just wallow in the misery of her lost career.
The Chemistry of Hitchcock & Ondra 1929
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Suzie from Carson City on June 18, 2012:
Hitchcock surely had a bit of a "different" slant on life, to say the least. He is (was) one of the numerous writers-of-the-eerie-and-bizarre....that can prompt their audience/readers to question: "Exactly what sort of MIND is behind these 'creations' "?
Skarlet (author) from California on June 17, 2012:
Thank you DS Duby.
He was strange. I guess it takes a nutty mind to come up with some of those stories he was famous for.
DS Duby from United States, Illinois on June 17, 2012:
Interesting hub I had no idea Hitchcock was so strange and obsessive, voted up and awesome.