☞ Since my previous post was a quotation from Toby Jones, on the challenge of acting as Hitchcock in The Girl, I thought I should quote from one of the favourable reviews of the television movie. Not everyone views the movie positively: some other reviewers, television viewers or friends of Hitchcock view the movie as a false portrayal of the director, and would question Crace’s assertion below that “it’s a fairly accurate account.” Again, the question of authenticity, although from a different angle, crops up.
Beauty and the beastly Hitchcock: a peerless study of sexual obsession
“”Blondes make the best victims,” Alfred Hitchcock once said. The Girl (BBC2) was Tippi Hedren, the blonde who ultimately refused to be his victim and, as this HBO film was largely based on Hedren’s own interviews and Donald Spoto‘s Hitchcock biography, it is reasonable to assume it’s a fairly accurate account.
Directed by Julian Jarrold and written by Gwyneth Hughes, it began with Hitchcock choosing Hedren, an unknown New York model, to star in two of his finest films, The Birds and Marnie. It ended with her frozen out of Hollywood for five years after a stand-off in which she refused to work for him and he refused to release her from her contract. As a study of Hitchcock’s peculiar and demanding directorial methods, together with some eye-catching early 60s Hollywood period detail, The Girl was a class act: as a study in sexual obsession it was peerless.”
☞ Again, adaptation becomes an issue… How close is the film to the original? When should this become an issue? Or, to put it in the terms of this review, when does a film begin to “vandalise” the original?
“What began as a necessary fleshing out of narrative allusions and foreshadowing to effectively translate literature into a movie ended up as Jackson’s sheer invention and gratuitous abuse of the characters, all of whom sword fight more often than Conan the Barbarian and more bloodily than Leonidas. If Thorin had shouted in the midst of battle with the Goblins, “Dwarves! Tonight we dine in Mordor!” no one in the audience would have been the least bit surprised. Zorro and the Three Musketeers had less skill with a blade in hand-to-hand combat than do these Dwarves, Gandalf or at times, Bilbo Baggins.
The only scenes where Jackson manages genuine fidelity to the story are the ones with Gollum, Bilbo and their Riddle-Game – perhaps out of fear of trivializing his previous movies, Tolkien’s actual dialogue and plot enters the script before vanishing again into a Jacksonian cinematic homage to every American action movie ever made. No wonder Christopher Tolkien looks on with weary despair.”